I was shocked, beyond shocked when I read the horrific news yesterday. My first thought was of my family members living in Paris and how they must have felt, then my mind raced to the rest of my family, to those brave journalists/cartoonists and finally to France as a whole. I must confess that I had never read any of Charlie Hebdo publications, but there is a strong literary satirical tradition in French journalism and literature that it was established upon and it served a vital purpose in French society throughout all of its expressions. The cartoons bring to mind the descriptives such as clever, provoking, brash, insulting, maddening, harsh,baiting, biting, defiant, incendiary even; but none of these terms can ever justify anyone or any religion into taking another person’s life. These insane fanatical monsters must be brought to justice.
I can’t help but think that all religion is man-made, I understand the fundamental need for most to believe in a higher power and to faithfully accept that the higher power watches over us and must be accorded undying respect, love and worship. Intellectually I understand that, but what I don’t understand is how that conviction and faith can translate itself into war and bloodshed all in the name of the higher being; either within one religion or without against other religions. We are, outside of religion, all human beings, all faced with the same end game, death. It comes for us all and why would we want to expedite it for anyone just because they are not of your religion, irreverent of your religion or hateful towards your religion. The higher power does not need us puny humans to defend its honor; it is a higher power for a reason. Yes Charlie Hebdo created very provocative cartoons, but that was an expression of thought, art and feeling; no way does that even closely invite violence and murder; only the most debased of people can think that blasphemy or disrespect justifies murder.
I fear that there aren’t any answers, I fear that reason cannot prevail and I don’t know what lies next. We have suffered a profound loss and we need to mourn. I hope that their brave lives will be remembered and honored for a very long time. Freedom of expression is vital to us for so many reasons and we need to keep that principle alive for their memories and our future.