donderdag 22 januari 2015

Je suis (pas) Charlie

A strange feeling of kinship with the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo lives in me.

Strange because I – unlike Charlie Hebdo – don’t like provocations so much. Instead, I tend to prefer to bridge divergent interests and disagreements through discussion and mutual understanding. Definitely different from what the murdered cartoonists used to do.

Does it perhaps have to do with the fact that except cartoonists also Jewish targets are high on the Muslim Terrorist targets lists? Then my sense of kinship would arise out of a shared threat. Solidarity by an accidentally shared situation.

But then, I think, is this shared first place on the list of targets so accidental really? Isn’t it possible to designate Jews in European cultural history as the freethinkers of the West? They already started being so in the first millennium of the Christian era, when the Jews were so rude to reject the so-called universal Christian truth. That was experienced by the surrounding society as outrageous and offensive. Perilous, but they did it, the Jews.

And they persevered, despite many persecutions, during the second millennium. Even when, from the 18th and 19th century secularization struck, Jews, accustomed to cherishing their own socio-inner life, kept drawing therefrom. They often contributed in an original way to Western music, philosophy and literature. Different from the (Victorian) mainstream, not constricting their hearts and sexual lifes, and therefore sometimes offensive again.

Today (Western) Christians are bothered much less by the Jewish free-mindedness than before, when the universal Christian truth pretensions were still intact. But now some Islamic movements have elevated many of these universal pretensions to ruthless truth and, again, transverse Jews don’t fit in. That may explain why their reputation for stubbornness, fanned by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, makes Jews into top butt for Muslim Terrorist attacks.

So, although I do not go on the streets with “Je suis Charlie” – I do feel that way.

Also see Parrhesia