Je Suis Charlie

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here, I know, and I have an interview coming up to post soon.  But I had to say something about this.

I have been following the news out of Paris, and it saddens me very, very much. If you have not heard, the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were attacked by gunmen, leaving 10 staffers and 2 policepeople dead. The gunmen fled after the attack, and a massive manhunt is underway in France right now to find them. Crowds in Paris and around the world held up pens and pencils in tribute to the slain, as I’ll be doing at the end of this post.

It’s not right.

I don’t care what your religion is, it’s not right to kill people who don’t believe what you believe. You can practice your religion all you want, but you NEVER have the right to force anyone else to follow those beliefs. You NEVER have the right to kill anyone else for your god, there should be no place at all in this world for people who think that they do. If your god is all-powerful, then they don’t need you sticking up for them. They can handle it themselves.

It’s so grievously, tragically, heart-breakingly wrong. I can’t even find the words to say how horribly wrong this attack was. It was an attack against the freedom of expression, which, as a writer, I am quite fond of.

I can’t articulate what reading about this and seeing the videos and comments and cartoons of solidarity have made me feel. The world feels fundamentally wrong, somehow, if things like this can happen.

Cartoonists, especially political cartoonists, don’t hurt anybody with their work. They make us laugh, they make us cry, they make us think, with pictures that sometimes tell millions of words. They sound calls for action, they ease tensions. Sometimes they tell us what we don’t want to hear, what we are uncomfortable hearing, what we don’t want them to tell us. Sometimes they mock things we hold sacred.

But they do not deserve to be killed for it.

I’m rambling, so I’m going to end this now, with the 2012 words of Charlie Hebdo editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier: “I am not afraid of reprisals. I don’t have kids, I don’t have a wife, I don’t have a car, I don’t have credit. This may sound a bit pompous but I would prefer to die standing than to live on my knees.”

Rest in peace, Mr. Charbonnier and all the others lost in Wednesday’s massacre. We will stand for you now.


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