Perspectives: Sidney vs. Paris vs. Baga

“We see things not as they are

But as we are”


Not sure who said that but I am pretty sure that it has been said over the centuries repeatedly by people far wiser than me. Faced with any situation – at home, in the office, in the society, in the greater world – we all look at the same situation and analyse and reach our own conclusions based on our own experience. We look at the same event but we each see a different perspective of it.


So while the internet flooded with hatred and finger-pointing it lacked crucial acknowledgement of the double standards in applying free speech. Charlie Hebdo fired one of its employees over anti-Semitic content in 2009. Similarly, Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten said soon after publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in 2005 that it would not publish cartoons offending Christians and Jews.

Carlos Latuff, a world-renowned Brazilian cartoonist, told Daily Sabah, “It is an everlasting discussion, because what is freedom of speech and what is hate speech? Why are some subjects protected by freedom of speech and others not? Why can we mock some issues and cannot do so with others? Should Holocaust denial, for example, be included as freedom of speech, or racial hatred? See, for example, the treatment given by the Western mainstream media to Muhammad cartoons and the Holocaust cartoons.”

These are some of Latuff’s cartoons that speak a thousand words:



My general take on reality is to try to keep an open mind about it. After all, no matter how many others are witnessing the same event, we each will have our own version of ‘truth’ or ‘reality’, defined by our differing perspectives. The difference doesn’t diminish us or our take on the situation, but it does create ripe grounds for confrontation. And in any confrontation, there are those who will peddle fear and hatred.

Compare the hostage crisis and shooting in Sydney and the way the Aussies reacted with their “# I’ll ride with you” hashtag v.s. the Paris shooting and the anti-muslim backlash that followed in Europe. Considering that since Jan 3rd Boko Haram massacred up to 2000 people in Baga & Doron Baga– which event was covered in a media blitz & given live round-the-clock coverage??

Amid round-the-clock coverage of the shootings, reprisal attacks against Muslims have been remarkably under-reported, as have other deadly attacks against civilians and suppression of free speech worldwide. Violent incidents in Nigeria and Yemen in the last week led to far more civilian deaths than in Paris (up to 2,000 in Nigeria), but they were not deemed as newsworthy.

The solidarity rally in Paris was attended by a who’s who of enemies of free speech and independent journalism. Those hoping the mainstream media would highlight this hypocrisy were disappointed.

You can read the full article here on the Aljazeera site.

Backlash continues against a religion that has 1.8 billion practitioners worldwide, just 0.4 billion less than the 2.2 billion Christians. The reaction in Europe & the West, this fight for so-called freedom, is hypocritical. From my personal perspective, the Paris shooting brought out the worst traits – it brought out the colonialist mentality, it paraded blatant intolerance for  freedom, and an eagerness to turn a blind eye on their own failings.

I am one of the 1.8 billion population worldwide who identifies Islam as their religion. I have quoted the Quran, the Bible, the Torah and I have quoted from Buddhism, Taoism and Sufism in my blog posts. In my little corner of the world, I have kept an open mind about the spirituality of all religions and their central teachings, same as the billions of others who has gone about their lives, demonstrating tolerance for difference.

Yet here we are again. An incident caused by isolated individuals. A media blitz. The world is busy putting on blinders and pointing fingers. Voices getting louder in competing over whose truth is ‘truer’. The hate-mongers & fear-mongers are out in force and 1.8 billion practitioners are being asked to stand up and declare that they are not terrorists by media moguls.

And a brilliant retort to that from J.K. Rowling and others named ‘Rupert’, here.

There are voices like Mark Steel writing “Norway’s Christians didn’t have to apologise for Anders Breivik and it’s the same for the muslims now”  but the majority on media seems to think otherwise.

Oh wait…. we were mistaken again…. according to Fox News Anchor Shannon Bream the rules are different for anyone who is not white, blond or blue-eyed.

Hypocrisy continues to reach new heights.

Posted on January 16, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Yes, good/evil, right/wrong, truth/untruth…all a matter of perspective.

    My hope is that we the notion that when we harm one of us, we harm all of us and, seemingly conversely, when we help one of us, we help all of us, is starting to take hold.

    I’d like to see us evolve from a win/lose polarizing stance, to a win/win collaborative one.

    I’m working on it in my little sphere! xoxoM


    • So very true! And thats what the Aussie’s demonstrated both by the sensitivity the media demonstrated, as well as the twitter hash tag. Definitely something worth learning there 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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