My phone rang last week late in an afternoon. A very polite female reporter, with an accented Turkish which revealed she has been living abroad for many years, asked for a television interview. The theme was “To listen to a Muslim female humorist how it is to make humor in a Muslim country.” I don’t think I need to say that this was part of the file prepared upon the attack on Charlie Hebdo.
First, I accepted it immediately. Then later, I started pondering, “What would I say?” If I say “Actually Turkey is very different; it is a democratic and secular country. We are extremely comfortable here,” it is one thing; if I say, “Yes, truly, we are also afraid and we need to take extra care about what we say and write. The climate has toughened,” it is another thing.
I could say, “Oh, no; freedoms in Turkey are skyrocketing; humorists, writers and journalists write whatever is in their hearts,” and would be lying or, on the contrary, I would sound as if I am badmouthing my country to strangers. Or maybe, my patriotic side would force me give a message of “everything is all right” and risk being beaten by a portion of citizens saying, “What? Sucking up to the government?” Or, maybe I will be criticizing authoritarianism and involving Islam in politics and get labeled by a portion of citizens as an enemy of the state and/or Islam.
If they ask me about Charlie Hebdo, then I am completely finished. The facts are that the prime minister participated in the march protesting the attack, while the president regards what the magazine did as an insult to Islam and has condemned it. In other words, even at the top of the state (except for condemning the murders) there is no clear view about freedom of expression…
Your tax dollars at work. Privatize this propaganda outlet.
In the end, the writer became ill and thus was saved from trying to figure out how to explain to the apparently clueless CBC about the situation in Turkey.
How stupid is CBC? The news from Turkey is readily available in English. There is no excuse for them not having a rough idea of the free-speech situation in Turkey (or in any other Muslim country).
Why don’t they spend more time on finding out what is actually going on abroad rather than creating pro-Muslim propaganda.