Lebanon’s Controversies: A Never-Ending Cycle

You can say whatever you want, but it is important to consider the consequences of what you say and to respect the rights and feelings of others. It’s often best to choose your words carefully and think about the potential consequences before speaking. It is also important to respect the laws and rules that govern freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right that allows everyone to express themselves freely on subjects of their choice, but it is not absolute.

There are legal limits on free speech to protect the rights and safety of others. These limits may include restrictions on defamation, incitement to hatred or violence, disclosure of state secrets, and other forms of speech that may cause direct or immediate harm to others. It is therefore important to remember that even if we have the right to express ourselves freely, it is important to do so in a responsible and respectful way.

The question of responsibility for the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo in France was already a complex and controversial subject of debate. This debate, at the time, also took place locally. If in France, the dimension of the debate concerns freedom of expression, in Lebanon, it took another turn rather constituted by the political aspect put in the local sauce. Some believe that these cartoons were a legitimate form of expression of freedom of expression, while others consider them offensive and irresponsible leading to crises in other countries such as Lebanon.

The Charlie Hebdo cartoons were deemed offensive by much of the Muslim community, including locally, who saw them as an insult to their religion and their prophet. Other people also considered the cartoons to be a lack of respect and consideration for the religious beliefs and convictions of Muslims. It is important to note that these cartoons caused anger, offense and even violence, and had serious consequences for the people who were directly or indirectly affected by the attacks that followed their publication.

Two Things Today Should be Noted

Two things today should be noted, the fact of burning a Koran in Sweden is a local element which should not have international consequences if we were not in the era of hyper information and the amplification of news via social networks. But on the other hand, concerning the controversy of local television shows targeting certain communities, therefore in Lebanon itself, it is precisely a local issue of living together. Would we accept the same, in a country so divided, that our communities are targeted in the name of freedom of expression? Or do we also have to accept the consequences, whatever they are?

Obviously taking refuge under the protection of religion, in Lebanon itself, has resulted in so many red lines that have protected the corruption that has plagued our country. Thus, if we accused such a political or administrative leader, we were cataloged as anti-Christian, anti-Sunni, anti-Shiite, whereas the very basis of the criticism of this person was based on facts, today all the more proved that the crisis we are experiencing is due to an administration plagued by religious sectarianism to the detriment of competence and integrity. The secret is moderation but above all to stay focused on the real problem and not to diverge under any pretexts as we so often manage to do instead of facing the situation.

From this perspective, there has in fact been abuse on all sides, of the religious argument, an argument that should ultimately be kept to oneself, but to return to religion, that is something personal, an experience, an experience. Some people may feel drawn to the teachings, beliefs, and practices of a certain religion, while others may feel closer to fellow people who hold similar beliefs.

For still others, belonging to a religious community can provide a sense of identity and a sense of belonging to a larger community, to provide a sense of protection from others who seem to constitute a threat. It is important to note that everyone is free to choose whether or not to identify with a religious community, it should not be something imposed, let alone brainwashed. It is not necessary to belong to a religious community to have a personal belief or spirituality. Quite the contrary, how many criminals in this country do we see in religious ceremonies as if to rebuild a new virginity.

We cannot speak of people of mercy in this case. We must build a state that brings us together and not belong to so many states in the name of religion. This leads to dialogue with the other who in the end resembles us and not to division into as many communities as religions and above all not to cause more cracks than there are not already. In other words, you have to build bridges.

Dialogue with different people can help us develop tolerance and understanding towards people who do not think like us and thus manage to reduce conflicts instead of increasing them, to resolve the conflicts we face and thus find solutions that work for all parties, to build trust and cooperation between the individuals and groups that make up our society. How many crises we go through have been precisely provoked. In the end, we can also wonder about the motives of these people or organizations.

It is important to make the difference between a provocation which is intended to provoke thought and one which is intended to hurt or attack. It is also important to remember that freedom of expression should not be used to justify discrimination, intimidation or hatred but, on the contrary, should become the tool of rapprochement. We are all in the same boat in the end. Sometimes moderation imposes itself when we are wise people and the least we can say is to keep religion as a personal thing and not to settle accounts via interposed screens, whether they are through social media or otherwise.

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