In a recent interview regarding the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, a Buddhist Teacher, by the name of
Halifax does condemn the attack, but her argument reads more like an argument from men’s rights activists against female rape victims; the argument of “they were asking for it”. In this case, her argument is that people, organizations, satirists, are welcoming vicious attacks from extremists if they are not careful about what they do or say.
Halifax continues on, “How do we create the conditions where a critique — a really profound critique — can unfold in the conversation that we’re having globally, but where people don’t feel disempowered, disrespected?” Perhaps she is not aware that discussions have been attempted in reasoning with fundamentalists, even the more moderate of these groups, for decades with little success. As far back as 1968, with Pope Paul VI, who stated in Humanae Vitae that it is “intrinsically wrong to use contraception”, inclusive of condoms, birth control, and even coitus interruptus. Despite the information available, even as early as 1877, about the health benefits. Even as recently as 2009 the Pope, and the Catholic church, denounce the use of contraception, even in areas where it is needed most to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS, reasoning that it, instead, will help the spread. The ACLU has also reported that women are fired for being pregnant based on the employers religion. There is refusal to cover contraception (even in circumstances where it is not for family planning), and a refusal of services to gay individuals or couples based on religious practice.
Halifax does note that, along with religious practice, there is also a “global disrespect” for political positions, government, and personal views. And I am inclined to agree, but I also feel that this requires those feeling offended need to understand why people feel the need to do so; to express their discontent with a position or practice. Similarly to how men need to understand that they should be in control of their bodies and not depend on women to dress a certain way to lessen their chances of sexual assault, or how caucasians need to understand that a person of color should not be accosted by authority figures because they have their hands in their pockets. Blame should not be left on the victim, but on the perpetrator(s) of the real crime. Freedom of speech is not the enemy, but creating fear to diminish the freedom is.