Is there any Method to Mr Macron's madness?
Published : Friday, 30 October, 2020 at 12:00 AM Count : 442
The French President Emmanuel Macron has wrongly placed France under the spotlight spreading Islamophobia. He has manifestly cut off France from the rest of the Islamic world. A number of Muslim majority countries continue to boycott French products in their countries. In an unprecedented cyber war, more than 19,000 French public and private websites have been hacked. Our hackers have also brashly admitted their role in the cyber onslaught.
Major Muslim capital cities have been rocked by protests and processions. And all of these disruptions have erupted just because of Mr. Macron's attempt to justify the cartoons, slandering our holy prophet.
Going by the actual meaning of the idiom "There is a method in your madness" essentially means, a purpose in doing something that is seemingly crazy, but there's a reason for someone's strange behaviour too.
However, there is no method to Mr. Macron's fresh spate of hatred spat on Islam. First, under the banner of 'reforming Islam' the French president said that the religion was going through a 'crisis'. Second, he has talked on a 'compatible form of Islam' which fits to French secularist and liberal values. And third, he has repeatedly voiced his commitment to protect freedom of expression in France.
The point here, the controversial Charlie Ebdo cartoons have done more than just express freedom of expression - they have insulted the very sensitive core religious sentiment of millions of Muslims in France and worldwide.
Freedom of speech is not freedom to slander
I wonder how a devoted Hindu will react to similar offensive caricatures drawn out by some foreign satirical weekly magazine on their gods, goddesses or deities. And I wonder how a practicing Christian, irrespective of falling under any Christian school-of-thought, would respond to a distorted and smearing cartoon of Jesus Christ?
The satirical cartoons targeting our prophet is not an act of practicing free speech in any manner, it's a blatant attempt to foment religious riots and geopolitical conflicts to weaken the Muslim minority in central Europe. It is a sinister effort to mock and vilify Islam as a violent religion.
Mr. Macron's desperate bid to get re-elected by spreading Islamophobia is madness minus a method. His government's anti-Turkish stance in the eastern Mediterranean waters, dubious military presence in Syria and now over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia is all a reflection of his anti-Islamism.
Western Democracies have long grappled with the issue of the limits of free speech, if any, to place on the expression of ideas and beliefs. The dilemma dates back as far as to ancient Greece, when the Athenians, who had cherished individual freedom, nevertheless prosecuted Socrates for his teachings while claiming that he had corrupted young people and insulted the gods.
Charlie Hebdo's latest cartoon on the Turkish president Erdogan against the backdrop of Macron-Islam crisis is likely to trigger a wide-ranging economic and geopolitical repercussion for France. Once again this explicit pornographic cartoon too, has made a mention of our prophet. However, our prophet is long gone, but the cartoon targeting President Erdogan will only empower the Turkish president through collective condemnations of Mr. Macron across the Arab and Islamic world. It is not the Turkish president who is his enemy, but it is the Turkish President's religious identity and leadership.
No method to his madness.
A religion card of extremist diversionary tactic
Has France decided to act as the front-line- state for other Western Powers to denounce Islam from its soil or has Mr. Macron waged a religious proxy war for the Western world.
No matter what, Emmanuel Macron, by now is feeling the pinch of boycotting of French goods and cyber attacks from Muslim countries. Beheading of the French teacher Samuel Paty has misled him even more. He has made the worst out of the killing. And following his lowest approval ratings this week, his weaponisation of anti-Muslim bigotry continues to backfire.
On the flipside, Mr. Macron has also revealed the true colours of free speech in today's France. His diversionary tactic to stigmatise the French Muslim minority - in order to prove that France is at the risk of losing its identity and future to alleged Islamist forces - prove the existing and growing strength of French Muslims.
No method to his madness.
A message for Charlie Hebdo
I have an important message for Charlie Hebdo cartoonists. For whomever you are drawing these exploding cartoons, and whatever your hidden agenda may be, please know that the most mentioned prophet in the Quran is not our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It is Prophet Moses. It is also time to renew and reintroduce your satirical and lustful slandering attacks on that prophet too.
Just dare to draw and see what happens.
As far as cartoons and satirical expressions are concerned, my point is simple: They must not target specific religious and nationalistic sentiments. Freedom of expression does not mean to indiscriminately vilify, slander and foment violence through whatever form of cartoon you desire, and the satirical cartoons targeting our holy prophet is just another textbook example of abusing that freedom.
Which therapy suits best for Mr. Macron
The best form of therapy, if not mental, for the French President right now is the accurate understanding of Prophet Muhammad's place inside the heart of a practicing Muslim. Also there is no magic formula to reform Islam in France, or anywhere in the world for that matter. It is never possible to amend or alter a religious belief compatible to another country's notorious notion of free speech. And his commitment to protect freedom of speech in France, supporting the cartoons is no more than a wasted personal and political agenda.
He is in need of multiple therapies - mental, spiritual, political, and oh yes a therapy to rejuvenate his love life. Charlie Hebdo cartoonists can play an important role to stimulate their president's senses with explicit cartoons.
Madness without a method is actually the mental state of extreme anxiety. I have no clue which therapist would make the first move to cure the politically frustrated Mr. Macron.
The writer is assistant editor,
The Daily Observer