Charlie Hebdo, Four Years Later

Those awful murders, at Charlie Hebdo and at the Hyper Cacher, happened four years ago yesterday. I repost this piece of mine, which I think if one of my better efforts, and this very important analysis from Spiked Online (a website you should be checking on a regular basis).

From the Spiked article:

Free speech is the right to express one’s ideas without fear of retribution, even if others disagree with you – even if they are repulsed. This right leaves people free to dissent and free to persuade others of their ideas. No political, religious or ideological viewpoint should be allowed a special exception from challenge, criticism or ridicule.

But once the moment of ‘Je Suis Charlie’ faded, prominent voices effectively began to blame Charlie Hebdo for the attack.

When PEN America, a writers’ organisation, decided to give its Free Expression Courage Award to Charlie Hebdo, more than 200 well-known writers protested.

I mentioned yesterday how much I miss my brother (scroll down) – well, all the more so when it comes to these issues. Not a chance in heck he would have been blaming the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and editorialists for their own slaughter.

Al Would Have Been 70

Great picture of my brother, who died in 2012. He would have been 70 today. I would love to talk to him again, and especially would love his take on Trump, populism and such. Easily the smartest person in our family, though he always was humble and said that title — along with “the funniest” — belonged to our mother. This picture is from Christmas 2005.
alan2005christmas

Beryl O’Links

Or, barrel o’ links. (Beryl O’Links is an Irish lass, she is!)

As we wind down 2018, a few links of interest: the death of Georges Loinger, may his memory be a blessing; trove of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poems found; kitties domesticated themselves; and, Hijab in the House, by the brilliant Bruce Bawer. In regards this last story, I mentioned to one of my sisters this summer that I was concerned about the anti-Semitism of some of the rising young “stars” of the Democratic Party, and she insisted that anyone openly espousing contempt for Jews would never be elected. I was like, yeah, we’ll see. Cough.

Wondiwoi Tree Kangaroos

Good news.

The Wondiwoi tree kangaroo is so rare and elusive that it disappeared for nearly a century and was assumed to be extinct. Now it has not only been spotted, but also photographed for the first time ever.

The unusual monkey-like kangaroo clambers through the trees of the montane forests of New Guinea. It had been seen there only once before by Western scientists, in 1928…

Now an amateur botanist from the U.K. has led an expedition into near-impenetrable bamboo forests 5,000 feet high in the remote Wondiwoi Mountains of West Papua, Indonesia, to find it.

“Just showing that it still exists is amazing. It’s such a remote and difficult spot to access that I was uncertain we would ever know,” says Eldridge, who was not involved in the expedition.

The world is full of beautiful things. 

Syria

The wonderful Julie Lenarz (via her Facebook page) sums up what I think about Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

I can’t think of a convincing reason why it’s smart to withdraw troops from Syria. But I also can’t think of a reason why Obama officials think they have a right to complain. They had 8 years to do good in Syria and they royally screwed up.

And this is all so terrible for the Kurds.

If ever something were going to make me believe Putin has something on Trump, abandoning Syria to Russia, Assad and Turkey is it.