Nous Sommes Tous Charlie
January 13th, 2015
Here are a couple of moving responses to the terrible events in Paris. The first is a short film of the residents and holiday makers in Valmeinier showing solidarity with the victims of the attack, and the second is a short film made by the Active Change Foundation showing British Muslims speaking out against ISIS and their actions.
But then again, who of us had heard of Charlir Hebdo, and if we had, had we looked at them other than a group of extremist anarchists, where must of us felt a bit ambivalent about. Of course they must allowed to speak out, and if someone feels insulted, there are the judges. But well, the whole demonstration of European governments for freedom of speech, felt a bit orchestrated – like they had the plans ready, should something like this happen. This were no demonstration by the people, but by and of the elites.
I’ve known Charlie since the day it was born, and before that, I was reading Hara Kiri Hebdo. That’s why I’ve never looked at them as a group of extremist anarchists – what they have never been – but as nice and funny anarchists/left wing. They loved life and laughter and freedom and tolerance(like, you believe whatever you want but you don’t oblige other people to follow your ways). Because of these ideas, they have been threatened to death for the last ten years, and , yet, they decided to make no compromise, as far as freedom of speech was concerned. They have been loyal and brave. To use the word “extremist” in a proper way, the team of Charlie has been shot by “extremist” murderers, just as a lot of intellectuals, journalists, people defending the human rights or standing in the Opposition, muslims or not muslims, have been killed,these last years. Just a detail:there were about 4 millions people sunday in the french streets, and a whole heap of people were marching saturday afternoon in the same JeSuisCharlie demonstrations. So, the last sentence “This were no demonstration by the people but by and of the elites” must be a joke.Second degree humour?
Freedom os speech is a bit confused here. To mock and make fun of those who are the dispossesed in your society, is not really satire and not really funny. I think of this as more about the right to be safe from violence whether from individuals with deadly weapons, or the right of the poor and the marginalized of society to be safe from police violence as well, which is an issue that France, much like the United States has yet to confront with honesty.
Jan and Sarah – I have to agree with you. I find this article instructive: https://www.opendemocracy.net/des-freedman/charlie-hebdo-tragedy-free-speech-and-its-broader-contexts
People can like or dislike Charlie,agree or disagree with them, find them funny or not : I perfectly understand; I was reading this newspaper, now and then,and I mean to go on but occasionnally, I didnot like what they said or they didnot make me laugh..It happened more than once , no doubt it will happen again.But this is not the point : freedom of speech can be served in many ways and , sure, some ways are more inspiring than others. Still freedom of speech is a right people fought and died for, during , like, 200 years..I quite agree that a cartoon can be perceived differently by different groups.But, honest, Charlie never mocked or made fun of those who are the dispossesed of our society.On the contrary, they were committed for the dispossessed and against the elites.Radically committed.
‘I’m Ahmed’,’I’m Franck’, ‘I’m a cop’ ‘I’m jewish’…all these ideas were good. I liked ‘I am Charlie’ because Charlie is not somebody special like Charb, Cabu, Wolinski, Tignous,Bernard Marris, Honoré…(among the victims) It’s a title and, to me, it sounded a bit like ‘I’m Spartacus’…
I initially took ‘Je suis Charlie’ as my Face Book profile but after much thought and some criticism from friends I researched Charlie a little. I don’t think their cartoon, or the subsequent one printed, was racist at all. However, a cartoon is an artistic social construct and therefore is perceived differently by different ethnic groups. Maybe more sensitivity was required. My preferred stance is ‘Je suis Ahmed’. He was also an innocent man who was doing what he thought was his job and was mercilessly killed by one of his own faith.
I agree with Sarah’s comment. We are also responsible for our own actions – these deaths are one more atrocity in the name of religion. Freedom of speech – we are fortunate to live in parts of the world where this is a right, wouldn’t we be better served by using that right to promote positive, inspiring things? The second video speaks to me more than the first #notinmyname .
Je suis Charlie.