The world has reacted to the recent murders in Paris in a heartening show of sympathy for the victims and support for their cause. Charlie Hebdo, according to Wikipedia, “is a French satirical weekly newspaper, featuring cartoons, reports, polemics, and jokes. Irreverent and stridently non-conformist in tone, the publication describes itself as strongly anti-racist and left-wing, publishing articles on the extreme right, Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, politics, culture, etc.” Naturally, it has been the target of criticism. You can’t twit powerful people and expect anything else. It has also been the victim of violent attacks, including the one on January 7 of this year, which killed twelve people and injured another eleven. This attack was an attempt at censorship through terror.
As I’ve said elsewhere, humor and satire can be useful when dealing with people who take themselves too seriously. Ridicule can be a good weapon against people who would kill for an idea. Thugs who want people to fear them lose their power when we laugh at them. Je suis Charlie. Among the many others who have spoken out are the web comic Jesus and Mo, and the scruffy band of vigilantes calling itself Anonymous. Along with Charlie Hebdo, these two are normally scorned and demonized for their anti-establishment activities. That will probably ease up for a while, as the establishment focuses on another demon.
Let’s grieve for the victims of this mass murder. Let’s also grieve for the fools who did it, victims in their own way. Most of all, let us stand together against all violence and all censorship. This particular band of thugs isn’t the only one that wants to silence their critics. Some of the very people who condemn them now are working tirelessly to silence their own. I extend praise and gratitude for those heroes who are standing up for us all.
Merci, Charlie Hebdo.