Charlie Hebdo, fear and fundamentalism- a TOK Presentation in waiting.

Some time ago, I wrote a piece discussing the irrational fear of music felt by totalitarian leaders and suggested a TOK approach. https://jwpblog.wordpress.com/2010/08/26/why-are-we-afraid-of-music-tok-thoughts/  On the train this morning I read that the offices of the satirical magazine CHARLIE HEBDO have been firebombed and destroyed by a group responding to the promise that the edition was to be edited by the Prophet. As usual, there were to be cartoons and writing that sought to satirise one particular religion – Islam. Not in good taste and not particularly funny either.
So why the response? Humour has always sought to puncture hypocrisy and draw attention to idiocy, from the time of Aristophanes. In this country Private Eye is regularly involved in exposing and debunking and is often in court as a result. Private citizens will often seek to repair damage to their public image in this way.
Why should religious belief allow the imposition of one will on another? No individual is under attack here yet the response seems as disproportionate as that of the medieval inquisition when faced by a scurrilous heretic.
As TOKKISTS you need to consider the basis of knowledge working here. Much is based on perception and much on an emotional response. Reason is absent on both sides and the magazine will no doubt gather strength as a result. Many will read it who did not even know of its existence prior to the attack.
Consider other recent cases from the Danish cartoons to Monty Python and all the way back through the satirists such as Swift or the truth tellers such as Solzhenitsin or Grossman.
Why do totalitarian regimes so fear words? You tell me!

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1 Comment

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One response to “Charlie Hebdo, fear and fundamentalism- a TOK Presentation in waiting.

  1. Pingback: Paris : Friday 13th November 2015. How can we know what to feel? A ToK stimulus by any other name… | English teaching resources

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