I have hesitated for a while to comment on the horrible shootings of the Charlie Hebdo caricaturists in Paris on January 7th. It was just too frustrating to see to what degree the assassins have achieved what surely has been one of their main goals: to deepen conflicts, to raise new barriers, to make life for their fellow brethrens in Europe harder, in the hope that they may join their ranks. In the aftermath of the events we had it all: politicians who would have loved to see the Charlie Hebdo caricaturists crucified a few months ago, now joining hands in a crocodiles tears march to defend the freedom of art and opinion. Conservative muslims who refuse to accept that Islamism is not simple a reaction to Western provocation but an inherent problem of Islam itself. And, last but not least, all those who see the shootings as the end of the multicultural society, as a proof that we see values and beliefs clashing in a way that simply can’t be reconciled – as if murderers could claim to have any values at all.
But the thing about me is, I have a bad attitude. I have collaborated with artists and writers from more than twenty countries and I will continue to do so. Even worse, I plan to extend my activities with such projects as InterNova, The World Culture Hub and the World Culture Repository. I refuse to let any bunch of dumb-ass xenophobic fanatics, whatever fraction, tell me what to do. I will not ask for their permission. I still believe that people who have settled on some basic rules of human and civilized conduct should be able, regardless of their cultural and ethnical background, to live peacefully side by side and solve their conflicts in a reasonable manner. I’m still convinced that differentiated understanding and respectful approach are better ways to pacify our world than wholesale condemnation. I’m fairly sure that sharing and exchange of arts and cultures could be a major force to tear down barriers and unite humanity in all its richness and diversity. But worst of all: I refuse to believe in the superiority of a culture that is responsible for the death of at least 160 million people in the 20th century alone.
Of course this is all naive and wishful thinking. But it were naives such as Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi who with their simple human outlook have advanced civilization. I’d rather follow their footsteps in my humble ways than to be just another puppet of murderers and indulge in excactly the kind of fanatism they strive to provoke.