The man behind the mic: We must not let the haters win

A woman holds a sign as people take part in a vigil in Trafalgar Square, after gunmen carried out a an attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, killing 12 people. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
A woman holds a sign as people take part in a vigil in Trafalgar Square, after gunmen carried out a an attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, killing 12 people. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Just imagine turning up for work tomorrow at Perkins and being attacked by a farmer because he was annoyed at the way you had calibrated his tractor engine.

Or being a midwife and working a twelve hour shift at Peterborough City hospital, only to be confronted by a knife wielding mum, unhappy with the way you had cut their little one’s umbilical cord.

Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

Madness right? Unbelievable – like a goal for the home side at London Road.

Surely nobody would assault anyone for just doing their job would they?

Well as we all now know, due to the recent horrifying events in Paris, some people would – 12 journalists and cartoonists at the magazine, Charlie Hebdo, brutally murdered in cold blood, just for poking fun at people and institutions – executed by cowards for trying to make the world smile with a pencil and a piece of paper.

In total 19 innocent people lost their lives that day, all because someone couldn’t take a joke.

Of course some of their cartoons were offensive and I appreciate and understand that many Muslims were incensed by their depictions of the Prophet Mohammed.

But that is the whole point of satire, nothing should be above it, nothing should be sacred and let’s not forget that they were equally offensive, on a regular basis, to everyone else they parodied.

I am sure there are those at Peterborough City Council and elsewhere, who I have lampooned and caricatured in the past, (Jackson, Cereste, Peach, Seaton, Elsey, Forbes, Scott, Fitzgerald, Fower, Murphy, Fox, the list goes on and on) who would like to throttle me but I have yet to feel one single finger around my throat.

That is because we all live in a democracy, with the right of free speech enshrined within it and as long as I operate within the laws of libel and slander, I and anyone else, should be able to express opinion freely and without fear.

Journalists and broadcasters don’t always get it right of course, as Fox News in America proved so aptly with their coverage of the attack in France.

Other outlets called the gunmen Islamist fanatics and it’s easy to see why they rushed to brand them so, but they were wrong too.

Yes, the Muslim faith could, and perhaps should, do more to root out the bad apples within their midst but these brainwashed nutcases do not represent my Muslim friends, any more than the IRA and their atrocities characterised what my Catholic friends believe to be true. The vast majority of Muslims that live here in Peterborough and across the world do not deserve to be associated with these people and their warped ideologies.

They are not worthy of religion or state and should be labelled for what they really are – inhuman terrorists - that are determined to drive a wedge between Muslims and non Muslims.

They hate the thought that people of all faiths can peacefully co-exist and display mutual respect and tolerance for each other’s values and beliefs.

We must not let that hate overcome what previous generations have fought and died to build.

Je Suis Charlie.