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February 2015

Do it my way, or I’ll kill you!

Whereas The Curmudgeon is not exactly world-famous for being a beacon of tolerance, a ray of sunshine into the lives of readers – or even an occasionally slightly-less-niggardly-than-usual-but-still-a-miserable-old-swine columnist – he does, as unbelievable as it may sound, still cling to some standards. He still has some (tired and tatty) ethics, a few (loose) morals here and there (more there than here), and even the odd, indubitably rickety but nonetheless still sacred, cow. One of those is freedom of speech. Without which, he would of course be unemployed and you, dear reader, would remain terminally dull and un-entertained.

Exhibit one, M’lud – one particularly vile and cowardly attack on the offices of French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris recently. Carried out by Islamic extremists who, seemingly, took exception to the fact that this particular publication chose to lampoon the prophet Muhammad in a cartoon and thereby broke one of the cardinal rules of the Islamic faith in that the prophet is never to be depicted pictorially. All fine and well. We get it. Every religion, faith, belief, whatever you choose to call it has its own rules, codes of conduct, do’s, don’ts, etc. Again, we get it – not exactly rocket science and no sane, normal thinking person has a problem with that. It’s called freedom of religion. It goes right along with and hand-in-hand with all sorts of other freedoms – including the aforesaid freedom of speech.

It does not matter whether the people of the world are Christians, Atheists, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Satanists, etc. If people choose to worship the sun, aliens, trees or bay at the moon – that’s their choice. And they have a right to that particular choice. What they don’t have a right to is to murder other people who just so happen to not necessarily hold the same belief set as they do. What, you and your guys are automatically right and they’re automatically wrong and therefore you should just set about getting your panties in a bunch, work yourself up to the desired fever pitch of religious hatred and head on out and just sommer kill them??? What’s up with that kak? Be reasonable, do it my way or I’ll kill you? Say what? What happened to peace, love, tolerance and understanding?

Throughout history, millions of people have been slaughtered in the name of religion. Every religion. And, despite an appalling history of genocide through the ages, virtually without exception, they all espouse slightly different flavours of how cool that particular religion is and how it believes in love and compassion and kindness, etc. etc. ie. their own particular house-brand of 24-carat, fur-lined, ocean-going, boggle-your-mind, blatant hypocrisy. They shouldn’t actually call it religion, they should just cut to the chase and call it “Believe what I believe or I’ll kill you – because *insert name of your particular deity/belief set here* says that anyone who does not believe in *insert name of your particular deity/belief set here* says you need to die now”. Really? The answer to everything is kill those who do not agree with you and do not do as you do? Really?

Now I would have to cash in my “Curmudgeon For Life” membership if I was to, for even one minute, start punting some hogwash along the lines of how we should all get along, hug each other regularly and play kissy-face until an ocean of schmaltzy, saccharine-laced fake sentiment caused half the planet to puke in self-defense. That’s pushing it. I like being grumpy. It keeps millions of pasty-faced, timid airheads from working up a few atoms of gumption to accost me in the street. Reputation is everything. But a little more (albeit grudging) respect for other folks would be nice. You can hate ‘em, but you don’t have to kill ‘em.

Je suis Charlie

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