Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Freedom to enjoy cartoons...

satirical verses..

How come this blogger of yours who never fails to come up with a blogtext whenever any Arabia-related piece of news arises from the horizon is keeping his cards so scandalously close to his chest in this whole affair of the cartoons? That is a legitimate concern the Honourable Reader will not have failed to feel.
"Spin fatigue" might be the obvious answer. The patterns of reactions are so cosily arranged by now. The heavy artillery ( deep Huntington-related stuff) has been used. The media virgins defending freedom of expression at the top of their wailing voices have tear down their clothes. The rent-a-mob manipulators got their forty seconds of CNN prime time. (Even, Goodness Me!, the well intentioned Norwegian-dominated International Presence in Hebron - dear old TIPH with their ice-cream vendors' white overalls.. - had to resettle somewhere away from Al~Khalil !).
My Correspondent from Ramallah adopts a stoically note in her e-mails, no matter the closeness of live ammunition shots - and still I fail to decide myself to write about it.
And then "Charlie-Hebdo" gets itself involved and .. There!.. The urge to blog about a more than thirty two years-old story changes it all..
Has the Hounorable Reader any idea how was it possible for an engaged adolescent to read in Lisbon the forbidden "Charlie-Hebdo" before 25/4? "Charlie-Hebdo" could not be sold in Portugal before 1974 period. But there were ways to circumvent the authorities (which only proves the point that we were far away from a fascistic country, not withstanding the Leftist propaganda). A bookshop belonging to a enlightened bourgeois family, with democratic gentle-Left opposition credentials, did accept to forward subscriptions of forbidden publications. Acting like a mail box in a way. I was very proud, being 17 , of this semi-clandestine stuff. I was a subscriber of Charlie-Hebdo and felt that I too was making my small contribution to erode the berlinwall of Portugal's absence of freedom and democracy. Some of that satirical stuff was precisely what was needed to shake the un-cool grey world of these Woodstock-denial political authorities.
I had just recently fall for a new girl-friend, smart and posh, lovely eyes and almost Trotskyite. She lived not far way from the bookshop and was quite in awe with my underworld life of forbidden magazines. One day she offered to collect for me the latest copy. We met the following day, the lady-like smartly-dressed Plekhanov student carrying with her the folded magazine. She had used a silkish pink ribbon to give it an almost Valentine Day's note. (But there was no St Valentine in those times, not then). She was disguising a slightly embarrassed awkward feeling when she handed me over the folded "Charlie-Hebdo". I went through the pink ribbon and the folding stuff to have a look at the front page: a cartoon by Reiser with very obvious and vulgar hairy genitalia. So sweet of her, to overcome her upperclass gut disgust, and ideologically hardened with Rosa Luxembourg writings, proceed to wrap in girlish pink tones the magazine for her excitingly non-conforming boyfriend..
Would it not be great if, as we speak, a near adolescent couple of lovers, in Teheran or Amman, in Cairo or Gaza, were experiencing some similar story around a forbidden satirical magazine? Just a couple of years away from the advent of Freedom?

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