Anyone is free to laugh at my big nose and draw a caricature of it making it 10 times its size. No one would care. Or no one should care. And, because I am not a crazed numbskull, I would never show anger at this depiction, much less thump anyone’s nose to a pulp.

None of my friends would shoot the perpetrators of the horrid sketch. In fact, if my friends want to remain friends, they should defend the right of the cartoonists to draw what the hell they want with whatever appendage they feel like adding to my head or body.

That is life and ideally we should always laugh at ourselves. But laughter is the one thing no dictator or bully ever accepted or managed to eradicate.

Drawing a nose mockingly or derisively is not, I hear some readers scream, the same as making fun of a religious figure.

I beg to differ.

They — those blood-thirsty executioners of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists — were offended by depictions of their Prophet. But what if tomorrow they say they are offended by western women not covering their face? What if, in some still-unknown hole in the Gobi desert, they decide that the depiction of snow is illegal according to their fiery brand of skewered religion?

And let it be made clear — even Christians and other deity-followers need to learn this. People have a right to poke fun at anything. If Jesus Christ — or Buddha or Shiva — is made fun of, all you have to do is laugh or move on. If you can’t laugh at yourself, or your beliefs, you aren’t too good a man or woman.

Fun makes the world go round and is the fuel of freedom. Laughter, like breathing, is free and will never be stopped.

People with no scruples shot at cartoonists, claiming they perpetrated their nefarious deeds in the name of Allah. That does not make them spokespersons of their religion. It is not the religion that shot at Hebdo but misguided murderers.

People who thump others because they claim they are offended are bullies. No amount of reasoning will make the thumping right. No amount of silly, uninspired or inspired, cartoons merit any violence.

And if Mohammed or Jesus or God himself have no sense of humour, I really do not wish to spend my eternity with any of them.


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