Je suis Charlie
are a lot of ways to kill the press. Shoot the journalists, as some fanatics did last week. Have ‘friends’ put the newspaper in bankruptcy because it was not ‘positive’ enough about a judge. Have some ‘sponsors’ generously foot the bill for a ‘positive’ newspaper with no regard for profit.
The first is the tragic events last week in Paris, when mad men, claiming to revenge who they claimed as their Prophet, wiped out most of the figureheads of the satirical publication, CharlieHebdo. The unknown newspaper’s sin, the publisher must be one of the few people in the region to have bought a couple of copies over the years, was to have republished the so called ‘Mohamed Cartoons’. For unclear reasons, it’s nowhere in the Muslim Holy Book’s surats to forbid the representation of Mohamed, but this little detail doesn’t stop Kalashnikovs from being fired. But, then again, trying to find in the New Testament any references to the interdiction for women to assume priesthood is the same challenge.
Charlie-Hebdo is not an easy read. It is blasphemous; Catholics, the majority in France after all, bearing most of the grunt of the paper’s attacks. It is an offshoot of another French institution, Hara-Kiri. The Charlie refers to General Charles De Gaulle and the French government decision to ban Hara-Kiri after it had published a less than flattering description of De Gaulle’s death and funeral in the 70’s. So there was some irony in a French President leading a march denouncing a massacre at a newspaper that its predecessors, for all intents and purposes, created by closing down another.
The second one is closer to home and is about this town’s first mayor, Silas Horton Dickerson. While the founder of this newspaper is honoured by the naming of one of the town’s shortest if not shortest street and also a dead end, do not even try to find any references to the founder of the British Colonist and Saint Francis Gazette. Its main street honours an Italian born gentleman who visited the town in 1878, Sir Frederick Temple HamiltonTemple-Blackwood, 1st Earl of Dufferin, then Governor-General of Canada. It’s hard to say anything negative about this excellent man. Still, most towns have a way of honoring their first mayor. And while Lord Dufferin’s visit merits its share of glory, so does the one by Louis-Joseph Papineau a couple of decades before. But then Papineau was the guest of Dickerson…
The third one is the nice effort by some, a couple of years ago, of providing money to a newspaper whose sole purpose in life was to sink the by giving away its advertising. That the first issue’s second page was a paean to council says all. The Brits, always good at this, have seen the light and enacted the Local Audit and Accountability Act of 2014 which forbids the publication of any propaganda piece, they call them ‘Town Hall Pravda’, by local authorities. We can always dream of such a law in Quebec.
And while Charlie-Hebdo was only offending at most one hundred thousand readers a week out of its thirty some thousand circulation, this week’s press run of three million will assure that maybe ten to twenty million will be offended. There is a rule about attacking the press: most of the time it backfires.
Thewinners of the Feerie de Noel contest were announced at Stanstead’s council meeting on Monday night. The creative residents also received their prize money from Stanstead’ Beautification Committee for their efforts. This year’s winners are: Stephane Richer and Natalie Dussault (13 Maple, Sector Stanstead); Sandra Lussier (27 Passenger, Sector Rock Island); and Wendy Mosher and Ronnie Buzzell (17 Pine, Sector Beebe). to r.) judge mayor
“New Democrats are appalled that imprisoned Saudi Arabian free speech activist Raif Badawi will be flogged in public today as part of his sentence.
Raif Badawi has been imprisoned since June 2012 for founding a website to promote political and social debate in Saudi Arabia. He was charged with “setting up a website that undermines public security” and ridiculing Islamic religious figures.
Amnesty International reported numerous irregularities in his trial. Mr. Badawi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, 10 years in prison and a significant fine.
Last May I wrote to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, asking him to intervene with his counterparts in Saudi Arabia to secure Mr. Badawi’s release. While I have yet to receive a reply from Mr. Baird’s office, I reiterate that call to intervene today and urge him to call for Mr. Badawi’s immediate release before this awful sentence is carried out.
Mr. Badawi’s wife and children currently reside in Canada.“Every effort should be made to free him so he can rejoin them, rather than suffer this horrific punishment for exercising freedom of speech.”
The proud and creative winners of Stanstead’s Feerie de
Noel contest seen here are: (front l. to r.) Wendy Mosher and Sandra Lussier; (second
row) Ronnie Buzzell and Stephane Richer; (third row l. Sandra Harrison, Philippe Dutil, and Huguette Grenier.