I know this topic may seem off for a magazine that covers art, politics, and culture in South Korea, but I want to take a moment to talk about the Paris shootings that happened this week because it has to do with something very dear to me, that is the freedom of speech, a right that is always under threat everywhere. And while, in Korea, there is the perceived notion of the freedom of the press, for those that work as journalists, writers, reporters, or editors, we know better. We know that recent laws passed under Lee, Myung-Bak and now Park, Geun-Hye, the press is a little less free.
In Korea, I and my staff of writers, know that the only thing we may face day-to-day is the threat of a lawsuit or possibly criminal charges for merely offending one of the many public figures we feature in our editorials, even if none of the facts we report in question. While this itself is not absolute free press, the sort of free press I would hope for, it is not the sort of repression that comes from a violent religiosity that has demonstrated itself on the streets of Paris.
It is obvious to me that while the radicals that killed the people of Charlie Hebdo are deranged and wicked, they were merely agents of a religiosity that fears freedoms and differences of opinions. A religiosity that of course includes Islam, but also extends into all of the branches of the Abrahamic beliefs. While it was men that killed these people, it was an idolatry and faith that poisoned and flooded their blood with hate, fear, and verve.
I was born advantaged in life. I was born free of the debilitating notion of dogma that seems to plague the vast majority of my species. I believe in the real. I believe in science, physics, and the tangible. When people exercise their right to dispute science, fact, and the obvious, I don’t get angry. When they call into question the notion that the world is round, it bothers me not. When they proclaim that gravity is false, I encourage them to climb a tall building, walk to an edge, step off and test gravity. I don’t think that in my years alive another humanist, who are mostly all rational actors, are the sort to kill in the name of science. Science is a thing that is big enough, indeed true enough, to not command of me that I kill for it.