In 2011, just six days after the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine came under threat for having run cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, and it subsequently was gutted by a fire bomb.
The staff put out a new issue with a cover drawing of a bearded, presumably Muslim man kissing a cartoonist.
The caption was “L’amour: Plus fort que la haine,” which translates to
“Love: Stronger than hate.”
The cartoon was a properly irreverent combination—an affirmation of the most universal truth, a commitment to the magazine’s own very particular identity.
Last Wednesday, ten staff was killed, along with two Paris policemen who rushed to their aid after reports of two or three hooded men, armed with AK-47s went into the office, in Paris’s Eleventh Arrondissement, and started firing randomly.
In addition to the dead, twenty people were injured, according to French police statements.
There is a video in which the gunmen can be heard shouting “Allahu Akbar!”—God is great.
This was, as President Francois Hollande said after rushing to the scene, “undoubtedly an act of terrorism.”
As the rest of the world has begun the process of absorbing the context and aftermath of this tragedy, mobilisation against this atrocity in the form of organised peaceful demonstrations, marches of support and global petitions began to appear as ordinary citizens suddenly realised that their democracies and precious freedom of speech underpinning democracy, were now under a mortal attack.
Extremist Muslims are now hijacking the concept of a Jihad to declare war on whoever and whatever, is deemed to stand in their way or offend their extremist beliefs.
The following is a part-statement published by the Islamic Supreme Council of America:
* In a religious sense, as described by the Quran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (s), “jihad” has many meanings. It can refer to internal as well as external efforts to be a good Muslims or believer, as well as working to inform people about the faith of Islam.
* If military jihad is required to protect the faith against others, it can be performed using anything from legal, diplomatic and economic to political means. If there is no peaceful alternative, Islam also allows the use of force, but there are strict rules of engagement. Innocents – such as women, children, or invalids – must never be harmed, and any peaceful overtures from the enemy must be accepted.
* Military action is therefore only one means of jihad, and is very rare. To highlight this point, the Prophet Mohammed told his followers returning from a military campaign: “This day we have returned from the minor jihad to the major jihad,” which he said meant returning from armed battle to the peaceful battle for self-control and betterment.
* In case military action appears necessary, not everyone can declare jihad. The religious military campaign has to be declared by a proper authority, advised by scholars, who say the religion and people are under threat and violence is imperative to defend them. The concept of “just war” is very important.
* The concept of jihad has been hijacked by many political and religious groups over the ages in a bid to justify various forms of violence. In most cases, Islamic splinter groups invoked jihad to fight against the established Islamic order. Scholars say this misuse of jihad contradicts Islam.
* Examples of sanctioned military jihad include the Muslims’ defensive battles against the Crusaders in medieval times, and before that some responses by Muslims against Byzantine and Persian attacks during the period of the early Islamic conquests.
In the context of those statements, the actions of attacking Charlie Hebdo’s office and the subsequent killing of 12 innocent people does not fit the concept of a legal Jihad.
Nor did the recent hostage drama that occurred recently in Sydney, with the subsequent deaths of two innocent people, fit into a legal Jihad.
Both these actions were illegal actions and the people involved can only be judged as common criminals.
As a publisher and a firm believer in free speech, I too have had cause to reaffirm my own values.
To assist in this regard I turned to the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, who made a statement after being imprisoned by government authorities:
“If you offered to let me off this time on condition I am not any longer to speak my mind… I should say to you, ‘Men of Athens, I shall obey the Gods rather than you.’ “
Words of courage that were reflected in the Charlie Hebdo office indeed!
And they also reflect my point of view as I try to work within my professional boundaries.
I am using the above examples to frame an activity that has sprung up in a medical context here in Australia that is now bordering on the tactics of an illegal military Jihad.
They involve an organisation called “Stop the Anti-Vaccination Network” (SAVN) which has successfully used tactics of alleged bullying and intimidation in an attempt to stop US osteopath, Dr Sherri Tenpenny, from giving a lecture tour in Australia regarding the dangers of vaccination.
The organisation is comprised of prominent doctors and academics who use emotive statements and their reputations, rather than examples of evidence, to suppress any adverse findings associated with vaccines.
They have also clashed with civil libertarians who say that a campaign to deny an anti-vaccination campaigner a visa is an attack on freedom of speech.
SAVN have rubbished the freedom of speech claims, instead supporting a push for the Australian Government to cancel Dr Tenpenny’s visa.
One medical voice has shouted: “Free speech is one thing, publicising a radical [point of view] is another.”
Hearing this in an Australian democratic environment I find personally disturbing.
Freedom of thought and speech no matter what some people deem unfit for my consumption is being very presumptuous. I do not intend going to any of these meetings, but I don’t intend to prohibit others from going.
To do so would be to set the stage for a police state, and that is simply not on.
Mind you, Dr Tenpenny is not coming with an invading army, she has peaceful intent and she has an overwhelming desire to present evidence that illustrates that not all vaccines are safe.
Some of her speaking venues have been cancelled because of bullying tactics by SAVN that are more akin to Mafia tactics – venue management cancelled under pressure and threats of disruption.
Anybody is able to refute claims equally and publicly, and you have to wonder why the medical doctors would go to such extremes, when they would know that the evidence for any vaccine is weak and that they contain other substances that may affect human health.
As a parent and irrespective of my vocation, I reserve the right to maintain my children’s health to the best of my ability.
The pro-vaccination arguments are by no means definitive and one wonders what lies behind the doctor push to irrationally suppress information that may be valuable to a parent.
Doctors can never dictate to parents, they can only advise.
As a parent, I would tell any doctor to “butt out” if they tried a dictatorial approach with me.
Having said that, I personally believe that vaccines work, but that some are not necessarily safe.
As an example, my son was prescribed a course of hepatitis B vaccine because it was a workplace stipulation.
He immediately developed symptoms of multiple sclerosis, yet the medic involved insisted that the full course of three vaccines should be completed.
He now has full-blown MS, and has had to prematurely retire from his employment. He is permanently disabled due to leg spasticity.
He was a mature adult when making the decision to vaccinate otherwise I would have intervened earlier.
Recent definitive evidence has surfaced to support that hepatitis B vaccine is a definite risk factor, but it has not been widely reported.
My question to these jihadi-type medical front organisations is “Who sanctions your jihad?”
Does the AMA or the RACGP openly endorse your activities?
If so, why don’t they openly undertake their own jihads using the benefits of freedom of expression that their front organisations would deny those people they oppose?
Wise old Socrates had some very definite opinions that would suit these current circumstances.
“The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavour to be what you desire to appear.”
If you don’t want to appear like Jihadists then please don’t act like them.
“True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.”
There are many repositories of medical knowledge. The Pharma-based version is only one repository, and definitely not the best.
Socrates (469BC- 399BC) and Hippocrates (460 BC – 370 BC) knew of each other and their work.
I thought it would be interesting to look at the work of Hippocrates, given that he is regarded as the “father of modern medicine”.
From a Wikipedia reference:
“Ancient Greek schools of medicine were split (into the Knidian and Koan) on how to deal with disease. The Knidian school of medicine focused on diagnosis. Medicine at the time of Hippocrates knew almost nothing of human anatomy and physiology because of the Greek taboo forbidding the dissection of humans. The Knidian school consequently failed to distinguish when one disease caused many possible series of symptoms. The Hippocratic school or Koan school achieved greater success by applying general diagnoses and passive treatments. Its focus was on patient care and prognosis, not diagnosis. It could effectively treat diseases and allowed for a great development in clinical practice.
Hippocratic medicine and its philosophy are far removed from that of modern medicine. Now, the physician focuses on specific diagnosis and specialized treatment, both of which were espoused by the Knidian school. This shift in medical thought since Hippocrates’ day has caused serious criticism over the past two millennia, with the passivity of Hippocratic treatment being the subject of particularly strong denunciations.”
Perhaps this philosophy difference explains why there is a range of alternate and complementary medicine practitioners and why the general public (more than 70 percent of them) prefer to receive treatments more in tune with nature.
Some health practitioners prefer to follow an integrative model involving nutraceuticals combined with some mainstream medicines.
“Hippocrates is credited with being the first person to believe that diseases were caused naturally, not because of superstition and gods. Hippocrates was credited by the disciples of Pythagoras of allying philosophy and medicine. He separated the discipline of medicine from religion, believing and arguing that disease was not a punishment inflicted by the gods but rather the product of environmental factors, diet, and living habits.”
However, despite the separation of medicine from religion, Christian churches still maintain medical ministries and it is quite common to still have ceremonies involving the “laying on of hands” or a prayer chain praying for a speedy recovery from illness.
It happens at my church and it is very comforting to know that these ministries still exist.
And if a medical jihad was ever launched against this type of practice I would very quickly join a public protest – even though these practices are not evidence-based by medical standards, they still achieve results.
That lack of evidence by medical jihadi standards still causes the medical profession some deep distress is evidenced by the fact that they need yet another “front organisation” to undermine alternate and complementary medicine.
Called the “Friends of Science in Medicine” it consistently defends mainstream medicine, even though its executive well know that a large proportion of so-called “evidence” supporting the marketing of a majority of these medicines has either been fabricated or manipulated to the extent that global Pharma fines for this offence now run into the multi-$’s billions.
i2P has consistently queried the “Friends” as to why they did not pursue the Pharma’s, but there never has been a response.
But in the interest of “freedom of speech” i2P has supported material published by their CEO and even defended her from critics from time-to time.
However, that did not prevent their chairman, Professor Dwyer, from doing a deal with Macquarie University allegedly swapping medical grants for the discontinuation of their chiropractic school.
This is patently unfair and undemocratic and relies on monetary influence rather than a debate on evidence.
In the overall scheme of things, it has the appearance of a “medical jihad” that while barely legal, it is an attempt to suppress an entire health modality which shares the first five years of its course in common with medical students.
i2P is concerned that the “medical jihadists” use their influence when making criticism of pharmacy practice to actually suppress any development and progression towards more rational and cheaper primary health care.
The medical argument is that doctors should lead primary health care and where there is to be a division of responsibility, doctors use their influence to prevent an alternative allied health-led initiative, pleading that health budgets cannot afford payments outside those given to doctors.
Well let me tell you that doctors are now too expensive and it does appear that federal government initiatives are aiming to curb doctor fee excesses.
Pharmacists themselves also need a leadership that is willing to think “out of the square” and come up with some solutions that do not parallel the status quo.
But please let it happen soon – we have all been waiting a very long time.
I’ll leave the final words to wise old Socrates:
“One who is injured ought not to return the injury, for on no account can it be right to do an injustice; and it is not right to return an injury, or to do evil to any man, however much we have suffered from him.”