I am Charlie Hebdo, you are Charlie Hebdo; everyone who has written a Tweet or a Facebook post, everyone who has had a story, a poem or a book published; we are all Charlie Hebdo.
If you look through the mist coming off the River Seine in Paris tonight, you just might see the ghost of Voltaire holding a Je Suis Charlie poster.
He was famous for his digs at the Catholic Church and the Monarchy. “I have only ever made one prayer to God; a short one: ‘Oh Lord make my enemies ridiculous!,’ And God granted it.”
Charlie Hebdo, a relatively small magazine, thrives in the centuries old French tradition of satire and sarcasm which began with the Period of Enlightenment (1650-1800) and irreverent writers like Voltaire. Reportedly named for the Charlie Brown cartoons, together with a shortened form of the word, ‘hebdomadaire,’ which means, ‘weekly,’ Charlie Hebdo produced cartoons firing sarcastic shots at everyone from Muslim clerics to politicians and the Virgin Mary.
The shooting deaths of Charlie Hebdo staff has stunned the world. Clearly this vile ploy to censor free speech, no doubt planned by religious fanatics whose minds reside in the 14th century, was not the bad guys’ first rodeo. The massacre of talented artists was planned and executed flawlessly, as has now been reportedly declared by Al Qaeda.
And yes, it scares me. If I describe a Muslim cleric in one of my blogs or a novel as an illiterate fanatic, or republish a Charlie Hebdo cartoon; will some baklava clad fanatics come to my door, shouting, “Allah Akbar!” as they shoot my family?
The delusion of political correctness adapted by some world leaders, who think polite appeasement is the way to stop the insanity of terrorists, is killing people. Almost 200 Journalists have been murdered worldwide.
Western leaders stood by and watched as tanks drove into Tiananmen Square while the courage of one unnamed hero inspired the free world. Hundreds of protesters were killed that day, their deaths hushed up by the Chinese government.
(Photo by Jim Widener for A.P.)
Since then, China has censored all references to that date,like it didn’t happen. Pretty much anything the government doesn’t want said is censored in China today.
While world leaders are generally mute on the topic of Chinese censorship, people aren’t so easily brainwashed. In June, 2014, the 25th anniversary of the event was commemorated by a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong, much like the vigils going on around the world for the Charlie Hebdo victims:
(Photo by Kim Cheung for A.P.)
In this writer’s opinion, major American News organizations like A.P., CNN,FOX, ABC, and NBC are strangling themselves in a web of political correctness by refusing to show the Charlie Hebdo cartoon cover portraying Muhammad that is blamed by Muslim extremists for the murders. At what point is hiding the facts of a story good editorial policy? At what point is plain cowardice redefined as political correctness?
The writers and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo said what they saw; poked holes in small minds, used irreverence as a sword, and refused to back down if criticized or threatened.
As Chard said, “I would rather die standing than live on my knees.” Those who bravely oppose any violation of basic human rights know exactly what he meant.
These men will forever be Heroes:
Top left, cartoonist Jean Cubut,
Top Right, cartoonist Tignous,
Bottom left, Charlie Hebdo publisher Charb,
Bottom right, Georges Wolinks.