In the wake of the tragic terrorist attack that claimed the lives of 10 employees of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, plus two police officers who tried to stop them, most of the world united in solidarity, across party lines, to show radical Islamic terrorists that they’re not afraid.
Many journalists took the attacks personally as the cowardly terrorists violated a sacred creed of the industry – freedom of expression.
Charlie Hebdo was well-known for its controversial cartoons that took jabs at politics and religions of all types, two of the most controversial subjects on Earth. They did it, hilariously I might add, using one of the oldest forms of expression known to man – satire.
No one in this world had the right to tell them what they can and can’t publish. They knew publishing certain cartoons, especially ones aimed at radical Islam, carried risks. They even earned a spot on Al Qaeda’s “enemies of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.”
They literally couldn’t have cared less.
They were fire-bombed in 2011 for a controversial cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammed. But they stayed true to their mission. They resumed publishing.
Their editor, Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, was quoted as saying, “I prefer to die standing than to live on my knees.”
Unfortunately, he got a chance to do that last week after he and members of his staff were murdered by the radical Islamist terrorists — over cartoons.
How ridiculous does that sound? Again, they were murdered over cartoons.
Why weren’t they murdered over the past four decades of publishing cartoons making fun of Christianity, Judaism or Buddhism, or even key political figures? Surely any one of those groups could have ordered attacks. But they didn’t.
It’s no wonder people have a difficult time accepting the idea that Islam is a “religion of peace.” It seems to be as far away from peace as I am from being the next American Idol. And that’s pretty far.
Charbonnier told an AP reporter in 2012 that, “Muhammad isn’t sacred to me.” He added, “I don’t blame Muslims for not laughing at our drawings. I live under French law. I don’t live under Quranic law.”
Personally, I think the world could use a few more Charbonniers. With the recent uptick in terrorist violence around the world, mostly thanks to the Islamic State and Al Qaeda, the last thing we should be doing is living on our knees. That’s exactly where they want us.
Pick up your pens and fire up your keyboards. They can’t kill everyone.
Je Suis Charlie.