The pen is mightier than the sword but unfortunately not that great against a Kalashnikov. Of course a sword belongs to an ancient, less enlightened time and ironically if the vile scum who stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo yesterday had been armed with blades their human targets may have had a chance. That’s why these people are so dangerous – an archaic year-zero mindset coupled with the tech and hardware of the modern world.
So religious fundamentalism is to blame, right? In a way – but I don’t believe these idiots would be meek and passive spiritual beings if suddenly the whole world starting following the Koran to the word. Many of these people (I struggle to find an apt term) have mental health problems and live on the edge of society before finding refuge in a hot-house environment where there is no strong female influence but plenty of male bonding, drug taking and access to violent imagery – covered with a thin coat of religious belief. What they need is a clip round the ear from a Ma Broon character, or maybe have a good drink and pass out face down in their bag of chips at the end of the evening instead of plotting jihad.
Better still – they should have a laugh.
There’s much debate about what events and subjects can be considered suitable for comedy and as a veteran of many Edinburgh Fringe shows I’ve often been in the situation where I’ve wondered – is that going too far? But once you’ve sat in a dingy room with a bunch of strangers laughing at yourself, each other and things you thought you would never laugh at it’s amazing how liberating that can be. All ego is stripped away and you realise that every taboo can be laughed into perspective. All colours, nationalities, beliefs and non-beliefs come together to say – it’s not that bad – have a laugh! The threat of death can’t deter morons who believe they will be rewarded with virgins in the afterlife for spilling blood in this one. Hit them where it hurts – laugh in their face – and tell them:
Nous sommes Charlie!