Did you see that fantastic rally in Paris to reaffirm France's (and Europe's) secularism and determination to not be swayed from the basic principles of the European enlightenment and modern secular democracy - the principles of Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité - in the face of a cowardly and frightened little creed too insecure in its faith to be able to tolerate questions, criticism and doubt?
I'm talking of course of the mega crowd which turned up last Sunday - the largest march ever seen in Paris, when people of all races, religions, political persuasions and genders marched in silent protest at the Charlie Hebdo killings by religious extremists who believe they can't get their opinions accepted through reason and polite debate but have to resort to lethal force to shut out dissent and cow people into reluctant and fearful acceptance.
It must be hard being a religious extremist knowing most reasonable people are going to disagree with you and most intelligent people are going to point out the fallacies you depend on.
Imagine how difficult it must be being an ultra-orthodox Jew in this situation. There you are watching as the world comes together to condemn extremists who you know would like nothing better but to exterminate you and people like you, and yet you have to try to live with the fact that women - yes WOMEN! - are also standing up to these people when your faith tells you women are second class beings who should remain silent and obedient and who are such vile creatures that they can contaminate your purity merely by touching you!
Unlike on an aeroplane where you can refuse to sit next to women and refuse to allow the plane to take off until the seating has been rearranged to comply with your superstition, the reality of a crowd situation such as the Charlie Hebdo rally is that you can't avoid seeing the abomination of women standing next to men and expressing their opinions like full members of the human race. No matter what they were there for, nor how much they were there to defend YOUR right to believe and say what YOU wish, they shouldn't have been there because they might have contaminated the men.
|Spot the difference.|
Thank goodness for photoshop, which allows you to airbrush women away and pretend they just weren't there, even if that means removing Angela Merkel, probably the most powerful woman in the world right now, the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, Swiss President, Simonetta Sommaruga and the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, from history. At least your readers won't feel queasy at the thought of a woman standing next to a man and even linking arms with him like a normal human being.
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, or to put it in ultra-orthodox Judaic terms עבדות, אי-שוויון, איבה (L'esclavage, l'inégalité, l'inimitié and most importantly, femmes interdit).