Why I am not Charlie

imagesThere is no “but” about what happened at Charlie Hebdo yesterday. Some people published some cartoons, and some other people killed them for it.  Words and pictures can be beautiful or vile, pleasing or enraging, inspiring or offensive; but they exist on a different plane from physical violence, whether you want to call that plane spirit or imagination or culture, and to meet them with violence is an offense against the spirit and imagination and culture that distinguish humans. Nothing mitigates this monstrosity. There will be time to analyze why the killers did it, time to parse their backgrounds, their ideologies, their beliefs, time for sociologists and psychologists to add to understanding. There will be explanations, and the explanations will be important, but explanations aren’t the same as excuses. Words don’t kill, they must not be met by killing, and they will not make the killers’ culpability go away.

To abhor what was done to the victims, though, is not the same as to become them. This is true on the simplest level: I cannot occupy someone else’s selfhood, share someone else’s death. This is also true on a moral level: I cannot appropriate the dangers they faced or the suffering they underwent, I cannot colonize their experience, and it is arrogant to make out that I can. It wouldn’t be necessary to say this, except the flood of hashtags and avatars and social-media posturing proclaiming #JeSuisCharlie overwhelms distinctions and elides the point. “We must all try to be Charlie, not just today but every day,” the New Yorker pontificates. What the hell does that mean? In real life, solidarity takes many forms, almost all of them hard. This kind of low-cost, risk-free, E-Z solidarity is only possible in a social-media age, where you can strike a pose and somebody sees it on their timeline for 15 seconds and then they move on and it’s forgotten except for the feeling of accomplishment it gave you. Solidarity is hard because it isn’t about imaginary identifications, it’s about struggling across the canyon of not being someone else: it’s about recognizing, for instance, that somebody died because they were different from you, in what they did or believed or were or wore, not because they were the same. If people who are feeling concrete loss or abstract shock or indignation take comfort in proclaiming a oneness that seems to fill the void, then it serves an emotional end. But these Cartesian credos on Facebook and Twitter — I am Charlie, therefore I am — shouldn’t be mistaken for political acts.

Among the dead at Charlie Hebdo:  Deputy chief editor Bernard Maris and cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut (aka Cabu), Stephane Charbonnier, who was also editor-in-chief, and Bernard Verlhac (aka Tignous)

Among the dead at Charlie Hebdo: Deputy chief editor Bernard Maris and cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut (aka Cabu), Stephane Charbonnier, who was also editor-in-chief, and Bernard Verlhac (aka Tignous)

Erasing differences that actually exist seems to be the purpose here: and it’s perhaps appropriate to the Charlie cartoons, which drew their force from a considered contempt for people with the temerity to be different. For the last 36 hours, everybody’s been quoting Voltaire. The same line is all over my several timelines:

From the twitter feed of @thereaIbanksy, January 7

From the twitter feed of @thereaIbanksy, January 7

“Those 21 words circling the globe speak louder than gunfire and represent every pen being wielded by an outstretched arm,” an Australian news site says. (Never mind that Voltaire never wrote them; one of his biographers did.) But most people who mouth them don’t mean them. Instead, they’re subtly altering the Voltairean clarion cry: the message today is, I have to agree with what you say, in order to defend it. Why else the insistence that condemning the killings isn’t enough? No: we all have to endorse the cartoons, and not just that, but republish them ourselves. Thus Index on Censorship, a journal that used to oppose censorship but now is in the business of telling people what they can and cannot say, called for all newspapers to reprint the drawings: “We believe that only through solidarity – in showing that we truly defend all those who exercise their right to speak freely – can we defeat those who would use violence to silence free speech.” But is repeating you the same as defending you? And is it really “solidarity” when, instead of engaging across our differences, I just mindlessly parrot what you say?

But no, if you don’t copy the cartoons, you’re colluding with the killers, you’re a coward. Thus the right-wing Daily Caller posted a list of craven media minions of jihad who oppose free speech by not doing as they’re ordered. Punish these censors, till they say what we tell them to!

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 12.34.32 AMIf you don’t agree with what Charlie Hebdo said, the terrorists win.

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 12.22.15 AMYou’re not just kowtowing to terrorists with your silence. According to Tarek Fatah, a Canadian columnist with an evident fascist streak, silence is terrorism.

Screen shot 2015-01-08 at 11.46.59 PMOf course, any Muslim in the West would know that being called “our enemy” is a direct threat; you’ve drawn the go-to-GItmo card. But consider: This idiot thinks he is defending free speech. How? By telling people exactly what they have to say, and menacing the holdouts with treason. The Ministry of Truth has a new office in Toronto.

There’s a perfectly good reason not to republish the cartoons that has nothing to do with cowardice or caution. I refuse to post them because I think they’re racist and offensive. I can support your right to publish something, and still condemn what you publish. I can defend what you say, and still say it’s wrong — isn’t that the point of the quote (that wasn’t) from Voltaire? I can hold that governments shouldn’t imprison Holocaust deniers, but that doesn’t oblige me to deny the Holocaust myself.

It’s true, as Salman Rushdie says, that “Nobody has the right to not be offended.” You should not get to invoke the law to censor or shut down speech just because it insults you or strikes at your pet convictions. You certainly don’t get to kill because you heard something you don’t like. Yet, manhandled by these moments of mass outrage, this truism also morphs into a different kind of claim: That nobody has the right to be offended at all.

I am offended when those already oppressed in a society are deliberately insulted. I don’t want to participate. This crime in Paris does not suspend my political or ethical judgment, or persuade me that scatologically smearing a marginal minority’s identity and beliefs is a reasonable thing to do. Yet this means rejecting the only authorized reaction to the atrocity. Oddly, this peer pressure seems to gear up exclusively where Islam’s involved. When a racist bombed a chapter of a US civil rights organization this week, the media didn’t insist I give to the NAACP in solidarity. When a rabid Islamophobic rightist killed 77 Norwegians in 2011, most of them at a political party’s youth camp, I didn’t notice many #IAmNorway hashtags, or impassioned calls to join the Norwegian Labor Party. But Islam is there for us, it unites us against Islam. Only cowards or traitors turn down membership in the Charlie club.The demand to join, endorse, agree is all about crowding us into a herd where no one is permitted to cavil or condemn: an indifferent mob, where differing from one another is Thoughtcrime, while indifference to the pain of others beyond the pale is compulsory.

We’ve heard a lot about satire in the last couple of days. We’ve heard that satire shouldn’t cause offense because it’s a weapon of the weak: “Satire-writers always point out the foibles and fables of those higher up the food chain.” And we’ve heard that if the satire aims at everybody, those forays into racism, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism can be excused away. Charlie Hebdo “has been a continual celebration of the freedom to make fun of everyone and everything….it practiced a freewheeling, dyspeptic satire without clear ideological lines.” Of course, satire that attacks any and all targets is by definition not just targeting the top of the food chain. “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges,” Anatole France wrote; satire that wounds both the powerful and the weak does so with different effect. Saying the President of the Republic is a randy satyr is not the same as accusing nameless Muslim immigrants of bestiality. What merely annoys the one may deepen the other’s systematic oppression. To defend satire because it’s indiscriminate is to admit that it discriminates against the defenseless.

Funny little man: Contemporary caricature of Kierkegaard

Funny little man: Contemporary Danish cartoon of Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard, the greatest satirist of his century, famously recounted his dream: “I was rapt into the Seventh Heaven. There sat all the gods assembled.” They granted him one wish: “Most honorable contemporaries, I choose one thing — that I may always have the laughter on my side.” Kierkegaard knew what he meant: Children used to laugh and throw stones at him on Copenhagen streets, for his gangling gait and monkey torso. His table-turning fantasy is the truth about satire. It’s an exercise in power. It claims superiority, it aspires to win, and hence it always looms over the weak, in judgment. If it attacks the powerful, that’s because there is appetite underneath its asperity: it wants what they have. As Adorno wrote: “He who has laughter on his side has no need of proof. Historically, therefore, satire has for thousands of years, up to Voltaire’s age, preferred to side with the stronger party which could be relied on: with authority.” Irony, he added, “never entirely divested itself of its authoritarian inheritance, its unrebellious malice.”

Satire allies with the self-evident, the Idées reçues, the armory of the strong. It puts itself on the team of the juggernaut future against the endangered past, the successful opinion over the superseded one. Satire has always fed on distaste for minorities, marginal peoples, traditional or fading ways of life. Adorno said: “All satire is blind to the forces liberated by decay.”

Funny little man: Voltaire writing

Funny little man: Voltaire writing

Charlie Hebdo, the New Yorker now claims, “followed in the tradition of Voltaire.” Voltaire stands as the god of satire; any godless Frenchman with a bon mot is measured against him. Everyone remembers his diatribes against the power of the Catholic Church: Écrasez l’InfâmeBut what’s often conveniently omitted amid the adulation of his wit is how Voltaire loathed a powerless religion, the outsiders of his own era, the “medieval,” “barbaric” immigrant minority that afflicted Europe: the Jews.

Voltaire’s anti-Semitism was comprehensive. In its contempt for the putatively “primitive,” it anticipates much that is said about Muslims in Europe and the US today. “The Jews never were natural philosophers, nor geometricians, nor astronomers,” Voltaire declared. That would do head Islamophobe Richard Dawkins proud:

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 3.01.25 AM

The Jews, Voltaire wrote, are “only an ignorant and barbarous people, who have long united the most sordid avarice with the most detestable superstition and the most invincible hatred for every people by whom they are tolerated and enriched.” When some American right-wing yahoo calls Muslims “goatfuckers,” you might think he’s reciting old Appalachian invective. In fact, he’s repeating Voltaire’s jokes about the Jews. “You assert that your mothers had no commerce with he-goats, nor your fathers with she-goats,” Voltaire demanded of them. “But pray, gentlemen, why are you the only people upon earth whose laws have forbidden such commerce? Would any legislator ever have thought of promulgating this extraordinary law if the offence had not been common?”

You are an infamous impostor, Father, but at least you're circumcised: Voltaire lectures to a priest

You are an infamous impostor, Father, but at least you’re circumcised: Voltaire lectures to a priest

Nobody wishes Voltaire had been killed for his slanders. If some indignant Jew or Muslim (he didn’t care for the “Mohammedans” much either) had murdered him mid-career, the whole world would lament the abomination. In his most Judeophobic passages, I can take pleasure in his scalpel phrasing — though even 250 years after, some might find this hard. Still, liking the style doesn’t mean I swallow the message. #JeSuisPasVoltaire. Most of the man’s admirers avoid or veil his anti-Semitism. They know that while his contempt amuses when directed at the potent and impervious Pope, it turns dark and sour when defaming a weak and despised community. Satire can sometimes liberate us, but it is not immune from our prejudices or untainted by our hatreds. It shouldn’t douse our critical capacities; calling something “satire” doesn’t exempt it from judgment. The superiority the satirist claims over the helpless can be both smug and sinister. Last year a former Charlie Hebdo writer, accusing the editors of indulging racism, warned that “The conviction of being a superior being, empowered to look down on ordinary mortals from on high, is the surest way to sabotage your own intellectual defenses.”

Of course, Voltaire didn’t realize that his Jewish victims were weak or powerless. Already, in the 18th century, he saw them as tentacles of a financial conspiracy; his propensity for overspending and getting hopelessly in debt to Jewish moneylenders did a great deal to shape his anti-Semitism. In the same way, Charlie Hebdo and its like never treated Muslim immigrants as individuals, but as agents of some larger force. They weren’t strivers doing the best they could in an unfriendly country, but shorthand for mass religious ignorance, or tribal terrorist fanaticism, or obscene oil wealth. Satire subsumes the human person in an inhuman generalization. The Muslim isn’t just a Muslim, but a symbol of Islam.

Cartoon by Sudanese artist Khalid Albaih, from Aljazeera.com

Cartoon by Sudanese artist Khalid Albaih, from Aljazeera.com

This is where political Islamists and Islamophobes unite. They cling to agglutinative ideologies; they melt people into a mass; they erase individuals’ attributes and aspirations under a totalizing vision of what identity means. A Muslim is his religion. You can hold every Muslim responsible for what any Muslim does. (And one Danish cartoonist makes all Danes guilty.) So all Muslims have to post #JeSuisCharlie obsessively as penance, or apologize for what all the other billion are up to. Yesterday Aamer Rahman, an Australian comic and social critic, tweeted:

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 12.08.33 AM

A few hours later he had to add:

Screen shot 2015-01-09 at 12.07.58 AM

This insistence on contagious responsibility, collective guilt, is the flip side of #JeSuisCharlie. It’s #VousÊtesISIS; #VousÊtesAlQaeda. Our solidarity, our ability to melt into a warm mindless oneness and feel we’re doing something, is contingent on your involuntary solidarity, your losing who you claim to be in a menacing mass. We can’t stand together here unless we imagine you together over there in enmity. The antagonists are fake but they’re entangled, inevitable. The language hardens. Geert Wilders, the racist right-wing leader in the Netherlands, said the shootings mean it’s time to “de-Islamize our country.” Nigel Farage, his counterpart in the UK, called Muslims a “fifth column, holding our passports, that hate us.” Juan Cole writes that the Charlie Hebdo attack was “a strategic strike, aiming at polarizing the French and European public” — at “sharpening the contradictions.” The knives are sharpening too, on both sides.

We lose our ability to imagine political solutions when we stop thinking critically, when we let emotional identifications sweep us into factitious substitutes for solidarity and action. We lose our ability to respond to atrocity when we start seeing people not as individuals, but as symbols. Changing avatars on social media is a pathetic distraction from changing realities in society. To combat violence you must look unflinchingly at the concrete inequities and practices that breed it. You won’t stop it with acts of self-styled courage on your computer screen that neither risk nor alter anything. To protect expression that’s endangered you have to engage with the substance of what was said, not deny it. That means attempting dialogue with those who peacefully condemn or disagree, not trying to shame them into silence. Nothing is quick, nothing is easy. No solidarity is secure. I support free speech. I oppose all censors. I abhor the killingsI mourn the dead. I am not Charlie.

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1,646 thoughts on “Why I am not Charlie

  1. “I support free speech. I oppose all censors. I abhor the killings. I mourn the dead……” and I AM Charlie. …..
    This article is so full of twisted logic and self-congratulatory “critical thinking”, that is NOT critical at all, but mostly diabolical … I disagree with the whole premise … obviously (I have proudly changed my avatar) ….. but for the sake of free speech and exposing the other POV, I will share it ….

    • I fully agree with you korekosmu, whoever you are :+) I am french and this article, beyond twisted logic and so on (you say it better than i can ), sounds like arrogance to me and pretends to know what he does not know, and completeley misses cultural sensibility we are all made of.
      So i will over simplify and not twist anything. “Je suis Charlie”, simply (let us be simple) means here i suffer for and with Charlie, and I respect Charlie, and it does not mean i endorse Charlie’s ideas. It is all about deep respect for freedom our french culture is made of, and i suggest the author to revisit our history… simple food for thoughts… from France…

      • ‘Diabolical’? How? Someone’s logic is not twisted simply because the premise is to your disliking – besides, the article entirely complements the JeSuisCharlie commentary of recent days, just from a less frenetic perspective: nothing of the above questions Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish anything, or the savagery with which that fundamental right was infringed in the case of those killed. But there are undoubtedly some disturbing elements to Charlie Hebdo’s commentary in the past, and there are also some very valid points to be made about the – often ill-considered – rush of ‘JeSuisCharlie’ comments worldwide. These things need saying.

      • The author doesnt deny freedom of speech, in fact he perpetuates and defends it in all its ugly glory. There is no arrogance in what he says, he backs up every claim with evidence. Forcing others to align with a view they would normally condemn in order to demonstarte the disgust over the murders is totally insane.
        Futhermore, he isnt specifically talking about France, but the wider (western) world. So, no the author doesnt need to go and educate himself on French history, its not relevant to what he is saying. Perhaps what would be ideal is if you went and improved your English so you can understand what he is actually trying to say.

      • Perhaps before writing that the author “backs up every claim with evidence” you should try to read some of the criticism that has been expressed in the (up to now) more than 600 comments. Two of the arguments of those criticism are important in my view : 1) the timing of the piece, because if you think that the topic is not specifically about what happened in France, it may be true in the mind of the author, but very inconsequent of him since its effect was resented as directly undermining the urgent action taken by the people of CH. 2) He contradicted himself when approving the motto “I am NOT Charlie” just after having given his reasons to why you should not adhere to any of them. It makes me think of the story of an author who got a letter from his editor : Your book is both good and original. Unfortunately, what is good is not original and what is original is not good !

      • The attacks in Paris sparked the debate but the myriad of issues that have a risen are not specific to France but are of global consequence. The timing of the piece isn’t random, it’s incidental. Having said that, the issues addressed within the piece transcend beyond a single nation. It calls into question our communal and social responsibilities, our attitudes towards each other and most importantly the author points out that our actions rarely occur in isolation. So I may feel I’m merely exercising my right to freedom of speech, while in reality I’m not only reinforcing social stereotypes and furthering intolerance but I’m actually assisting in disenfranchising an already marginalised group. These things have a major impact on society and unfortunately contribute to such heinous crimes. I believe the author is trying to deal with the root causes of such atrocities instead of focusing on the superficial symptoms.
        The problem with the #jesuischarlie meme is that it directly contradicts that very notion. It’s an emotional response that is neither reasonable nor useful within the wider context of the dialogue.
        Furthermore, for the majority who claim to be Charlie, as the author points out, aren’t telling the truth. The majority find Charlie Hebdo’s opinions reprehensible and their approach infantile. (So they are not Charlie here). The majority aren’t as brave nor as steadfast in their own beliefs. (So they are not Charlie here either). And for all those Charlies who quote Voltaire wouldn’t defend their own right to the death let alone anyone else’s. So what exactly makes people Charlie?
        Moreover, memes in general do nothing other then serve as Xanx for the conscience. What happened to the #bringbackourgirls meme that everybody jumped on when over 200 young girls were kidnapped in Nigeria? Have the girls been released? Nope!
        The point is social media activism is lazy and solves nothing in the long run or even in the short run.
        Which brings me to your second point. I’m not Charlie is not a meme, it’s a fact! I’m not Charlie doesn’t mean anything other than just that: I’m not Charlie. So, I don’t find the fact that she says she is not Charlie a contradiction in anyway to her criticism of those who have mindlessly been caught up in the mass hysteria; and that in itself is dangerous.
        The I am Charlie movement, so to speak, is divisive and dare I say, confrontational. Which does nothing to ease the tensions.
        I know the author’s point aren’t entirely original but her piece is coherent, logical, it appeals to our better nature.

      • I could not give a better balanced and sensible answer to your question than the one given by Chris Matthew. I have just to add that when you say :”The I am Charlie movement, so to speak, is divisive and dare I say, confrontational” this is exactly what I think of the “I am not Charlie” meme. Why is it possible that exactly the same premises lead us both to opposite conclusions ? The difference lies in the amount of facts you or me know, our respective cultural background and our respective social class préjudices and hability to criticises them, and a whole life of expérience of the actual workings of hate. It is Hate itself that is divisive, not expressing our opinions about the results of its activity.

      • I’m not really sure what Chris Matthews said because I couldn’t see his comment, so I couldn’t really take his perspective on board.
        I can see how you reached your conclusion about how the ‘I’m not Charlie’ meme can be perceived as divisive and confrontational in response to the ‘I’m Charlie’ meme.
        I have no problem with how people respond to an event, however, the response is also subject to scrutiny and criticism. Alternative points of view are equally valid as people are different.
        Furthermore, people don’t speak for the sake of speaking – they speak to achieve some sort of objective and it is Charlie Hebdo’s motives and objectives that are being called into question. Now, you may wonder why this is being done and why at this time. Evidently, their views and actions were not without consequence (as inexcusable as the consequences may be). As the saying goes ‘every action has a reaction’. The dialogue is taking place at this time for two reasons, firstly, because people are trying to make sense of what happened. And secondly, because it is now that it is relevant.
        I have taken the time to explain to you why I felt the author’s article is fair and I’ve also made the point of explaining each and every point in detail so you may understand why I hold such views. However, I feel as though you haven’t bothered to explain yourself in regards to your opinions. (The only opinion you did explain, is about how you perceived the ‘I’m not Charlie’ meme as being divisive and confrontational. On this occasion I could actually understand where you were coming from – I don’t agree with you opinion but I understand it.
        Other then that, you didn’t really explain your position, worst still, you made a whole list of presumptions regarding my level of social-political awareness, cultural background, social class, my ability to critically analyse that which is the norm within my community and to add insult to injury, you, wrongfully may I add, assume that I have a ‘life time worth of experience of hate’. Unfortunately for you, your presumptions and assumptions say more about you then they do about me. My responses have been long-winded in order to clearly and concisely illustrate my point of view. The point isn’t to agree with each other but to understand each other. Perhaps that in itself is evidence of a very expensive education that you’re trying to call into disrepute.

      • I am sorry, but I cannot understand what makes you think “you made a whole list of presumptions regarding my level of social-political awareness, cultural background, social class, my ability to critically analyse that which is the norm within my community and to add insult to injury, you, wrongfully may I add, assume that I have a ‘life time worth of experience of hate’”… when I was saying that about myself ! I mean, we are all different persons, every one with his personal history and prejudices. Allow me to make the “presumption” that maybe you read too quickly. The “life time worth of experience” is a statement about my own life. In this blog you are the second person to take my general statements very personally and to be upset (I should learn “manners” said Persephone) What I wanted to explain is why we are all so different in our appreciation of events. This is platitude, I allow, but I wanted to make the point in order to explain why it is so difficult for certain people (not you, please !) to understand that the caricatures were deemed “offensive” in certain quarters, and not in others. In this case you give me a very clear exemple of how easily one could feel “offended” by taking personally what is absolutely not directed at him. And so the average muslim can also very easily be “offended” by something that was not directed at him when even the highly educated man is susceptible to do. When answering a comment I do not make any other assumption than needed to be understood by the person that made this comment. Now, about explaining my position, I did not feel the need to constantly repeat the same thing again and again. It is a pity that you were unable to reach to the quite recent comment of Chris Matthew, because that means you may not be able to get to my earlier comments. I have made a lot of them. Sometimes just reacting to what I thought was an inaccuracy, sometimes also making long comments to explain my position. The only thing I assume about a newcomer in this debate is that she/he is unaware of the more than 600 previous comments. My role in the debate is to be the defender of the accused who, by some irony, is also the victim.

      • Fair enough! Its just your comments seemed derogatory. Most people do not refer to themselves in that way, so, I presumed you were talking about me and if I’m wrong, I apologise. Also, I’m was not offended, although I assumed it to be personal, hence, I didn’t retort back negatively (I didn’t suggest you get any manners).
        Picking up on your point about Muslims being offended when it isn’t personal, excuse me, but if you mock my values (of not depicting someone sacred) it is personal. If you’re trying to engage me in dialogue don’t start with an insult. If you begin a conversation with me by calling me a biitch, don’t be surprised if I don’t have time to listen to the valid and critical points you may have to make after that.
        As to people being different and have different perspectives, I completely agree and in fact I said the exact same thing in my last comment to you.
        Would it surprise you if I told you my fiancé is French, in fact Parisian, (now living in London) and that we hold almost opposing views in regards to these events? But we understand each other’s view and respectfully disagree. We come from very different backgrounds and yet we share almost identical values. Differences in cultural backgrounds doesn’t automatically separate you in terms of humanity.

      • I feel you are true in all of the points you made. And for instance your saying that your fiancé is french is a perfect illustration of what I meant when I said that in building one’opinion every single experience in life counts. All my comments in this blog aim at warning people that they should not jump to conclusions too easily and on ground of hearsay. And if I seem in some minds to insist too much in making this point it is because they had not my life experience of knowing that misreading foreign culture leads to misunderstanding and misunderstanding is the germ of Hate which, in turn is the germ of War. Not all wars are born of bigotry, some are the result of imperialism. But they all need bigotry as a blanket cover. I appreciate your openess of mind.

      • Agreed.People have been butchered for intolerance, and others chose to discuss whether they like the cartoons. They miss the point. Fascists , currently Islamisists, attack anything that does not obey. It is an abusive attitude, and even if it’s not to my taste, I appreciate anyone’s standing up to that. Sometimes the response may be more challenging than it would be to a reasonable person, appropriately so. Sometimes it may be misjudged- humans make mistakes .

        What offence did the victims of the London or Madrid bombings, or those villagers in N. Nigeria cause these fascists ,to justify their slaughter ?

        This is not about cartoons.

      • @shukrii
        I found your comment interesting and well written. I wish I could express myself in a clear english like you. However your comment helped me to understand better why I do not like this article and not agree with you.

        > “So I may feel I’m merely exercising my right to freedom of speech, while in reality I’m not only reinforcing social stereotypes and furthering intolerance but I’m actually assisting in disenfranchising an already marginalised group. These things have a major impact on society and unfortunately contribute to such heinous crimes. I believe the author is trying to deal with the root causes of such atrocities instead of focusing on the superficial symptoms.”

        I guess you mean “marginalised group” you mean Muslims. While muslims (or people with a muslims background) have never been targeted by CH neither their supporter. The targets were extremist religious who want to impose their faith to a democratic laic world. CH always respected people faith or religion and rejected extremism and reject the fact when religion try to dictate what a free journal can or cannot do. They did it with Satire (cartoon and text) as they did for all religions or society problems since many many years, changing the way to do it would have totally cancel their message and would have prouve that extremist are right. In the last CH journal, last wednesday, they remind that musilms are the first victim to islamic extremist.

        If you consider that “marginalised group” are religious extremist and terrorists and should be taken gently because they are minority, well that your opinion and I cannot disagree more.

        > “The problem with the #jesuischarlie meme is that it directly contradicts that very notion. It’s an emotional response that is neither reasonable nor useful within the wider context of the dialogue.”

        Exactly ! JeSuisCharlie is an emotional response. It means I am choked, I am disgusted, I disagree. It is a short cut to express how much this massacre effected us. Not everybody can write or express themselves in a blog or a newspaper so they used this shortcut JeSuisCharlie, some found other way. That why the “I am not Charlie” sounds like if the author discuss about people feelings and sentiment.

        > “Furthermore, for the majority who claim to be Charlie, as the author points out, aren’t telling the truth. The majority find Charlie Hebdo’s opinions reprehensible and their approach infantile. (So they are not Charlie here). […]”

        If you consider like me that JeSuisCharlie is above its literal meaning and more a short cut to express our disagreement to what happen, your comment does not make sense.

        “[…] So what exactly makes people Charlie?”
        I guess if you want to unify everybody it would means “do not kill other people just because of your faith or opinion”

        > “Which brings me to your second point. I’m not Charlie is not a meme, it’s a fact! I’m not Charlie doesn’t mean anything other than just that: I’m not Charlie.”

        You are playing with the literal sens of word. When an article is written a days after the massacre, I think the author wanted to make an other point then just saying that her/he name is not Charlie. By the way when you want to denunciate an emotional/histeria reaction, if found the one day timing reaction a killer for that message.

        May I had that in France, on Sunday the 11th, more than 3 millions of people were in the streets without any or very marginal incident. Some people had the JeSuisCharlie sign some didn’t nobody force anybody to wear it nobody force anybody to go to the march. I remember a group of people standing while everybody was walking in the streets.(in my city 120.000 people). This group had sign saying “I am muslim not a terrorsit, I defend the freedom of speech”. I discussed with them, the only thing they get from the 120.000 people walking were applauses and supports. Nobody ask them to “be Charlie”.
        People who wanted to express themselves with this signes were able to do it other were able to do it or not at all, that why I do not get the need to invent an other sub-division of our society by a “I am not Charlie” while the je suis Charlie was meant to express an emotion.
        Also I found abusive from the author to talk about the oppression he/she undergo to be charlie, nobody force he/she. And a few twit taken from here or there on internet do not prouve anything.

        I think everybody should read the first page of the last CH (after the massacre). This CH in english is coming soon.

      • Ps Sylvain, I won’t be reading the latest issue of CH, as they have once again chosen to publish offensive cartoons, in an attempt to attack the values of others under the guise of defending “their own value of freedom of speech”. I don’t congratulate and I certainly do not endorse such behaviour. Their “humour” is beneath me in every sense. I’m far too intelligent to find that kind of “humour” funny. Far too conscientious to endorse bullying of a minority group.
        While I support their right to freedom of speech, I won’t be a moral and financial contributor to their cause.

      • @shukrii
        > “I won’t be reading the latest issue of CH, as they have once again chosen to publish offensive cartoons,”
        Of course they did, they are doing that since many years, satire and cartoons are they way . Not doing it would means, terrorists won.

        > ” in an attempt to attack the values of others under the guise of defending “their own value of freedom of speech”.”
        Yes, freedom of speech is part of their own value. If everybody in the world would defend his own values by drawing instead of killing, torturing, opressing, I think we would leave in a better place.

        > ” Their “humour” is beneath me in every sense. I’m far too intelligent to find that kind of “humour” funny. Far too conscientious to endorse bullying of a minority group.”
        You probably intelligent enough to understand that other people have different pacifist way to communicate and cultures are different (french culture of laicity and satire is a reality). I still does not know what “minority group means”. muslims ? CH do not bull muslims because they are muslims they respond to the dictatorship of some extremist who want to impose their law with guns.
        It is clearly written in their last issue “muslims are the first victims of the islamics extremists and of course we support them as any oppressed group of people”.

      • Well said. This article wreaks of left-wing fascism and is a disgrace to human rights and decency. As an ex-Muslim I will not be surprised if Islamics will condone this act of murder. What is surprising is how the morally challenged leftists agree with Islamic rightwingers about this tragic event. Two sides of the same coin.

      • Tahir – Toun sound really confused. Help us out here…
        1. What on earth is “left-wing fascism”? AFAIK the two don’t belong in the same basket.
        2. What is “an ex-Muslim”? Do you mean you are a Christian or some other religion, or an athiest?
        3. What are “Islamics”?
        Finally, your opinions – for that’s what your statements are – fall a long way from facts of the matter. You strike me as one who tries rather too hard to justify a personal stance – and I have to wonder why.

      • @Tigger – Left wing fascism are illiberal leftists clamoring for a totalitarian system. Example is the German Socialist Workers Party that later was renamed the Nazi Party. Check out Wikipedia.

        Ex-Muslim means someone who grew up and is/was a Muslim in an Islamic country but now has denounced the pedophile and mass murderer prophet Mohammad and all the shenanigans that followed him. Nothing to do with Christianity.

        Not all Muslims are religious. But for the intellectually challenged left, all Muslims have to be painted with the same brush and stereotyped as people with limited intelligence following a fascistic religion. That is not acceptable and it is racist. Muslims are the majority of people of the Islamic countries and those who emigrated. They are not all mindless troglodyte religious fanatics. A great many of them do not care for Islam – unlike what the leftists think. Islamics are those Muslims who are devoted to the religion and wish to socialize Islam.

        The left has a limited intellectual capacity to discern its own authoritarianism. Your questions are symptomatic of that.

    • “Self-congratulatory” is an interesting aspersion to cast by one who changes avatars proudly and demonstrably shares other points of view for the “sake of free speech”.

    • This article and others like it are far to presumptive and ramble on and on with the aim of misleading the reader. The word “racism” is thrown about so haphazardly that it becomes synonymous with “je suis Charlie” and Charlie Hebdo. Perhaps that is only my perception. The author proclaims that he does not believe in reprinting images because he finds them “racist” and offensive. Forgive me for being equally offended but I find many passages in the pages of the Koran, the Holy Bible, the Torah and many others to be much more than that. This would not be problematic if not for the fact that these words have been used to draft plenty of legislation affecting how all of humanity lives their lives, (regardless of nationality, colour or creed). Where is the authors call to forgo the reprinting of the indisputable “hate speech” in these texts on behalf of the countless unbelievers. Exposing such contradictions and hypocrisies is a primary objective for Charlie Hebdo and others. For those who have reached the “age of reason” any attempt to limit or diminish our right to freedom of expression does a grave injustice to free thinkers everywhere.

    • @ tahirzada
      “… the pedophile and mass murderer prophet Mohammad”.
      The only people that make statements like that are American ‘born agains’, usually Creationists.
      So I’m not surprised your thinking is so up the wall.

      • Lol, I probably hate creationists more than you do Tigger. It is a historical fact that Mohammad was a mass murderer. I am not surprised that leftists deny that — simply because they lack understanding of Islamic history and it does not fit their ideology. As an ex-Muslim who hates Islam, I have all the right to expose the fascism of Mohammad and Islam, and no 2-bit leftist/Marxist can stop me from doing that by labelling me “creationist.

      • “I probably hate creationists more than you do Tigger” ….., I don’t hate anyone, Tahirzada. IMO hatred is an OTT response in an attempt to discredit people/ideas etc in your own mind, and I certainly don’t need to do that.
        “… an ex-Muslim who hates Islam,” ditto. You also say above that you’re a ‘proud ex-Muslim’. Strange, phraseology. It’s as if you’re trying too hard to justify a change of religion, or an absence of it (I notice you didn’t answer my earlier question about this).
        But to respond to your other statements:
        1. “I have all the right to expose the fascism of Mohammad and Islam” – that’s an opinion. Others, including those of us who have made a study of both (in relation to verifiable historical events rather than children’s stories) have reached different conclusions.
        2. “the pedophile and mass murderer prophet Mohammad” ….. That’s a dangerous statement to make, as by the only definition possible that also refers to more than 90 per cent of the crowned heads of Europe. Plus, by not defining ‘pedophile’ you run the risk of including quite a number of your friends and neighbours – or at least their antecedents. But, strictly speaking, pedophiles have a sexual preference for children and not for people their own age or older; Mo married to a woman older than himself, and until her death never took another wife.
        3. “for the intellectually challenged left, all Muslims have to be painted with the same brush and stereotyped as people with limited intelligence following a fascistic religion.” …. How about the MENSA members, especially those of us who are not politically-aligned? And what makes you think we see Muslims in that way? You see,you don’;t know us at all.

  2. “I am Charlie” because I offer my own courage to stand up to these extremists and say “If you target Charlie, then here I am, you’ll have to kill me too”. It isn’t as you say, easy. It isn’t about pretending to be the same as the dead. It isn’t arrogant, or trite, or any of the other reasons you assume here. It’s about sticking your head over the parapet and shouting at the man with the gun “over here” No “over here”, “no, over her” a billion times over. It IS about solidarity. I’m not saying you don’t have courage, what I’m saying is that you are mistaken is understanding why we are using this #jesuischarlie and your criticism of it needs a rethink.
    You say “The Muslim isn’t just a Muslim, but a symbol of Islam.” quite so, therefore when an extremist Muslim murders cartoonists who insult the doctrine, then the rest of the adherants to that doctrine should reasonably expect some reaction aimed towards that doctrine. Just as Christians should continue to expect to receive criticism for burning millions of innocent women as witches 300 yrs ago and and raping young boys until recently -or still. I defend your right to free speech to death and I expect you to accept this declaration with grace.

      • I think everyone can agree that using a hashtag is a fairly inconsequential display of solidarity, but I don’t think “I am Charlie” implies an endorsement of everything Charlie Hebdo ever published–any more than “I am Trayvon Martin” is an identification with each and every action of any young black male. Jo Blick above gives a better explanation of what it means.

    • Erm, one of the whole points of the article is that the prevailing wisdom of “The Muslim isn’t just a Muslim, but a symbol of Islam” is completely wrong for a number of reasons. And to propagate that belief is, in fact, not sticking up for free speech but letting your mind become so immune to anything against prevailing wisdom that free speech is a victim in itself.

      • I think you’re reading that incorrectly. If I’m not mistaken it’s the implication that this is the mindset that the modern world has mutated into. Not that it’s truly the case, but how our broken societies view it. A Muslim is unfairly seen as a symbol of Islam. That’s not to say they should be, but it’s sadly how the world is acting these days.

      • I think Muslim’s so rightly are symbol’s of Islam whether we like it or not. It can be in the physical sense, in terms of attire for example (esp women), Even Islam propagates the message that all Muslim’s are in fact it’s symbols.

    • Well said. Whilst this is a well written piece, and certainly interesting to read, I do feel it slightly misses the point.

    • And what about the children and women killed around the world, weapons of mass destruction that never were, we are allbeing made puppets, showing what we must see in order to support idea’s we dont even know exist yet. Your standing up for Carlie, who is standing up for a child who’s gone to school yet before he returns all his family are blown to bits by the west in the name of terrorism. What do you think that child will become? Would you blow up your whole street or block to kill 1 mouse or would humanity get the better of you? We as humans have compassion and feel for the murdered in france, but at the same token we are all individuals, just like the muslim police officer who got killed, just like the worker in the jewish shop that ended up saving the people in there.

      • Thank you billyhustle. Exactly. Nobody has repeated the claims of the killers that it was in revenge for drone killing of Awlaki and family. That’s OK, apparently, because bombings by the West are perfectly acceptable. No photographs of the dead or dying, the headless or limbless to upset us. Drone assassinations continue and so does the bombing of Muslims. Where is the balance?

      • “bombings by the West are perfectly acceptable” ? Do you really take the readers for such assholes ? Denouncing the bombings is the very daily occupation of the people who said “We are Charlie”. Do you know for instance that Cabu, one of the victims, became a deeply commited pacifist because in the time of the Algerian independance war he was, like all young french males submitted to conscription and witnessed what war actually looks like. Later he faced many times trial for antimilitarism. American can easyly remember how the Vietnam war and conscription was the seed for so many of you becoming pacifists. But it is sometime hard for people to recognise who their real friends are. Once somebody said : God please help me with my friends, my enemies I can deal with !

      • Good point, Jean-Claude, but if you really want to drive it home convincingly, a link to all of the cartoons wherein the war on terror is lampooned would be helpful.

      • O.K. but if one is sincere in his opinion and wants to check what I say, he can do the research himself. If he or she is not, why care and loose time ? Many have done that already. Besides, one can find those links just by reading all the comments from the beginning. I did not feel the need to repeat constantly the same thing again and again, it is exhausting ! My comments target those who said things that led me to believe that they could be open to dialogue. But I am not a professional debater !

      • I am being sincere because no one is circulating any CH anti-war cartoons and I have not been able to find them through any search engine. Like you, I have read the comments from the beginning, on this thread, and the only cartoons being linked are to pages that explain the context of the ones that were accused of being racist.

        I have also seen Cabu cartoons that have questioned the military, but I haven’t seen anything from this century, and I haven’t seen any that specifically target the so-called “global war on terror”.

        I can only come to the conclusion that they either do not exist — or, if they do, there are buried underneath all the anti-religious furor.

      • Thanks, Jean-Claude! It’s too bad they don’t just have all the covers archived and sequenced on their home page. That’s what my fave satirical Titanic does.

      • i think that they must have archives and that we will be able to see them sooner or later. Already on french links you can find many more links that in english but in most of the cases you have to be french to guess what they allude to. Even me, I can not always do that because I have been out of the country for years at a time. I add that this week Charlie’s people had, with the few of them that remained still alive, infinitely many more other things to do than check into dusty closets ! They knew that there was a menace. But it would have been utterly unthinkable to prepare for a post-mortem trial !

      • Thats the problem, there is no balance. Its like we hear in the west abit too many time…..when the rich suffer everyone hears about, but when the poor suffer there is nobody upset. Just like a rich spoilt child when the west cries everyone pays attention. When the rest of the world cries like the the poor homeless child who is in pain and withering for a glass of milk to fill his stomach so it doesnt hurt, everyone turns a blind eye. Just like many of us wouldnt provoke or wake up a sleeping lion for many reasons. That the same reason why no one should insult ANY race, religion, colour or sex. I dont see someone with a je suis charlie badge going around calling people pa*i, or ni***r, or yel**w as freedom of speech or expression. Express what you want, its everyones right, but at the same token dont say anything to hurt another belief, religion, race or colour.

      • “but at the same token dont say anything to hurt another belief, religion, race or colour”. That is the problem, because whatever care you take, you will necessarily hurt other religions, given the conflicting articles of anyone’s belief. It is an impossible task. If you don’t want to hurt anybody, then you need to stop speaking yourself out. That is what the islamist minority of terrorists (not the huge majority of muslims) wants you to do : shut up about their particular religion. They don’t care about other’s religions, they even are happy if you attack them, since they believe that their’s is the only true one. What is the great divide between they and us is that, very recently in human history, we have begun to allow place for doubt in our thinking and question the articles of our own faith. But this is the privilege of a wealthy class that enjoys the advantage of enough leisure to think a lot. I understand the fact that the huge mass of illiterate poor workers does not have the freedom nor the intellectual tools to squable about detailed clauses of theology. Does this mean that we should refrain from doing it inside our own country and Inside our small circle of laughing caricaturists (many have malignantly underlined that the circulation was very low), just because those thugs threaten us ? Besides, Charlie’s concern has been and still is to help things evolve by provoking doubt and this means shaking one’s conviction that there exists actually any unchallengeable truth.

      • I understand what your trying to say but, what you need to look at is how close some is to their religion, how much criticism they will take. Ive seen people to claim to be religious yet they are drinking or sleeping around but in the morning they are giving lectures to others about how to live their lives. You can draw a cartton about someones mother….some will get upset about it, others will ignore it and some will turn to violence. Its the nature of humans. Why draw a picture of someones mother to provoke them. Have you seen the protests around the world? Have you seen how many lives this so called freedom of speech cartoon has taken in addition to the poor souls mudered in france (may god rest their souls and give them peace). Its turning into a vicious circle that will have no winners and will draw death everywhere.

      • You are right, but once again you fall into the trap that the terrorists’s attack constructed for you : you believe that it all turns around the question of “offense” and “freespeech”, when these questions are only a blanket cover of their real aim : to divise the free world (and don’t tell me that it is not so free as that, I know it) and by divising it, weaken its response to their challenge. Yes, our governments are hypocritical, yes they are double faced, yes they are responsible of many more deathes than that have been due to terrorists attack in the west. This last restriction : “in the west” underlines the fact that the terrorists’s sponsors are killing not only in the west but mainly in the muslim world itself. The killings in the west are a mean to assert their domination in their own area : see you people, we courageously stand up against this giant who oppresses us. Except that the thousands of muslim they have executed cannot retort : you are the oppressors. All dead people are equal : there is a cartoon in the last issue of CH (but it was made long before, they just republished it) that shows two pair of military boots, one with a jewish star, the other with an arab crescant, lying down and opposing each other at the soles. The caption reads : “the dead already lost the war”. I understand your fear that our governments are using the menace to reinforce control over us, the people. I share this fear too. But in the west we are free to shout that fear loud, when in almost all of the muslim majority countries, even in self-styled “democracies” (like Turkey, for an exemple) opponants are shot down, innocent passer-by bombed, muslim intellectuals who are willing to reform their religion, to bring it to modern standards, are slaughtered. And those intellectuals all wear “I am Charlie” signs : they know what it means. They know that the cartoons do not picture their mother : they picture the beast that prétends to be their mother.

      • Regardles of who’s mother they portray, that fact that it is portrayed show total lack of respect for another. Cctv societ, one rule over all, human cattle. Lets not become the sheep and follow where the heard goes. Lets unite over these barbaric killings and by doing so lets not put all our efforts to waste by hiding behind a je suis charlie slogan. Reality is if that slogan was anythung else such we are human, we are brothers, we are united, we are all one, we fear no one. That would be different, that would something that empowers even the muslims to say hold on a sec, even everyone knows both CH and the other 4 idiots are wrong but everyones united for humanity. Thats the message we need to be sending. By using CH its made there wrong to right and allowed them to publish drawings which will no doubt become their best sale week on record, and completly taken the message away from having 3.5 million people gather and pay their respects along with world leaders (America not included) towards unity and disgust at the france killings by those pricks, to something that just highlighted …..charlie Hebdo. Over 3 million attend to support the cartoons, when infact it wasnt just about the cartoons was it? As youve said before its much much much more, in that case my good friend the use of CH is not of any use other than to jeer CH to make more and the muslim world retaliate and some silly kids who are brainwashed by some stupid fanatic only to kill some other innocent person for the sake of a religion he knows nothing about.

      • You mean that you could be supporting the right to free speech without endorsing CH ? Yes, you could, I have never said otherwise. Because the origin of CH ordeal is exactly that : they wanted to show solidarity with the danish paper that published the first caricatures that so much outraged the muslim world some years ago and whose political line was the opposite of their’s. This danish paper did not even comment on what happened last week. And they thought that it would only be fair to show the evidence in this trial, and published the caricatures without endorsing the political rightist message of them. Now the beast turned on them instead of the danish paper. There had been an attack two or three years ago that fortunately killed nobody. After the attack the reaction to it was a choice between two contingencies, both not satisfying : either comply with the terrorists threat and shut up, giving them an easy win and encouraging them in their way, or continue to publish and show the terrorists that their threats were not working. Charb proclaimed dramatically that he would rather die standing up than live on his knees. This stance is perceived as less quixotic in a country that remembers its ordeal during the occupation by the nazis than it would seem in a country like the US that had never been invaded. Finally the irony of it all is that they had to pay for the freedom of speech……of a rightist paper !

      • You know i read something really interesting today and it goes something like this (i do not own this and i have no idea of the source) German Muslim scholar replies on TERRORISM … I liked the answer of this German Muslim scholar when he was asked about terrorism and Islam : He said : Who started the first world war? not Muslims ? Who started the second world war ? not Muslims ? Who killed about 20 millions of Aborigines in Australia ? not Muslims ?? Who sent the nuclear bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ? not Muslims ?? killed more than 100 millions of Indians in North America ? not Muslims ?? Who killed more than 50 millions of Indians in south America ? not Muslims ?? Who took about 180 millions of African people as slaves and 88% of them died and were thrown in Atlantic ocean ? not Muslims ?? No , NOT Muslims!!! First of all, You have to define terrorism properly… If a non-Muslim does something bad..it is crime. But if a Muslim commits the same..he is a terrorist… So first remove this double standard…then come to the point.

        This i think really highlights the points that require to be highlighted.

      • Yes, he was absolutely right in what he said. We all know history. But what he responded to had no ties whatsoever with CH : he answered the growing german anti-islamic campaign of “Pegida” who claim that all muslims are responsible and that their country should get rid of them ! The very enemies of CH in Germany ! The real racists that were its targets ! In order to prove that Charlie was racist, its enemies jumped on some articles published in the french press, coming from former collaborators of the journal who claimed that they quit because CH was drifting to the right and some even added that the cartoons objectively contributed to the hainous climate. They may have a point here, but keep in mind that those guys were on the extreme left and that you should translate their words : saying that CH was racist was in effect contending that CH was not enough of an anti-racist in their mind. If you knew french you would perceive that the words they use to address their former friends at the journal were those you would use when someone you love has desappointed you, certainly not those you would use when addressing rabid racists !

      • You are right in this. But there is a difference : here in the open societies’s world we can (and do, many of us did it, among them Charlie) denounce these facts and ask our governments for responsibility : we elect them after all ! The Vietnam war was ended partly because of the outrage in american opinion (I have written : partly ) Do you really believe that the totalitarian regimes and fanatical terrorists care for public opinion ?

      • Jean-Claude, what do you believe is the difference between these regimes, terrorists and our so called open societies? Terrorists try to get “revenge” without the care of who witnesses them in the act, whilst the open societies do everything undercover and most time without any provication for them to attack someone. Look at Lybia, Ghadafi was embrased with hugs from virtually every western leader you can think of, do you really believe he turned overnight from a friend to enemy? He no longer was any use with too much knowledge and the west knew perfectly well that they can not go in there “openly” so it was done under the pretense of “the arab spring” to achieve their target. We need to go to the source and pay attention to what happened. Even America acknowledge they funded and weaponised the Taliban to help eradicate the Soviet Union, same with ISIS, in the end their own plans backfire and haunt them years later when everyones forgotten and then try to turn it away from themselves. We must all try to live in peace and harmony with each other, regardless of race, religion or views. We have 1 life and share 1 planet.

      • If you read all my other comments in this site (but this will take an awfull lot of time !) you will understand that I know that perfectly and the people of “I am Charlie” know that too. However I disagree with your analysis of what “open societies” means. You take it for standing for “Governments”, “Powers”. I take it for “the whole of society”, including, yes, these governments, but not reducing it to them only. In our societies free press can denounce these governments’s hidden agenda, like you are doing right know, based on information divulged by papers like Charlie. And that is the fundamental reason why Charlie was such an appropriate target for the terrorists. They could not have found a better one, so easy to defame in the mind of wellwishers and so much in need to be definitely gaged. The “conspiracy” theorists cry that we are manipulated. They are right, we are. The only thing that they don’t understand is that every side is manipulating, not only the bad one.

      • I agree with you….but let me ask you a question. you may remember not too long ago there was a terrorist attack in a Pakistani school. Scores of innocent children and teachers died at the hands of taliban terrorists. Were where the 3.5 million marchers then? Where were the world leaders? Where was Charlie? And we are not talking about 17 humans, we are talking about over 150 most of then school children. Where was our media then? Where was charlie? Where was je suis student? And this is only 1 incident in many many many more.

      • You are right. I already said that the stuff about the media fad and the fact that one event chases the former on the front page was good, if not genuine : I critisized the timing of the publication, I did not say it was all bullshit. But if you haven’t got more than 4 millions people marching out at that time it is not only because Pakistan is rather far from France. It is for the same reason that we did not march out for the 800 girls (but there was a hashtag rush, remember ? and today who cares ?) nor for the more than two thousand villagers executed in Nigeria at the very same moment when we were marching ! : we don’t have enough tears to mourn both at the same time. And if we were doing this for every like case, then we would be constantly on the march, never going to work or to rest. As ludicrous an idea as seing head of states going to countries where they would be sitting ducks ! I understand your comment to mean : we are hypocrites and insentient to the plight of other people. Yes, many of us are. Human, only too human. But what I protest most is the view that we, Charlie’s people are that, because the message of “I am Charlie” is the opposite : when we mourn Charlie, we mourn ALSO all the other victims, we are on their side, and when we spell the names of the 17 victims only, it is because it would be impossible to spell millions of names. Charlie is a shortcut.

    • It’s pretty easy to offer solidarity through the internet. It takes absolutely zero effort to post #jesuisCharlie. This is the cheapest kind of solidarity. It’s solidarity after the fact. What else have you done to show your solidarity other than use the hashtag?

  3. Pingback: Nous ne Sommes pas Charlies | The Skankworks

  4. also, surely if you are Muslim, disagreeing with the murders and claiming solidarity with others against the murderers, is not the same as apologising on behalf of the doctrine, I don’t understand why you think that people who use #jesuischarlie are expecting you to apologise. You didn’t do it. Accepting criticism for a doctrine that can be used by extremists is not the same thing at all.

      • If you look at the examples given, then you would see that an apology is exactly what many so called supporters are demanding of Muslims who have nothing to do with this.

      • What examples? I have not come across anyone calling for an apology from Muslims! Where are they? There is a lot of playing with words, this is misleading, causes speculation & is inflammatory!

    • I am muslim, i am not charlie, I am not his killer. if you insult me of course i will not like or support you in any way, but in same time i will not kill you any way. also. IF I think to kill this charie’s journalist maybe it is better for me to think to kill the israelian soldiers who kill my ppl in palestine.

      • You don’t stop killings by doing more killings : you stop them by NOT killing.

      • True, nonviolence may be the best tactic. But not all of humanity are saints, not everybody is like Gandhi nor are they MLK jr. But islam disallows pacifism just as much as it absolutely hates those who transgress.

      • Yes. It is always infinitely more difficult to stop wars than to begin them. But don’t say that we are “forced” to want to be Charlie. Nobody is forced except by his own conscience. The critic I made to Scott’s article is that when he admitted that anybody had a right to not join the rush, he forgot that the “I am NOT Charlie” movement is in itself an other rush. Why not just stating the right and stop at that without creating an other hashtag. This was not very constructive.

      • @Jean-Claude, who said: “The critic I made to Scott’s article is that when he admitted that anybody had a right to not join the rush, he forgot that the “I am NOT Charlie” movement is in itself an other rush. Why not just stating the right and stop at that without creating an other hashtag. This was not very constructive.”

        The author neither created the hashtag, nor identified with it. He just said that he was not Charlie and explained why. As a matter of fact, he was pretty specific about that point.

      • Not specific enough to my taste. The very reason I entered the debate is that I was checking why would anyone need to push the hashtag “I am not Charlie” so soon after the attack (35 hours !). I found this blog among others and I could not stop myself to be involved, because I spotted so many inaccuracies or misunderstandings in Scott’s text, but also in many of the comments, be they approving or be they critisizing. Now, I would like to give some respite to my mind because I am constantly thinking in english and almost addressed the cashier in a shop in english instead of french !

      • I completely agree that ‘being or not being Charlie’ both describes a type of movement. Each is a rush of its own and each have radicals of their own. However, if you are able to agree with me – that society at times has a major influence on one’s conscience and the personal decisions one may make – whether it be good or bad, then you must be able to agree that ‘force’ to want to be Charlie in this instance is the manifestation of the majority (and more powerful) opinion in each of our consciences, that almost ‘forces’ us to tag along ‘je suis charlie’.

        PS. This was not very constructive, because most of us didn’t play a role in constructing the narrative itself. We are either Charlie’s or the gunmen and this is a ridiculous construct in a world where everyone is made up of everything in between the opposite ends of any spectrum.


    • Wait a minute! What doctrine? I’m a Muslim and I dont subscribe to any doctrine that suggests mass murder as being a solution for anything. And I dont appreciate you ascribing such doctrines to me. This is exactly what the author is talking about perpetuating notion that you dont understand simply because everybody else is.

  5. This article is full of cognitive biases. We, today, never asked to” hold every Muslim responsible for what any Muslim does”

    “Changing avatars on social media is a pathetic distraction from changing realities in society”
    No it is a preliminary solidarity act, a act of national unity following something shocking.

    “I support free speech. I oppose all censors. I abhor the killings. I mourn the dead. I am not Charlie”
    Me, I am Charlie

  6. Thank you for writing this. It’s one of the few intelligent and “appropriate” pieces I have seen.

  7. Voltaire isn’t the author of that quote. It was Evelyn Beatrice Hall, a Voltaire biographer. All those “quoting” Voltaire in the wake of the Paris attack are getting it wrong… and not giving Hall her due.

  8. You could start your speech trying to explain why you find muslin temples everywere on the occident and dont find Catholic churches or busdist temples in muslin countries ?

    Who is accepting who?

    and talking about equality, why a Muslim woman doesnt have the same rights as a muslim man…

    I never see feminist standing by muslim whoman….

    You are trying to justify the unjustifiable… and changing the subject.

    • Just one important point: the categories “muslim” and “feminist” are neither opposed to each other, nor mutually exclusive. If you cared to look you would find countless muslim feminists, and muslim women who do not identify with the label feminist but who are perhaps politically closer to it than you seem to have assumed. Indeed you would find countless non-muslim feminists working with muslim women and others to achieve equality between all people (after all, it is not just muslim women who are oppressed).

    • “why you find muslin temples everywere on the occident and dont find Catholic churches or busdist temples in muslin countries ?”
      –> Indonesia has Catholic churches and Buddhist temples, if that’s what you’re after. Also, do you really want to forbid mosques where you live and mirror the religious oppression you abhor in e.g. Iran? Let’s not do that.

      I am a feminist and I do stand by Muslim women’s right to wear their veil if they wish. Or not to, if that’s what they wish. Depending on their community and where they live, I can imagine that either could be a huge act of courage for their own identity’s sake. I would stand by her.

    • Is that actually true? There’s churches etc. in Egypt, Palestine and Syria where there are Christian minorities. And I’m sure there are army chapels in all of the Muslim countries that western forces have invaded.

    • i am a muslim living in a muslim country and we do have other religions temples as we do have multiracial and multi-religion. If you go to a country which have ONE race, ONE language and ONE religion, why do they need to build others religion temple in their country.

      Different rights do not endorsed discriminate, but to balance. Simple, if you are a man, go to public place and ask your mom to tag along. Then stripped bare your top and ask her to do the SAME. Same acts and rights not always mean equality. Same being not always need the same thing.

      • Im sorry but these Eastern Christians are contantly living in fear in their own country long before the jihahist invasion from the seven century and onward this year marks the 100th year of the Armenian Holocaust in Asia Minor, today Turkey. Btw: holloywood has never. never Come up with a movie with this armenian holocaust event. So much censorship there i think. Turkey is called the most moderate of the Muslim countries. The leaders their are turning it into maybe an ultra Islamic state. Christians have littke rights there. And the the old Eastern Orthodox Christian headquarters in Istanbul(Constantinople) are very often repressed beyond believe along with other Christians there. Imagion in other Muslim countries. We’re open game for them. Im afraid we’ll never have peace on earth. We can apeis terror for so long until we cant fight. Look at 1,123 years of Byzantium . America is a few houndred years young. This is wearing us out.

      • In Turkey. Your joking! The new regine there would lovw turn them into Mosques. Look what they want to do with Hiagia Sophia (called holy wisdom) Justinian’s 6th century christian catheral turn it back to a mosque. These 12century invaders showing respect to non musliums im afraid not

    • In Islam, women are actually held at a higher respect than men. It is only because of the country’s culture of “denying women their rights” (which happened before the advent of Islam) is why women are “oppressed” today in muslim countries.

    • Mandinga, agreed to a certain point, if you look carefully there are churches in muslim countries, just like in Iraq with the oldest Christian settlement known. The issue is some people (like in every religion) go to the extremes and misinterpret information to use towards their liking. On another note, if you do your reasearch i think you will find muslim women have infact more rights than you can imagine. They dont need to take off their shirts and flash just to get a point across, they have rights …before, during and in very small unfortunate cases after marriage.

    • Mandinga – there’s none so blind as those who will not see.
      I’m not sure about Saudi Arabia, just guessing there are none there, but in every other ‘muslim’ country there are at least Christian churches and usually Catholic ones too. (Buddhist temples tend to be confined to the Asian muslim countries.)
      I can, however, confirm there’s a Catholic Cathedral in Lahore – I’ve been there.

      • There is a catholic cathedral in Lahore, but the pakistani christian community is subjected to bombings and massacres like the christians in Egypt or Irak. And some are under trial for contempt of Islam. Besides, all of the countries were muslims are the majority do not apply the shariah, many are laic to the core. But the point is not that muslims state apply or not the shariah, It is that those doing it, even when they agree to having churches, apply the most archaic interpretation of the Quran. And in the other laic countries, there is a minority that wants this law to become the law of their country. As for Arabia, you certainly know that the begining of Al Qaida’s outrage with the West came from the “outrage” of allowing the american army to open churches discreetly Inside their closed quarters, but on the sacred and unspoiled land of the prophet !

  9. Thank you so much for writing this. I cannot adequately express my relief on finding the unease I’ve felt over the response to the Charlie Hebdo killings so brilliantly articulated. I am not Charlie either.

  10. I’d humbly suggest that #IAmCharlie is not unthinking… It means, possibly to many, ‘I support (and grieve) Charlie Hebdo and all who similarly undertake to unpick difficult issues without fear or favour’ – but that would be far too lengthy. There are very serious, and brave, people out there, looking somehow to show their distress and deep concern. But interesting essay, thanks.

  11. I wouldn’t have drawn what CH drew itself and I don’t engage in blasphemy despite being an atheist out of respect for believers, but I don’t think those drawings were racist. There’s a difference imho between attacking Muslims as people, and Islam as an ideology, and clearly, from what I’ve read of the authors themselves, the purpose there was the latter – though carried out in an admittedly crude way, but that’s a matter of artistic merit and success into conveying the original message. Yesterday I read on a forum reactions to this event, and one “moderate” muslim user said it was barbaric and hateful – because blasphemy can be punished by death only after a just trial carried out with four testes! The idea that blasphemy SHOULDN’T deserve death wasn’t even on the table. And for me, if an ideology or a religion teach something that toxic, it doesn’t deserve my respect – its adherents yes, as people and individuals who may be perfectly decent and would never actually put those things that were taught to them into act, but the idea itself is poison.
    Of course, there’s a lot of hypocrisy floating around, with people using the #JeSuisCharlie tag to just promote ideas that are as bigoted, dangerous and poisonous as those held by the terrorists. And I’m all for promoting social justice towards the disadvantaged – if anything, providing better life conditions and better culture and education may help eradicating this kind of superstitious behaviour. I’m not even saying religion is necessarily the problem, because clearly what’s going on here is also such a LITERAL interpretation of religious texts that it would only take a bit more of sophistication to get rid of it. Islam could be and probably has been better than this. But that doesn’t mean that the battle for a just, egualitarian society doesn’t pass also through the idea that personal religious conviction shouldn’t be a sufficient reason to impose behaviours on other people.

      • So, you see these cartoons as racist and homophobic ? At first sight they appear to be right that, especially when you do not know the french context. But behind an ugly face often lies a magnificent soul and to discover it you have to go further in your reading. If you are a sloth, you will never do it !

      • Who would actually take that material serious it’s ridiculous, and who is reading or buying it! like pornograhy or other I imagine it’s not everyone, why if you don’t like it would you look at it! Also as all sections of society are satirized so why is it religious Muslims are the ones taking such revenge! It’s a power struggle – with the radicals saying do this or don’t do that or you will pay for it, that is wrong too – God is able to fight his own battles! Is he not?

      • They look pretty fucking racist to me.

        The Je suis Charlie brigade are starting to make me #jesuisfatigue

      • No, it’s not racist, it’s actually quite the opposide. GPA is the french acronym for Gestation pour Autrui, that is, surrogate parenthood. French law forbids surrogacy, so some French people now use foreign mothers. Critics call it international “rent a womb” – a poor woman in a foreign country receives a small amount for carrying a wealthy westerner’s baby. Unless, of course, the baby has a defect, or Down’s syndrome or even just turns out to be too much of the wrong color. Then the wealthy westerner can just walk away, leaving the baby with the mother.

        So, what the cartoon is saying is that this practice is a form of slavery.

      • “The cartoons were also often virulently homophobic.”

        Entirely unlike the fundamentalist Islam they criticise then?

      • Fine point. I must add that some cartoons seem to be anti-islamic or homophobes or what else but that it is judging a book by its cover. They always put a caricature of their target expressing their hateful views (generally a few days before the cartoon was published) before comment it in the Inside of the magasine. To believe that the cartoon reflects their own editorial line is ludicrous, at least.

      • No, not racist. It is actually taking the piss of “assisted procreation” (GPA) meaning whereby sterile french couples would be able to pay a woman to bear and give birth to a baby for them…and it warns against the exploitation, in particular, of the bodies of women from poorer countries (i.e. likely to be black / arab or whatever you might see here as the “dog” is in this picture) for money – hence the idea of enslavement of these poor women who would sell their bodies for the well-being of rich sterile French couple !!! Are you blind ? can you see / understand it now ? It is actually CONDEMNING such practices as humiliating for these poor women !!! So don’t interpret if you don’t have all the (language) keys in hand ! Or ask a French friend !!! dont’ stick to appearances !!

      • If you think that cartoon is racist it’s because you haven’t read the copy or simply don’t understand satire. This whole thing started because a few idiots couldn’t get their heads around satire, it’s sad to see you so epically fail in turn.

      • I add that the cartoons anyway were only a pretext. This motive is as valid as the rapist’s argument that the girl “had it coming”.

    • If it’s not racist why do all the Muslims depicted (as far as I can tell) appear to be Arabs – which most Muslims in the world are not? What about the caricatures of Jews?

      • Caricatures tend to be stereotypes. Otherwise they would just be people. Here’s a list of some Jewish depictions. Since there has been Jews, there has been Jewish depictions. see for yourself. Stereotypes! But to see a Black or Asian Jew defies the stereotype. http://bit.ly/14XZPvH

      • This is tiresome. There are caricatures of Zionist Jews in Charlie Hebdo. All you show is your ignorance.

    • To quibble back: French-speakers rarely actually speak like this. It’s a bit like (but not actually like) telling a Brit that ‘don’t’ is incorrect because it should really be ‘do not’.

    • I thought that the omission of the preceding “ne” was standard, at least in spoken French, and interpreted the author’s remark to impersonate the same.

  12. Pingback: Why I am not Charlie | Nieuwsblog Buro Jansen & Jansen

  13. You make some interesting points. However, if the problem is simply the collective tag of Je Suis Charlie, then where is the alternative tag of #supportfreespeech – that all of us can get behind? We need to be together against extremists so we surely need a collective message that we agree on. As Maajid Nawas says – who used to be an extremist and is now heads an organisation fighting against it – Muslims need to be visibly pro-free speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWbpS5P6Oe0 . I hope to see marches and demos across many countries that convey this message, organised by Muslims, and this will certainly help to fight back against the right-wing hatred.

    • I like #supportfreespeech but you miss the boat when you say, “Muslims need to be visibly pro-free speech.” The point of free speech is that people have the right to decide what they support and what they say.

      • As individuals certainly. But the problem has been in the past (not today) there was almost no visible sign of support from that community, as if they felt unconcerned in a moment when themselves were also targeted. It has taken a very long time before they understood that the aim of terrorists is disunite and weaken the country they were part of. Sometime understanding and decision needs a little nudging.

      • Hey Jean-Claude. Good evening. Still at it, eh? Don’t work too much overtime, it can get emotionally exhausting (just kidding, sort of;-)

        I really wanted to reply to your last comment because it – and this reply – are quite pertinent to the discussion as it relates to this article and some others who have shown appreciation for it:

        Never never never forget that it is also the goal of the so-called counter-terrorists (you know, the trillion dollar armaments industry and the leaders who feed them) to divide the people. So in that sense, the terrorists and counter-terrorists have a great great deal in common. This is a huge problem. It is also something you should consider when you read the original article; even if you do not agree with it overall, you might be able to see where he is coming from.

        The big conundrum, as I see it, is that the metaphor for “free speech” in this case has been “je suis Charlie”, but that there are those who have chosen not to identify with it because they do not regard the modus operandi of the paper as sound (leaving aside contextual misunderstandings for the moment). The most critically thinking of those who are critical of Charlie Hebdo’s methods have taken pains to use nuance to explain their reasons. You have been one of the few understanding commenters who defend CH. But a lot of other defenders simply say, “You’re missing the point” and “why use so much pretentious speech to say blah blah blah…”

        But a finer reading of the divergence of opinion on this issue shows that it is not as simple as everyone would like to make it out. If I could get back to my original point: my distaste is for the instrumentalization of the rally of support by the very leaders who are violators of human rights and the free press. This includes every single representative from every single government out there. I could not in good conscience lend my name or anyone else’s to these photo op charlatans.

      • We, the real defensors of Charlie were all appalled at the highjacking by these bastards, but it was a necessary evil. And we are already laughing at the new caricatures !

      • Sure as someone says an evil is necessary, it is most certainly not. Those very leaders should have been ridiculed on site and to their faces, not just after the fact. The criticism thereof is but circulated amongst the choir, the echo chamber. The impression left on the larger public, on the other hand, is that they are great people of democracy and most of the good-hearted gathered at the rally in Paris would have been more in solidarity with free speech had they trampled over them.

      • Don’t worry about “the impression left on the larger public”. It may seem a bit of traditional french arrogance but except a very few hillbilly morons I am confident that even at the level of the “café du commerce” (amateur political debate in coffee bar without real purpose) people are smart enough to get the picture.

      • Like being racist? I have the right to say what I like, black people are thieves, jews are zionists, muslims are child molesting terrorists. Right?

      • No they have not that right. For your information there are laws in France that help indict hate mongerers. Once the muslim autorities put Charlie to trial on this ground : they lost the case, and fairly enough, today they are marching with the people that say : we are Charlie ! But you miss the point when you say that Charlie is racist. We have in Europe a lot of really racists rags. They are confident that they will never be the target of those hoodlums. Because they are not fighting for freedom. The murderer’s aim is to create a gap Inside our society. “Offense” is only a well designed screen of smoke. You think exactly like they expect you to think. You are unvoluntarily playing into their game. The aim of “I am Charlie” is to show to the world that they failed : Charlie is still alive. And I respect your right not to agree to this. But if you make the choice of telling this loud with another motto : I am NOT Charlie, then you have the consequence that the message could not be read other than : Charlie is dead ! who cares ?

      • I do not and never will agree with these murders in France. We are not Charlie, but humans, it should read je suis humain. If a pedophile get gunned down on live tv by a distraught father whos daughter was raped, would we all be going around saying je suis pedophile? The idea of charlie is its ok to provoke others and mock others, im not talking about muslims only but christians and jews alike. I am not Charlie, i am not Ahmed, i am a human and I do not condone any of these acts of violence, murder and blasphemy.

      • Incredibly bad faith ! You equate Charlie’s cartoons to a pedophile ? How could you do that ? Maybe you give credit to those murderers claim without any evidence, just relying on hearsay ? Maybe you have seen a selection of the most “offensive” of them carefully chosen by its enemies in order to strike you as “offensive”, without any knowledge of the context ? If you read the whole of this article’s comments you will be able to find a lot of answers and links that demonstrate the contrary. But you should also have the common sense of asking yourself why so many people were demonstrating in Paris and all of Europe last sunday ? Maybe in your mind we french people are a bunch of offensive pedophiles ?

      • Unbelievable, jean-claude i am not equating charlie to a pedophile yet your missing the point. French, Germans, all of Europe, middle east, Asia, America are all my brothers in humanity. There is NO justification for those murders. Where was America in the demonstration? Do you ever think that America is actually distancing itself?

      • I am not missing the point. I know that you are making a metaphor. But I have no need to be remembered that the attackers used the pretext of the “offense” to kill everyone on their way, included some muslims. And I think that your using the analogy is damaging to the cause of the defense of the victims. It is actually swallowing their excuse when you should know that it is only a screen to cover the real agenda and it is also unconscious racism because it implies that the crimes are the result of offensing the muslims as if these people were congenitaly unable to cope with raillery other than with violent reactions : the muslim culture is full of banter and caricature, should you know !

      • Ok, so why did these terrorists attack and kill innocent people in France? What was the reason behind it? And there is nothing damaging about having a civilised conversation about a tragic event. If anyone wants to use an agenda to commit a crime, believe there are plenty out their for every individual from every natio., backround, culture and religion.

      • So I am beginning to understand the misunderstanding. You believe that we speak about free speech effects, I thought I was discussing an answer to the terrorism, whose aim (the real agenda) was to create a gap between the muslims and the rest of the western society, and so weaken our commitment to our values by dividing us. The point of the “Charlie Hebdo” tag was that the pen is our only weapon and in sunday’s march many brandished a pen. One of the point made by the author of this article was that the pushing of a button was too much of a comfortable way to show solidarity without much effort and commitment. Again, he was right. But other than pushing a button and jam the entire country for a whole day with our march, he did not suggest any effective means to combat terrorism. That may have not been the purpose of the article. My only way to express solidarity is the pen. And I feel outraged when someone, just after having said that the rush to a slogan is an inconsequent thing in the mind of those who follow it, leads the way to an opposite hashtag rush : I am not Charlie means Charlie is dead, so what ? All the efforts to persuade people that it is possible to show solidarity without “being” Charlie are useless because only a moron would take these world litterally. So what the hell is the need to express that view right now ?

      • I believe its known as devide and rule. Muslims have been divided into so many sects that nobody know who is who anymore, the funny thing is evey sect has people being pinched, brainwashed and radicalised. You know in Islam it is strictly forbidden to kill innocent people full stop. Any crime commited has its own course to run under the law which is in place to keep things in order. Look regardles of what charlie hebdo did or didnt do, they did not deserve to be killed. Neither does any other human being end of. But in todays world if anything is said directly it is always take out of context, its meaning placed in a blender and minced up beyond recognition. For instance if i am to say people are free to say what they like but should be careful as to whom they way what to, then am i wrong? No im not. If i go to a random black person and start calling him a “ni***r” or someone a p*ki os that freedom of speech or something else?

      • Sorry, I forgot to answer your last question. Not, I do not believe that America is distancing herself. Clearly not since I began to write in this blog. But what I believe is that like Oscar Wilde once said about GB and the US : “we are two countries divided by the same language”, in our case it is the same humanist culture. They are a lot of misrepresentations in both sides of the ocean, and they induce a lot of misunderstandings. The most damaging one in our case is the idea in american’s puritan’s and religious commited minds that Charlie’s Hebdo cartoons are filthy, when french “grivois” are used to see them as funny and just a little trop “osé”. I don’t wish to enter into the psychoanalytical background of the story, it would need books and not only some hastily written lines, but from the part of the american public and specially from that part that fights against male sexism, it is undeniable that they could not possibly refrain from resenting this cartoons as a piece of male sexism. They maybe right in this kind of criticism, but all what I want to tell you is that it is really inconsiderate to throw shit at the face of people who are still mourning, even if this shit is their own !

      • @billyhustle “Ok, so why did these terrorists attack and kill innocent people in France? What was the reason behind it?”

        If you have the full answer to this question you should share it to humanity.

        A short answer will be that because they are extremists who believe their faith is better than other or greater than the liberty of speech. That their faith is worse killing others.

      • I’m not sure what your position is. In one comment you’re glorifying the newspapers as being leaders of an ‘open society’ that you hold in such high-eestem. In another comment, you refer to a ‘media fad’ of hypocrisy and insincerity. Are they glorious leaders or hypocrites? Where do you actually stand?

        Why do muslims need to be ‘pro free-speech? So, they need to be pro free-speech but be anti free to choose their own opinion in regards to everything including freedom of speech? (So yes to freedom of speech, but no to freedom of choice?) That’s insane! There are over a billion Muslims in the world (and don’t quote me on this but I think, they come in all shapes and sizes. And this may be farfetched but I think there may be as many view points, as there are Muslims. I know imagine that!) and you want to subject all of them to a view point that YOU believe is morally superior. Do you see anything wrong with that?
        There are going to be Muslims that are pro freedom of speech and they are going to be Muslims that are anti freedom of speech. Each to his own, as long as people (you included) don’t try and force others to adopt their opinion, especially when using violence as a means to an end, this can not be tolerated.
        Futhermore, you want to see marches in the Muslim world for CH? Don’t you think the so-called Muslim world needs to sort out its own house before it takes on someone elses.

  14. An illuminating, thoughtful and well-argued piece. I agree with so much of what you have written: the blanket demonisation of people who are different;. the armchair pseudo-activism that is mass protest in the age of social media: the critique of satire as an instrument of superiority and in some instances, merely an offensive stab at minorities of one ilk or another. And yet… aren’t you also saying: ‘As a superior being, I condemn you all as a hashtag herd, incapable of complex, nuanced analysis; culturally conditioned to respond to a trope to exorcise your initial shock, anger, fear and impotence by taking the easy, effortless route to express solidarity with the victims and, by extension, with liberal values such as freedom of expression and this merely turns you into an unthinking mass.’ My disagreement is only with this conclusion, as it’s my opinion that the adherence of empathetic individuals to a hashtag expression of solidarity shows they have begun to think and this can lead to actions that effect positive change.

    • I also think it is brilliantly put, including your reply. I like especial how it shows how thin the line can be of ‘joining the good guys’ can become very soon become ‘being the bad guys’, if we stop thinking about what we actually do and who we exclude and include when joining a mass group…

    • ” the blanket demonisation of people who are different”
      Well, that exactly what CH was agains. Equality of people and liberty of everybody to have is own opinion, believe, faith.

      ” the critique of satire as an instrument of superiority and in some instances, merely an offensive stab at minorities of one ilk or another.”
      CH was classified by some as anarchist journal. It mostly fight authorities and mass thinking, it defended liberty of minorities over the governmental democratic mass dictature of thinking. It never fight people faith but the religious authority/guideline of thinking.
      And effectively extremist islamic are a very small minority, so they are exempt of satire because of that ?

      From what you wrote I think if you read CH, you really would like it.

  15. I feel this is missing the point. People aren’t claiming to have shared the deaths (not quite sure how you got that?) by stating “jesuischarlie”. As the murderers left they claimed that they had avenged Mohammad by killing Charlie Hebdo, and people want to show solidarity with those whose lives were taken in an attempt to suppress free speech. As for asking people to republish the cartoons, why do you think that the publishers would have to agree wholeheartedly with the views those cartoons express? It is simply a statement that the murderers have not achieved what they wanted to, and that we will have freedom of expression. This just seems to be a long rant with a provocative title.

    • I completely agree with this. Just because I share Charlie Hebdo cartoons does not mean I believe in their message, but rather I believe they have a right to be shared.

    • By the way Charlie Hebdo which used to print at 60,000 copies max (and not sell so well) today has sold over a million and translated into 16 languages wordwide, and is being re-printed 2 million more as I write…which shows point blank that the terrorists have totally missed their point…that you don’t silence someone by killing them (if ever it was to be proven again). So, whatever “goal of honor” they may have set themselves in avenging some prophet’s name (and whoever agrees with the so-called “sin of blasphemy” will be forced to see that however self-righteous one may be, one does not impose one’s views through violence – what about trying to convince / explain / persuade or just ignore instead ? IGNORE what offends you, simple, best attitude to have, for your own health and for the world’s sake. Don’t try and redress all of the world’s wrongs according to…according to who ? Garp ? your own inflated ego ??? Who has the right to interpret God’s words ? God ? Which God ?? Please introduce me…), their so-called “heroic martyr” will remain in history as having been a total flop. I would almost feel sorry for them pitiful loosers, if it was not for the death of those four wonderful free-spirits and the other “collateral” deaths….with all due respect for all the dead.

  16. Interesting to a point, and the same point made by many commentators. I switched off when the writer accused Richard Dawkins as being ‘Head Islamophobe’ for stating a fact that I presume is verifiable (actually for the sake of this argument irrelevant because the veracity was not questioned by the writer.) I don’t particularly like Dawkins, but to dismiss this particular statement as Islamophobic is wrong in my opinion. Is it wrong to recognise this fact? Is it wrong to wonder why it is the case? (The point he made was that the Islamic world doesn’t contribute much to science if measured in terms of Nobel prizes.) For me, this encapsulates the idea that it is wrong to criticise the ideals and doctrines of a particular religion and the subsequent effect of those ideals and doctrines on its followers, or if you do criticise, you are labelled as being ‘phobic’ of that particular group.

    • When viewed in the context of everything else Dawkins has said about Islam, then yes, his comment was suggesting a link between science and belief (or lack thereof). In particular, he maintains that Muslims (and people who have other religious beliefs) only do so due to a lack of critical faculties.

    • Well said.

      When Dawkins criticized Christianity and its clerics, he was feted by progressives. Once he started criticizing Islam, the same people that supported him immediately turned on him and labelled him an ‘Islamophobe’. Same thing with Bill Maher.

      Now before somebody tries to equate Christianity with whiteness, keep in mind that a majority of Christianity’s adherents around the globe are non-white… from Central and South America, to Africa and Asia.

  17. So not a “but” but an after the fact “though”

    Yes I see that.

    So when the supporters of my club ask the rhetorical question (copied by many other clubs since) “We’re all Wednesday Aren’t We” usefully shortened to WAWAW! on numerous fan forums and social media pages – we shouldn’t do that? Because even if a replica shirt is pulled on – we cannot experience the lives first hand of occupiers of the copied shirts on the pitch?

    This article, while well written, is reasonably typical of the pseudo intellectual drivel written from half an idea that abhors a coming together of common people (after all this is a cultural issue how can that be allowed in the non academic public domain) in support and fellow feeling both for individuals we never knew personally or the cause which their lives projected to the World – whether their individual feelings or agendas were what we think they were or not, our perception is what matters.

    The fact that we have a mass mutual perception of what is at stake and a heart wrenching fellow feeling for their unarmed, unprotected loss is ALL that matters – it is these mass movements of anger and shame; that in our name good men are standing by allowing evil to happen, that the World changes.

    or if you like

  18. Best piece on the CH massacre that I’ve read, but one thing. Voltaire never actually said those famous words (“I will defend to the death etc.”). They were written by Evelyn Beatrice-Hall in her biographical work ‘The Friends of Voltaire’.

  19. “There’s a perfectly good reason not to republish the cartoons that has nothing to do with cowardice or caution. I refuse to post them because I think they’re racist and offensive.” – I’m sorry but this is just wrong. The cartoons depicted all religious leaders and politicians in equal measure. The cartoons didn’t attack muslims any more than they did catholics, socialists or neo-conservatives. In fact, they didn’t attack any of those people at all; they attacked their beliefs or ideologies. Also “scatologically smearing a marginal minority’s identity and beliefs” – I’m not sure criticizing, satirizing or even ridiculing a belief is a bad thing, as long as you’re careful not to attack the people who hold it, just the belief. ‘Smearing’ is often misused, as in this article, as an emotive replacement for ‘criticizing, satirizing or even ridiculing’. It’s important we can freely criticize beliefs because that’s how we make progressions as society, take gay marriage for example. Of course you shouldn’t single out certain beliefs or ideologies without proportionally addressing other ones in a balanced way, especially when it comes to marginalized minorities. But that is not what the cartoons did and objectively I don’t think that can really be debated if you look through those they’ve printed over the years. Cue Stewart Lee and others to back me up… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9EUe8jNr6o

    • I support the right of pornographers to publish pornography but no way am I going to help them distribute it, not for any reason. Pornography is a male-dominated medium selling warped images of women. It helps make my world ugly. Je ne suis pas Charlie, et je ne suis pas Larry Flynt either.

    • So, essentially, what you are saying is – if you call black people n*ggers you’re racist, but if you also call Jews k*kes, and then follow it up by saying you’re not attacking them as individuals, just the fact that they don’t like to wash, suddenly you’re not racist at all.
      Get real!

      • Get real yourself ! All what you have to say shows that your appreciation,of facts is biased and prejudiced. You have been in India, in Lahore ? All very well, but like so many tourists all over the world you have only marvelled at the beautiful landscape and the entincing smiles of the people. Like when you stop your reading at the front page of a paper because you are horrified by its apparent racism, you stop thinking in a foreign country that pleases you with its smiles. You don’t want to go any further than the first page, and uncover the misery behind the screen, the exploitation, the hatred, unless naturally if you could show that this misery, this exploitation, this hatred is only due to the Western aggressiveness.

      • Ooooh, Jean-Claude, I didn’t see this (too busy doing too much else). I am NOT a tourist who swans around staying in 4-5 star hotels. I travel in-depth, living at a basal level. I’ve been invited into rickshaw drivers’ homes, taken local buses, eaten street food … I LIVE, long term, in the many countries I’ve been to – with local people, not like the UN employees who barely touch the surface. I wear local dress, study the local news, too. And I can say, categorically that I have seen “the misery behind the screen” AND, the exploitation – which, believe me (though I know you don’t want to) is indeed largely due to western interference /aggression.

  20. “I support free expression but before these guys are buried or their murderers caught lemme tell you that I don’t support their content””

  21. An excellent piece. However I think the #jesuischarlie hashtag is constuitive of (and is constituted by) a shift in social reality. While the sharing of the banner is not necessarily effective as an individual act, it is representative of a broader change. Where I agree is that the issue is that individuals who question the content of a certain broader political position are ostracised so that dissenting voices are silenced. It is not really about free speech but about homogenising cultures and unifying ideas.

  22. This is just another liberal do gooder telling us what to do, trying to justify a murder in the name of what… of his idolatrous liberal cult!!! Literaly if you like Islamism so much why you don’t move to the east and see how nice it is there?

    And stop playing the race card every second…. racist this racist that, racism here racism there. People like you are a big disgrace.

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  24. Isn’t it possible that when Charlie Hebdo mocks “religious ignorance, or tribal terrorist fanaticism, or obscene oil wealth”, it is doing just that, and not using it as some monolithic motif for the Islamic faith as a whole? Why must we interpret poking fun at these things as an affront to Islam? In fact, hasn’t the response from mainstream Muslims shown that they want as little to do with them as anybody else?

    Personally, I think it’s important to have publications that are interested in poking taboo subjects with a stick – if we didn’t have them public discourse would become stultified and derivative. The point you make about the power politics of satire is interesting, but as you point out yourself in the opening paragraph, when we’re talking about ideas, we’re dealing with a separate ‘plane’ to worldly power politics. A Miltonian marketplace of ideas only advances through probing and critique, and satire is one of the best probes we have.

  25. Pingback: Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie | The Daily Dispatch

  26. What is this article? You don’t have to post I am Charlie but the solidarity against censorship & religious bullying and violence is imperative. To be honest I stopped reading after this ridiculous comment…”I refuse to post them because I think they’re racist and offensive.” No need to read beyond this, hopefully you can guess why.

    • No, I can’t, but I can guess why your mind is shut so tight: you won’t let anything slightly threatening in. Yet you expect the targets of bloody-minded satire to just shut up and take it?

      • “The targets of bloody minded satire” were religion and absurdity, not the people. By assuming that it was the “people” who wanted to kill the satirists, you demonstrate your own inconscious racism : those poor exploited little children, so unable to cope with satire, how much and how long they suffered before being released of this evil ! You think that trained (do you believe that one can procure kalashnikof and amunition in France so easily as in the U.S. ? ) and financed by Al Qaida they are really representative of the french ordinary muslim citizen ? I have arab friends, I have muslim friends and I remind you that muslim citizens were along the victims. It exasperates me to see you prig wellwisher americans be so naive about the nature of the real world !

      • Yeah, well, as a lesbian I’ve heard enough “love the sinner, hate the sin” rhetoric from Christian fanatics to be skeptical about the ability of most humans to distinguish one from the other. Plenty of the “Je suis Charlie” rhetoric here in the US is blatantly anti-Muslim and anti-Arab. We did not see similar paroxysms of grief in 2011 when a white Islamophobe killed 69 people in Norway, most of them teenagers. All your talk (which strikes me as pretty naïve — “some of my best friends are . . .” etc., etc.) doesn’t address my original point, which was, more or less, “If you’re too close-minded or lazy to read the article, why are you arrogant enough to think your comment is worth reading?”

      • “bloody-minded satire ”

        Some blood in this situation is real. Some is metaphorical. You are confusing the two.

      • No, I’m not. I’m pretty careful with my word choices, and I’m familiar with both AmE and BrE. Why do you assume that you know what’s in my head better than I do?

      • Daniel is not assuming anything. He is only telling us what his reading of your words means to him. This is a perfect illustration of all what the article is about : every one of us is different and resents things differently. One of the commentators said that he wanted to make his opinion all by himself, from scratch. I commented that this would be an extraordinary feat, since it is only the newborn that could do it : all our experience in life comes from reacting to facts with our prejudices and reacting to prejudices of others, albeit we call these prejudices “opinions”. We actually need to know the opinions of others to build our own.

  27. The Newspapers that did not use the cartoons as part of their reporting of the story of the massacre do have something to answer for. If the Gunmen had gone into any other publication and murdered people over a series of cartoons on any other subject then I believe the newspapers would have printed a sample of the actual work that was deemed so offensive that people killed over it.
    Lampooning a religion or simply refusing to honour its edicts is not Racist- Religion is an ideology the same as politics.
    Showing solidarity with free speech by standing with the victims of this attack is not faddish- but it must be great to see an opportunity to rise above the common herd in even the hardest of times, congratulation on finding your own personnel silver lining.

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    • It’s racist to publish cartoons that are childishly insulting towards the founder of a religion of an oppressed minority group in one’s society. Sometimes quibblers will insist this isn’t “racism” and maybe you’re one of those, because it doesn’t involve a biological category. But racism isn’t about biology–it’s about singling out a group (which can be defined in some arbitrary biological way or some other way, such as shared religion) and abusing them. Call it bigotry if you prefer–it’s not as if racists are a group of people who strictly adhere to the canons of scientific rationality, so I don’t worry about whether someone is a racist or a bigot. It’s the same sort of thing.

      Abusing a poor minority group in one’s society isn’t admirable. If people want to insult terrorists–great. But they can do this without trampling on the beliefs of people who aren’t terrorists.

      • What about Christianity then? The same magazine has lampooned Christianity and its leaders as well. Before one implies that Christianity is the white man religion, or something like that, keep in mind that a sizable number of Christianity’s followers are non-white… from South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. And millions of them are oppressed minorities. Yet we are told that their lampooning of Christianity is racist.

        We also don’t see the same treatment from so-called progressives. Bill Maher & Dawkins were celebrated when they critiqued Christianity, but the moment they touched Islam, they were treated as pariahs.

      • “it’s not as if racists are a group of people who strictly adhere to the canons of scientific rationality, so I don’t worry about whether someone is a racist or a bigot.” Strange defense for sloppy language. It is important to be precise.

      • ” But racism isn’t about biology–it’s about singling out a group (which can be defined in some arbitrary biological way or some other way, such as shared religion) and abusing them. ”

        No it isn’t racism is the hatred of another race, or the belief that one race is superior over the other. It has nothing to do with singling out a group defined in one arbitrary way. If that were true sexism would be racism and it is not. The author makes a good point, but racism is not the right word in this context. The proper word would by prejudice.

      • What the fuck are you talking about? There are 1.8 billion muslims on this planet (as compared to 2.2 billion christians) – barely a minority or, at least,only just. And, by the way, racism is about biology and remains distinct from religious discrimination; which is about ridiculing a belief in the absurd. Don’t conflate the two. The problem with persons of religious conviction is the astounding ease with which they are offended by anything that does not conform to their rather narrow and warped view of the world. I find most religions disgusting and I will do my utmost to continue to oppose them. And, furthermore, I reserve the right to do so with impunity.

      • “it’s about singling out a group..”
        Exactly, and muslims aren’t singled out – the comics insult pretty much every major religion and even political figures.

        “Childishly insulting” a religion isn’t racist. Charlie Hebdo mocking Islam is being called racist only because as you said, they’re an oppressed minority. Which is a problem to do with France and not with Charlie Hebdo. Should Charlie Hebdo exempt muslims in its satire just because the French are racist ? I don’t think it should.

      • What utter nonsense.

        Religion is not race. Islam is not a race, just as Christianity is not a race. Reliigion is something you choose to believe. And that, like any idea, is totally fair game for criticism and mockery.

        If you think Charlie Hebdo is racist, is Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” racist too??

        Nothing Charlie Hebdo has published is racist, as this article claims. They poke fun at Islam (as they do all religions), not Muslims. That is not racism.

  30. Sure, if you look at one picture, it can seem racists. But if you look at the whole journal, it’s not. There is the context that you don’t seem to get – and that makes sense as I believe you have never read the actual journal Charlie Hebdo. In such case maybe you are not very well situated to talk about the journal, no? And call it racist?
    The journalist of the journal were very close to either or both the left-wing and ecologist ideas. They had the spirit and idea of the hippy movement, and the french cultural revolution of May 1968. Difficult to call them racist. If you research a little bit these cartoonists were, you would see that.
    The idea of the journal was to use satire to promote tolerance and fight fanatics and extremists.
    Please, don’t call Charlie Hebdo racist. That’s the opposite of their editorial line and even an insult to their memories. They actually died because of these tolerance values they represented, and that fanatics can’t stand.
    I hope you realise this.

    • Well said JC – in fact I think even if you looked at any on their own, without the context, you would still be completely wrong to think it was racist.

    • Portraying a black woman as a monkey seems racist to me. Incidentally, your notion that people can’t be racist because they are lefties is wrong. In fact, it’s lefties who often cross the line into racism precisely because they are so sure that they couldn’t possibly be racist.

      link to a racist cartoon

      • Can you explain the meaning and context? Yes, portraying a black woman as a monkey certainly seems racist but I am somewhat reluctant to judge until I understand the whole story.

      • You’re missing the whole context of this drawing.
        A quick summary would be: someone from the Front National party compared Christiane Taubira (Minister of Justice of France) to a monkey.
        During its campaigns Front National uses the expression/slogan : “Rassemblement Bleu Marine”
        So the drawing is just about mocking them by replacing the slogan with “Rassemblement Bleu Raciste”

      • You’re missing the whole context of this drawing.
        A quick summary would be:
        * 1) someone from the Front National party compared Christiane Taubira (Minister of Justice of France) to a monkey.
        * 2) During its campaigns Front National uses the expression/slogan : “Rassemblement Bleu Marine”

        Mix 1) and 2) and you get a drawing mocking Front National’s racism

      • Context for this particular cartoon :

        Some members of the Front National (whic is extreme right-wing) (and also from the UMP (which is right-wing but considered as a democratic party in France) ) put on their FB status a picture description of the Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira as a monkey. We can see vids of whole families (and kids yes) shouting “dehors la guenon” (“throw out the monkey”) in demonstrations against same-sex marriages.

        Charlie Hebdo responded by drawing this particular caricature with the head line “Rassemblement Bleu Raciste” (Raciste = racist and Rassemblement Bleu Marine was the slogan of the Front National during the presidential election).

        The goal is not to laugh at someone portrayed as a monkey, the goal is to point (rather tastelessly maybe – I don’t find this particular cartoon funny IMO) at the racism inherent in the Front National members, which differ from the official Front National speech, axed on de-demonizing this fascist and racist party.

        Please stop focusing only on cartoons against religious fanaticism, a majority of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons are also against right-wing parties, corrupt politicians, catholic fanaticism, well any kind of intolerance.

      • To clarify things, Charlie Hebdo published a caricature of Christiane Taubira as a monkey in response to the newspaper “Minute” who made a pun about Taubira being ” clever as a monkey” and justifying this headline by saying “Charlie Hebdo does the same”. It was actually to mock the newspaper Minute that they did this. Charlie Hebdo always fought against any form of extremism and supremacy and let it be clear, they never claimed a superiority over anything. Their cartoons may seem offensive if we take them at face value, but they are always published in particular circumstances, for the sake of humour and “détournement”.

        I am annoyed with all these people who think they are smarter than what they call the mass by exploring the counterpoints of Charlie Hebdo, fed up with this “I am not Charlie” thing! Of course people will probably change their “Je suis Charlie” avatar in a few weeks or next month and I agree with the fact that solidarity should not be ephemereal. However I cannot accept minsinterpretations around artists whose aim, if any, was to make people laugh.
        Charlie or not, whatever that means, I am sad for the victims, sad for a symbol that was anchored in the identity of my country and in my education, and sad about the fact that some people still get it wrong.

  31. Pingback: Long live the humour! | Photogroffee

  32. You have a point about the shallowness and self-aggrandizing qualities of social media ‘activism’ and your thoughts on this are inviting me to question some of my own ‘actions’ of the past two days. However, I, too, Am Charlie and I don’t apologise for it. Your interpretation of what this slogan belies, strikes me as tendencious and patronizing: no, I Am Charlie does not signify a macabre or ghoulish appropriation of the sufferings of the cartoonists executed like cattle at a slaughterhouse; it simply means that we are picking up their pens where they dropped. What we are appropriating is the spirit of glorious, combative irreverence which they embodied in their lifetime and which some of us believe lies at the core of free speech as a living creed.

    • But what is “gloriously, combatively irreverent” about being one in millions to repost the same hashtag to show that you, too, are angry about something everyone’s angry about, and you, too, would like to express how you are siding with the good guys? Even if the sentiment is sincere rather than sanctimonious, there’s something pious about articulating that you, too, agree with everyone else who is outraged that’s the opposite of “combatively irreverent”. So that’s not what you’re appropriating from the Charlie Hebdo tradition when you do that.

      I suppose that the black humour in the response by Marin Sonneborn (from the satricial German party The PARTY and satirical magazine Titanic) comes closer to Charlie Hebdo’s contrarian irreverence. He posted a status update roughly saying (sorry for the mangled translation) : “This is not funny. To respond to satire with legal proceedings, subscription cancellations or Kalashnikov bullets is considered unrefined in the scene in our crowd. Condolences to our French colleagues. Something like that couldn’t happen at Titanic, we only have 6 editors.”

    • One thing I notice about all the cartoonists, they were all white middle aged men. Don’t know if that has any bearing on their view of the world, but just thinking…..

      • seems like thats why folks feel they are free to take potshts now … its white folks so its cool to criticise

      • I do believe you’re on the right track. A hefty percentage of the knee-jerk Je-suis-Charlies also seem to enjoy a good deal of sex, color, and class privilege. I wonder if they’ve ever been subjected to relentless ridicule and stereotyping because of what sex or race or ethnic group or religion they happen to belong to.

    • yay

      i would have appreciated more of an opening to conversation rather than the accusatory tone .. its sad becos the author seems super savvy … good points raised in sort of a dick way

      imma try to listen to my crit here and try to be more panoramic of scope …..

      • et toc ! in your teeth !! so many people speak out of ignorance…get informed before you make such a strong statement…as we say, turn your tongue 7 times in your mouth before you speak / write !!

  33. Yes, you’ve found the middle ground, I think.

    There’s a shortcut, of course: at all times, do that which promotes peace. I’m not about to inflame the situation. Live and let live or prosecute through regular justice channels when folks fail the maxim.

  34. Your article is about is about the sillyness of mass emotions and about the limits of satire. Charlie hebdo is not simply satire. It did have a philosophy and a continuous attempt to attack the absurd. I am not sure it would attack the weak to attain an audience. It did defend a conception of liberty. And yes it would do it at the price of shock (sometimes) and at the price of their lives. You entitled your article : “why I am not charlie” and there is NO analysis of charlie hebdo’s editorial line. Now, quoting you, please don’t “melt people into a mass”; “erase individuals’ attributes and aspirations” to make views on your own domain expertise. You might end up feeling like an intellectual vulture. Tenderly.

    • “You entitled your article : “why I am not charlie” and there is NO analysis of charlie hebdo’s editorial line.”

      This is especially true. Are these poeple called journalists? Really?

  35. Pingback: Why I am not Charlie | What lies behind

  36. Muslims are not to be considered responsible for this nor even apologize (and no one ever asked this to happen), it would be like asking a german citizen to apologize for nazism. Simply because islamists do NOT represent muslims, just like the Ku Klux Klan did not represent Protestants.
    #jesuischarlie is a way to express support and compassion.
    Thinking that Charlie Hebdo’s drawings were racist is definitely a mistake done by many people who before this event had no knowledge of the existence of this newspaper. Its satire was never used in a racist way, only to denounce hypocrisy within EVERY religion and not only islam. They always preached love among people from different religions.
    This article and this caricature illustrate my thoughts very well.
    Criticising something you cannot really grasp the meaning from is a mistake. These illustrators are heroes who fought against racism and for freedom of speech and of the medias.

    Charlie Hebdo titre “Mahomet débordé par les intégristes: c’est dur d’être aimé par des cons”.



  37. A very good one and obviously true. However, I think it is questionable whether the “I am Charlie”-Slogan means that those who use it endorse what Charlie Hebdo has published / continues to publish. Many probably simply don’t know – who reads Charlie Hebdo outside of France? I, however, do, from time to time, nonetheless I stopped “liking” them on FB a couple of weeks ago because too often I found their drawings tasteless and offensive, I even felt offended myself. But this is not the point. When I reproduce a slogan that has become an expression of solidarity I mean that I share the general outrage and sadness about what has happened. Assuming that people cannot differentiate between the two seems a little simplistic to me.

  38. While I understand the cring worthy aspect of hashtag following I think you are simplifying the people who have signed up to #jesuisetc…and their many possible reasons for doing so. You have done what you are complaining they have done. Clumsily expressing solidarity (it happened with the victims in Norway too) does not have a monolithic meaning and while it sometimes has the attributes you assign it it is usually more about grief and a feeling of helplessness. No, it won’t change the world, no one thing will.

  39. A family had a child who lived in a rough neighbourhood. When the child came home having been beaten up because some bully said he didn’t like people walking on “his turf” the parents said,
    “You are our precious child, you have the right to go where you please and you should not be afraid. We will always protect your rights; we will never fail you”.

    The child, armed with this assurance walked where he pleased and became bolder and bolder. He took to sneering at the local bullies and even taunting them, becoming more and more offensive. Inevitably he came home beaten up again. The parents were true to their word and set out to defend him. And they would do so again and again, but they wished he would grow up and not abuse his protected status so childishly and offensively.

    Our precious child is Freedom of Expression. We must never give up defending it, but………..

  40. One way to settle the issue of whether someone follows an ideology of peace or one of violence is to antagonize them. A cartoon is, by any objective measure, absolutely harmless, and makes a perfect test of any viewer’s commitment to peace. Insecure tyrants like Kim Jong-Un can’t tolerate their image being ridiculed. What’s Muhammad’s problem? Is he so weak and insecure that some cartoonish insult can hurt him? These terrorists need to think long and hard about how weak and insecure these violent reactions make their faith and their prophet look.

    That said, it is an extreme minority using Islam as a license to wage violence against perceived enemies who have never harmed them. It’s wrong to view their violence as “the Muslim way.”

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  43. The fact that, throughout its 40 year history, Charlie Hebdo Magazine made fun of Catholicism doesn’t make them “equal opportunity offenders.” Catholics are not a marginalized minority in France. Indeed, many of the magazine’s cartoons that involved Islam were outright racist and Charlie Hebdo seemed to take particular pleasure in baiting Muslims. What’s not clear is whether editor Stephane Charbonnier had any interest in understanding what the attraction to orthodox Islam that many North African immigrants to France means, how it is directly related to lack of opportunity and discrimination, or how marginalization is inextricably tied to France’s colonial history. Perhaps that is not the place of a magazine devoted largely to satirical cartoons, but it seems more important than ever that someone begin to examine the meaning of what happened, beyond the atrocity.

    Thank you for this post and for affirming that one can support free speech, hateful speech included, without having to identify with it.

  44. With the victims of this group of terrorists including random police officers and people buying and selling kosher food the argument that ‘responsible journalism’ could have prevented this withers away. If mockery can trigger murder the problem is with the murderers and every non-murderous element of society is its victim. Nous sommes tous Charlie.

  45. Long writes, ‘ this peer pressure seems to gear up exclusively where Islam’s involved. When a racist bombed a chapter of a US civil rights organization this week, the media didn’t insist I give to the NAACP in solidarity. When a rabid Islamophobic rightist killed 77 Norwegians in 2011, most of them at a political party’s youth camp, I didn’t notice many #IAmNorway hashtags, ‘

    We am Marshall
    Black Lives Matter
    We are Eric Garner
    We are Ferguson

    where ya been?

    hashtags are up on many things people love and support, not only rabidly re. islam

    by the way


  46. #JeSuisCharlie has not be taken on by millions as a demonstration of solidarity with any specific idea, criticism or illustration ever put forth by Charlie Hebdo or its editorial staff. Rather, it is taken in solidarity with all those globally who believe in the freedom of expression, as well as the fear that by remaining silent, the heinous murders will have a chilling effect on that freedom. I do read French, but have never read even one edition of Charlie Hebdo. In fact, I was not familiar with the publication at all before Wednesday. It doesn’t matter. I Am Charlie represents something fundamental to the culture I am from, the country I live in and to many millions around the world. While abuse of such freedom is abhorrent, and criticism of such abuse rightly due, it does not diminish the need to repeatedly defend that freedom when it is attacked and restricted to the extent it was this week. It may be true that Charlie Hebdo was racist in its depiction of Muslims, it may have been highly offensive, but that does not mean that any one of its targets can or should be provided more protection than any other. There are certainly those who believe the staff of Charlie Hebdo got what they deserved. One need only look at French language social media (check out the Facebook page for some of the big French media outlets for the alarming amount of victim blaming and Israeli/Jewish conspiracy theories) to find abuse of such freedom of expression (which in some of what I read there is tantamount to inciting violence, in my opinion). So, who gets to express themselves, and what level of abuse is tolerable? Cartoons? Declarations that the Charlie Hebdo staff got what they deserved? Calls for additional violence because one believes one religion should be protected from criticism or offensive depictions? What happened this week in Paris will have an effect on media globally and perhaps on even more personal levels, and THAT is why Je Suis Charlie; and arguably, it’s why you are too.

  47. Pingback: A Paper Bird- Why I’m Not Charlie | readers+writers journal

  48. No, you are not Charlie, you are a hypocrite coward. And (going by your ‘logic’) I am a fascist/right-winger for disagreeing with you and calling you a hypocrite coward.

  49. This article sums up my discomfort with how many people, supported by the mainstream media, have chosen to conflate the defense of life and free speech – with the justness of the publication’s work. I have seen people claim charlie hebdo was doing “gods” work (trust it was a play on work) and civilizing. The writer does a pretty good job of recontexulizing that work where I firmly believe it belongs. I cringe every time I see uncensored versions of their work – I cringe because they were completely comfortable putting down a faith, its believers, and their belief system. I cringe because with every jab they asserted, again and again, their personal superiority and the superiority of their culture. I cringe because with their tragic deaths – we are all suppose to join them in this project. no thank you. I’m good.

  50. Thank you for this. These are the thoughts that I posted on Facebook when I shared your piece: There are a lot of people I know that should read this. This is one of the most insightful things I have read in a long time about the two-minute reactions people have to problems that can’t be solved with a catch phrase or by jumping on the internet bandwagon. For those of you like me who struggle to define our views and morals in today’s mixed-message world and constantly question our feelings and reactions to news and events, please take five minutes and read this.

  51. Thanks for saying what many people feel. Just because I refuse to take responsibility for an act that I did not commit and to implicate my entire religion and co-religionists including my borne and unborne children, I have been accused of being a sympathsizer or a mental collaborator. In this day and age where condemnation is so selective, I opt for silence. Let all horrors go uncondemned!

  52. Small question to every one, GOD has created every things living or non-living on earth not just earth, there are millions of eclipse…..Such powerful GOD whom we pray to get peace, power, success and future. HE require security from us(we people)….I wonder can you imagine this….???? They are just brilliant who did this….Basically they proved that GOD has no power and smaller smaller than them…..Only Hatred comes out, Scream Hatred…Slogan – Kill Kill Kill Kill and Save the saviour of all for heaven sake….. 🙂

  53. I completely understand your position. But I don’t think it’s a good thing to have a cold and intellectual reflection to what happened – in any case, not for the moment. I understand your position, because I’m also afraid of passionate and irrational reactions. But I also think (and there is no contradiction there) that emotion is important after a such event. Emotion isn’t passion. Emotion is necessary because that is what makes us human being. But the word can be ambiguous : when you have an emotional reaction it means you are not able to think critically. When I use the word emotion, I mean an emotion that permits to continue to have a critical thinking. Both are necessary, and when used properly, emotion becomes a weapon against obscurantism (for example, the spontaneous meetings after the event). The time to think coldly about the event will come later. Now, the time is to share the emotion. The time is to be Charlie.

    Then I also disagree with you when you say : “We lose our ability to respond to atrocity when we start seeing people not as individuals, but as symbols”. As emotion, symbols are importants and necessary. They are necessary for the nation, they are necessary in order to give a sense to what happened, to fight obscurantism, to fight extremism etc. Reason and reflection are necessary to make change, but symbols also are. The Enlightenments were the triumph of the reason, but also the triumph of symbols. Both are not incompatibles.

    Another point which is debatable is to know if the magazine is racist. I personally think not. Charlie Hebdo published ironical cartoons about every religions. They were anticlerical, antiextremism, not islamophobic. I understand why muslims were offended by the cartoons, because their religion prohibits depiction of the prophet. I defend their right to manifest their disagreement with the cartoons. But I also defend Charlie Hebdo to publish them, in the name of the right to express. The tweet of Tarek Fatah is stupid, you noticed it. But I also think that when some people criticize the fact that some newspapers don’t want to publish the cartoons, they don’t mean “If you don’t agree with what Charlie Hebdo said, the terrorists win.” they just mean “the terrorists wanted to scare us, they succeeded, because newspapers are frightened about publishing the cartoons”. But maybe the newspapers didn’t want to publish the cartoons because they were not agree with the ideas defend by Charlie Hebdo, and this is respectable. We don’t know the real motivations of the newspapers. But my certainty is that we cannot allow ourselves to be blackmailed by extremists people.

    I apologize for any mistakes in my English, I’m French 🙂

    – J.C

    • Very well said, J.C. I have never read Charlie Hebdo, and still don’t have great interest in doing so, but that is not the point. We can’t simply see the executions of the Charlie Hebdo staff and others as simple murders requiring sympathy with the human victims. The terrorists committed the massacre to victimize all of us. Indeed they want an emotional response from us – fear. It’s up to the rest of us, as their remaining intended victims, to make sure they don’t get it. We do that by showing solidarity with the freedom of expression they wish to kill.

  54. I suppose the ultimate question for those saying “I am Charlie,” is this: In what way do you mean you ARE Charlie? Are you expressing sympathy for the victims who were senselessly gunned down while at work? Do you feel they were persecuted for their work/beliefs? Do you agree with what their magazine published? Are their views your view? Are you saying that even though many people were offended by the publications of Charlie Hebdo, they have no right to have ever felt so because of this senseless attack on the Hebdo office? — A hashtag, while powerful and able to quickly unite a group for a common cause, leaves out integral words in what you are saying to the world.

    Thank you for giving voice to an alternate view of the events that have been spurred by the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

    • Yes, I was shocked by Charlie hebdo dirty and injurious drawings and articles. I thought they were egoistic provocators that put in danger the life of french diplomats in middle east countries, in even of policeman in front of their builing. I mourn the dead and pray for the victims and the killers. But I’m not Charlie, I’ll never ridiculize or insult any prophet or god revered by believers. You can use your freedom without going to that extend. Insulting drawings don’t help mutual comprehension or sharing common values, on the contrary.

    • Hi! thanks for this article. I do not know what are your media translating from what happens here. I am a French person who disagrees with your opinion and please give me a chance to explain why.
      The sentence “Je suis Charlie” has nothing to do that you agree or not with Charlie hebdo idea. In fact, the people from the journal were killed in the name of freedom of speech which is one of our main liberty. What the terrorists did is worse than an assassination attempt, it was the execution of this freedom of speech. By killing the cartoonists they touched France in the heart. Claiming that sentence is just to show that we were as well touched in our heart by the violence of what happened and would like to show to the community that we stay grouped in front of racism.
      Maybe you should read some french articles about all the commemorations that happen around this moto.
      Thanks also for considering our pain and respecting our mourning.
      Have a great day

    • I just mean that by having attacked Charlie Hebdo, they attacked us because I agree 100% with what Charlie Hebdo’s approach and freedom. If people were feeling offended by cartoons they published (about islamist integrist or any other religion), they should just buy a new sense of humor and relax a bit. It was just for fun and step back from daily news, that’s all. And they got killed for making me laughed. Terrible pity I need to explain and justify that here…

  55. Reblogged this on NUVIV and commented:
    No solidarity is secure. I support free speech. I oppose all censors. I abhor the killings. I mourn the dead. I am not Charlie.

  56. I find this article to me more insulting than anything that Charlie ever wrote. The author goes out of the way to say that somehow the poor Muslims “a marginal, [oppressed], minority” he calls them [Apparently the author has never been to France and knows nothing about French demography] should not be deliberately insulted. That’s fine advice for schoolchildren but in the adult world, people shouldn’t be so thin skinned. The Jews whom Voltaire spoke so negatively about did not murder him for his various insults. Perhaps it is because they were smart enough to know that opinions (even negative ones) are like assholes. Everyone has one….and it’s easy to take offense if one wants to. I’ve even managed to insult people with compliments; it’s the way you said it. There is no need to justify the taking of offense or to somehow understand it….especially when it results in a massacre. No…the lesson here isn’t that people should watch what they say…..but rather that people shouldn’t take offense so easily….perhaps if they weren’t so easily riled, writers like those at Charlie wouldn’t be necessary.

    • if you don’t understand what he means with “the poor muslims [as] ‘ a marginal, [oppressed], minority'” YOU have never been in Germany, or the UK or the USA in which moslems, just as he describes become responsible for the doing of a few. in germany mosks are burned down even before the charlie hepto attack. is that not terrorism? is it only terrorism if you put an ‘islam’ before? and do only western people have the right to be offended, attacked or terrorised? if people here say they don’t feel safe because of the polarization of the nation by the Islam, I as a moslem feel the same, living in germany. terrorism doesn’t only exist on one side. it seems to be ok and counted as revenge if mosks are burning and muslims in germany get killed (over 200 in the last 10 years) but if three terrorist kill 12 people in the name of Islam, the ‘west’ didn’t took long to blame the whole Islam and see this as an attack of freedom of speech and democracy. what about our freedom and right to live, without having to explain ourselfes or defend our believes everytime some idiot extremist in the world attacks?

    • Well said…you know the story “between what I think, what I want to say, what I end up saying, what you would like to hear, what you hear, what you think you understand etc. there are as many ways for us to misunderstand each other…” can’t we give people the benefit of the doubt ? Imagine they are NOT the evil we think they are….and if we think we are offended by something, can we just either make our point calmly or IGNORE it and not go on a crusade about it ?

  57. What a load of over intellectualized claptrap. In France there are over 5 million Muslims. It is not a persecuted minority. The problem is with radical Islamicists and I think the writer of this piece too quickly assumes, without investigative rigor, the everyone around the world cannot see this. What happens in the Twittersphere should never be extrapolated to the extent it does in this article. Poor reasoning hides some otherwise insight points.

    • You mention that there are over 5 million Muslims in France, as if this were an argument supporting your conclusion that they are not a persecuted minority. First of all, the population of France is 66 million, so 5 million Muslims indeed constitute a minority. Second of all, the population of Muslims has absolutely no logical connection to whether or not they are persecuted.

  58. Pingback: I am not Charlie, I am not Ahmed: Murdering people more than once (in progress) | rudy2shoes

  59. Thank you!
    Very acurate on why you should thing at least twice about %socialmedia storm%. Big question are never that easy. ““Taking fun as simply fun and earnestness in earnest shows how thorough thou none of the two discernest”

  60. Reblogged this on savingillusions and commented:
    “No solidarity is secure. I support free speech. I oppose all censors. I abhor the killings. I mourn the dead. I am not Charlie.”

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  62. The author overlooks the possibility that joining the #JeSuisCharlie chorus is indeed an “acte de parole”, a positioning statement whereby the speaker adopts a stance which, even if symbolic, determines a state of mind, and the possibility of action. It’s simplistic, like the proponents of the “clicktivist” critique, to say that such statements are irrelevant because they’re symbolic.
    The author also overlooks the variety of meanings, and their likely interrelations, that the statement can have: an expression of solidarity and sympathy for the victims, families and friends; a heartfelt condemnation of the perpetrated violence; or a response of readiness to the perception of being at risk of getting caught in similar circumstances (the four hostages killed at a kosher supermarket in east Paris today suggests that such concern isn’t just paranoia). It’s arrogant to suggest that those who state being Charlie act by herd instinct, when so many of us value deeply the freedom to speak our minds without fear of any kind of reprisal, let alone being executed at point blank.
    Now, to suggest that saying #I’m Charlie is equivalent to identifying those who don’t say it as the enemy, especially if they’re Muslim, is rather patronizing. I’m sure that reasonable people throughout the world have it clear that, paraphrasing Des Freedman, the fact remains an outrage “whatever the identity of the assailant or the victim”. Reasonable people can make the distinction when bigoted politicians use the events to “produce a reaction of division and hatred” (Freedman’s words too).
    So forget Voltaire, stating #I’m Charlie can also be an informed choice, at worst a “fight or flight response”.

  63. Sometimes expressing compassion and sympathy for the victims of a crime occurring in your own country is just that. A hand held out to hold, a word of comfort, a symbol of solidarity.

    The French consulate asked us (French citizens residing in the US) to place a candle in our window as a symbol of unity, which I did. Does this mean you must lampoon this heartfelt symbol because the French government is corrupt? Because France participated in some unpopular war? Should I stay my hand rather than extend it to those in mourning because I may disagree with French politics or worse, because I fear I may be criticized by the intelligentsia?

    Sympathy and support does not end with these “factitious substitutes for solidarity and action”. They have the ability to set positive events in motion, move a person or people to change their hearts, minds and actions. What a sad world it becomes when posting “I Am Charlie” in support of the victims of a massacre elicits cries of false solidarity and idle sentimentalism.

    • Well stated. I do think that the author made many salient points, especially about the use of satire, but it does not mean that peoples’ compassion is moot simply because it is posted on the internet.

    • Such boring claptrap. Yeah, I’m sure you were great at your uni assignments and can argue semantics till the cows cone home. Je Suis Charlie is symbolic, stupid!

      • Scott, this is a really thought provoking and well argued article. Thank you! The schism between realities and emotions is very ever dent but the deeper points you raise are spot on! More power to the pen

      • Symbols do not have universal meaning. The author is explaining why, for him, the use of the symbol is problematic. I happen to agree with him (not that I expect you to care about that).

      • The piece as an analyse of web-thought is certainely interesting. But what gaves anger to me is the timing of it : when I first came upon it, it was because one of my Facebook friend posted : not even 35 hours have gone since the event and already we see “I am NOT Charlie” tags !. For many french people, since our adolescence we were so used to have these jesters around us that they were almost members of our family. This is certainely very difficult to explain to foreigners because Charlie Hebdo is so often depicted as “an infantile rag” in the conservative press. And less that two days after the massacre, we were still mourning and it will certainely take us much more time to get over it. The writer was quietly seated more than 3000 miles away and could think cooly about it, without even mentioning how he felt in the aftermath of september 11 and completely misreading the meaning of “I am Charlie”, that is : you tried to kill Charlie (they said so when leaving the scene) but you failed. the only other possible intelligent reading of it would be : “show to those bastards who wanted to push division on us : you failed too, we are united against you”. On the other side of the ocean, the author was certainly right that for some american people it may have been a fashionable thing to do and for some others who were not sure about it, it was possibly uncomfortable to be sort of blackmailed into it. But on this side of the ocean, the meaning of “I am NOT Charlie” was absolutely clear : “Charlie is definitively dead. So, who cares ?” Remember : we were still mourning and far from sure that so many people would come out in defense of our values. The extreme right party “Front National” got 25 % of the votes last election. How could you not feel outraged by such a moto that gave the wrong message to terrorists : you won the day ! In such a state of mind I had the duty to answer the author : You have the right to think what you want and publish your opinions. But when you think that the rush to expand a motto is inconsiderate, how comes that you don’t see that it is also valid in the case of your motto : I am not Charlie ?

  64. The author overlooks the possibility that joining the #JeSuisCharlie chorus is indeed an “acte de parole”, a positioning statement whereby the speaker adopts a stance which, even if symbolic, determines a state of mind, and the possibility of action. It’s simplistic, like the proponents of the “clicktivist” critique, to say that such statements are irrelevant because they’re symbolic.

    The author also overlooks the variety of meanings, and their likely interrelations, that the statement can have: an expression of solidarity and sympathy for the victims, families and friends; a heartfelt condemnation of the perpetrated violence; or a response of readiness to the perception of being at risk of getting caught in similar circumstances (the four hostages killed at a kosher supermarket in east Paris today suggests that such concern isn’t just paranoia). It’s arrogant to suggest that those who state being Charlie act by herd instinct, when so many of us value deeply the freedom to speak our minds without fear of any kind of reprisal, let alone being executed at point blank.

    Now, to suggest that saying #I’m Charlie is equivalent to identifying those who don’t say it as the enemy, especially if they’re Muslim, is rather patronizing. I’m sure that reasonable people throughout the world have it clear that, paraphrasing Des Freedman (http://bit.ly/1BPPWup), the fact remains an outrage “whatever the identity of the assailant or the victim”. Reasonable people can make the distinction when bigoted politicians use the events to “produce a reaction of division and hatred” (Freedman’s words too).

    So forget Voltaire, stating #I’m Charlie can also be an informed choice, at worst a natural “fight or flight response”.

      • <>
        You should then be able to understand that the author is explaining that his understanding of the symbol, makes its usage, for him, problematic. I share his concerns. Perhaps the robustness of French humour is part of the problem. I deplore the murders, I recognise freedom of speech as a fundamental liberty but I am not comfortable saying ‘je suis Charlie’.

  65. Quiet happy for you that you live in a world you can publish your opinion, and quiet happy not to agreed with all of thoses words publicly.

  66. Actually, after Breivik’s massacre, many people on my social media did post Norwegian flags or similar in solidarity. But then Norwegian Labour Party people contacted us and asked us not to because that could be seen as promoting nationalism, which was not their values but was Breivik’s.

  67. Whilst I do agree that the Muslim community is currently at risk of serious persecution and ostracisation, I don’t believe that the comparison that you have made between Muslims and Jews is accurate. The Jewish community has never posed the kind of threat to Western values and belief systems that extremist Muslim groups are posing today. I understand that, since the news of the attack on Charlie Hebdo broke out, some individuals have taken it upon themselves to behave in a racist manner toward Muslims. However, the majority of individuals across the globe are intelligent enough to understand that most members of the Muslim community do not condone terrorism or murder.

    What we are dealing with here is an issue of extremity and I truly believe that it is the arrogance and narrow mindedness which seems to go hand in hand with all forms of extreme religious faith that is currently being questioned by supporters of Charlie Hebdo across the globe. If we do not continue, as a global community, to question that which poses a threat to individualism and fight for the freedom to think, speak and act on our own, then we may as well imprison ourselves now.

    • I forgot to mention that, when I say “I am Charlie”, I mean that I endorse the right to free speech and individual thought, whatever the cost, and I am willing to stand up for that belief as the writers and artists that were murdered this week did.

    • I agree with you very strongly Madelaine. Thank you for your comments! In so many ways, the French expression “il ne faut pas tout melanger” applies right now more than ever. What you say is right on.

      • Thank you for your comment Sionanno – I truly believe that the only way to avoid serious oppression is to stand strong as a global community and work hard to defend the freedom that we have fought so hard to achieve. If this means endorsing satirical drawings, then so be it! x

  68. I agree but was one of the people who immediately posted “I am Charlie”. I think a lot of people just felt deeply saddened by the attack and when someone posted it originally it just spread as a way of people sharing in a common feeling of sadness. i don’t think anyone was presuming to know fully the victims or attackers…

  69. This article is very smart and well-reasoned, But ultimately it feels a bit like the very thing it is trying to denounce: another intellectual telling the masses how they should feel and how they should react. This is an emotional and messy time, and we, the people, are trying to deal with it by coming together with each other in our common shock and grief. That is what Je Suis Charlie is about. And I sincerely believe that agreeing to disagree, and building bridges across our divides so we may unite, are the only way we can move forward right now. Call Je Suis Charlie a little bridge, if you will. I couldn’t agree more that we ALL have to stop being thought police. However, thought-provoking articles and debate are indeed welcome. So thank you for this very valuable contribution to that.

    • I don’t think you can be further from the truth. I don’t get any impression that the author is telling people how to think, or that they should not use the ‘Je suis Charlie ” tag – all that he is doing is trying to share his own feelings as to why, for him, the use of the tag is problematic. I share his concerns.

  70. This article is smart and well-reasoned, But ultimately it feels a bit like the very thing it is trying to denounce: another intellectual telling the masses how they should feel and how they should react. This is an emotional and messy time, and we, the people, are trying to deal with it by coming together with each other the best we can in our common shock and grief. That is what Je Suis Charlie is about. And I sincerely believe that agreeing to disagree, and building bridges across our divides so we may unite, are the only ways we can move forward right now. Call Je Suis Charlie a little bridge, if you will. I couldn’t agree more that we ALL have to stop being thought police. However, thought-provoking articles and debate are indeed welcome. So thank you for this valuable contribution to that.

  71. i dunno, man. i dislike this sort of fuss-bucket contrarianism. theres another op-ed with a similar title on NY times that is not company i think you would want to be in. i know you have a veritable dissertation here trying to make you point, and i know a part of that point was a call not to be a simpleton with regard to rally cries, but for me it was distilled in an interview where someone (European) said “On 911, we were all Americans. Today we are all Charlie.” what that says to me, is that when something horrible happens, we are called on to take sides. On both accounts some said, you can’t be surprised that it happened, or veer toward saying they brought it on themselves. but It was meaningful to me when NY was in chaos, that the rest of the world was sympathetic. and i think this I AM CHARLIE business basically just says, “NO! What has happened is NOT right. I support you and to the extent that we are all forced to choose a side, that i am with you.”

  72. i dunno, man. i dislike this sort of fuss-bucket contrarianism. theres another op-ed with a similar title on NY times that is not company i think you would want to be in. i know you have a veritable dissertation here trying to make you point, and i know a part of that point was a call not to be a simpleton with regard to rally cries, but for me it was distilled in an interview where someone (European) said “On 911, we were all Americans. Today we are all Charlie.” what that says to me, is that when something horrible happens, we are called on to take sides. On both accounts some said, you can’t be surprised that it happened, or veer toward saying they brought it on themselves. but it was meaningful to me when NY was in chaos, that the rest of the world was sympathetic. that america squandered that good will is another story, but i think this I AM CHARLIE business basically just says, “NO! What has happened to you is NOT right. I believe in the freedom to say whatever we like.” The vision that the terrorists have for the world would not include an article like this one, nor a venue for it. so, actually, you’re probably Charlie too.

  73. I made other comments in regards to a cut down version of this whole post. So i took the time to read the whole thing.
    Yes- the writer abhors the deaths. As do the majority of right minded free speaking and thinking citizens of the world. But the very act of these peoples murders wipes out in totality the writers argument. The journalists wrote about what they felt they wanted to. In a free society.
    They chose to go to work in that office each time and do what they enjoyed doing.
    And for their freedom of thought and expression, they were killed.
    Although the writer has expressed abhorrence and also the fact that people are bullied into joining or not, perhaps when the writer is put at the end of a gun for their own beliefs, they may also change their mind. But that is not what the world is about, and until the these senseless radical islamists stop killing people in the name of their religion, no -one will want to stop to speak with them.
    They kill people everyday all around the world, but until it happens in a western society untouched by terrorism in daily living, no-one seems to mind or care or listen or watch.
    Yes – they may be human beings who deserve to have a peaceful life and existence, but not by imposing their beliefs on others, just more forcibly than the author above implies.
    And the last half of the whole article seems to be very antis emetic driven against Jews.
    Is there something being said here perhaps. An undertone of anti-seminism!
    Another one of these do my religion or you are against me.
    Isn’t that what is said in the Islamic religion? All infidels are your enemy!

  74. The claim Je Suis Charlie is not a cop out or easy, non immersive, social media pseudo-solidarity. Je Suis Charlie reminds us all that we are all standing on the wall, our resolve to protect free speech tested every day. The author misses the beautiful show of support for the victims that those citizens all over the world are offering. This article reads more as an author demonstrating how much smarter he considers himself than the ones showing moral support. One does not have to die, nor agree with another person’s point of view in order to say ” I hurt with you, and stand with you in sorrow and in resistance to tyranny and terror.

  75. What a relief to read an intelligent response. Thanks. Trouble is, as a baby boomer I was pre-conditioned always to fear ‘Them’ whoever ‘they’ were. I am increasingly aware of how much of ‘us’ there is to fear too. Let’s get our thinking straight on this.

  76. Pseudo-intellectual reasoning at its so-called finest, including – but certainly not limited to – strawman, false cause, ad hominem, personal incredulity, loaded question, burden of proof, composition/division, no true scotsman, and middle ground. Thou Shalt Not Make Logical Fallacies

  77. The author obviously don’t know what he’s talking about, saying that those guys in Charlie Hebdo were racist is senseless and stupid (offensive yes, that was the point). They were always in the front line to defend minorities and not only in France, but to know that you should investigate a bit more than just looking at cartoons removed from their context. I do understand that some people disagree with the way that they used to claim their ideas but please don’t insult them.
    Regards anyway =)

  78. Based on how people are reacting, I think you could use the word ‘martyr’ to describe the cartoonists–a bit ironic, I know. Some are acting level headed about it, and others are being dumb and simple minded–there’s a whole spectrum of responses. Unlike other cartoonist murders (such as the Dutch a few years back) I’m glad society as a whole is taking a strong stance. I hated it when people suggested that cartoonists shouldn’t draw insulting pictures, as though their murders were their own faults.

  79. Re-posting any content on facebook is an easy enough thing for anyone to do & for some people it exercises a given right to their own ‘freedom of expression’. It is quite rightly referred to as ‘social networking’ as people see in facebook a platform on which they can communicate whatever they wish, with & to whoever they want to. Artistic expression should always remain something which is free to do! “Freedom of expression” should always remain as: exactly what it says in itself. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that in this day & age we should have the right as a human being to choose whether we want to follow a religion or not, support an ideal, or belief or not, or simply agree, or disagree with how journalists, or artists perceive the world at large. The Internet, more than ever before allows many people (the masses), the ability to do this & Facebook is the most popular arena in which to do so. Some people may choose to have a moan about the most mundane things, whereas others might like to share a joke or two & for others it’s simply used as a medium of personal communication – & why not,…. It’s a free country – some people say? In this world we live in, there should be freedom of speech, freedom to have choices, freedom to speak out when you are unhappy about something, freedom to have an opinion on what is happening around you etc. Essentially, that is all this article is: one man’s opinion, or point of view & in my personal opinion we – every last one of us have the right to express ourselves in whatever way we wish. In my humble opinion the men who were savagely executed at Charlie Hebdo were journalists & artists who believed in ‘freedom of speech’ & ‘freedom of expression’ & who also had a ‘sense of humour’. I’ve always felt that if you can’t take a joke, or can’t laugh at yourself, take yourself too seriously, or indeed what other people say too seriously, then you’re either a very uptight individual, or you take life too seriously &/or need to relax more in general. But answer this: What sort of person thinks they have the right to hold a gun to someone’s head & just wipe them out? What makes them believe they have some kind of superiority over another human life? To do so without considering the knock on effect it will have not just on the world at large, but to the families of those they have wiped out. Are we to believe such beings have no morals, or value for 1. Their own lives, their own families & 2. What consequences their actions may have on their fellow man? It’s in my mind an extremely selfish act to do what they have done, knowing that it’s the highest likelihood they’ll end up dead themselves, but leaving everyone else on this earth to deal with their selfish actions & pick up the pieces in the aftermath of their atrocities! I do not personally blame Muslims, or Islam for their actions. I mean they shot a Muslim policeman in the head at point blank range. This kind does not deserve to be known as human, or fellow man & even labelling them animals would be an insult to all creatures on earth. I keep hearing reports that their actions were carried out to gain recognition. recognition for what? To be a couple of gun toting assholes who snuff out innocent lives, upset worldwide harmony & ultimately get blown away themselves! I fail to see any positive message in there whatsoever! I’m sorry, but; I believe in freedom of speech, I believe in freedom of expression & I also believe these murderers were just a bunch of selfish bastards who needed to be removed quickly like toilet scum. Did they even announce what their reasons were for this heinous act? What did they actually achieve? What did they hope to achieve? What really was the whole point? I see myself as a type of artist & to me; my freedom to express myself is a large part of how I communicate. If their actions were to simply to eliminate lives of individuals who had a sense of humour & freedom of speech, which I thought we were entitled to in western civilisation, then why didn’t they just kill themselves, or each other & leave a suicide note explaining what they were so upset about! I believe they were born & raised in France. Every person has the right to travel elsewhere if they don’t feel happy where they live. Why didn’t they opt to move somewhere else where perhaps they could feel happier? No, no,…. Much better to make everyone else’s life a misery by selfishly taking the lives of others. Why? Is it just an inability to fit in to the society in which they were born into? Is it jealousy over those they killed based on them having talent, wit, a sense of humour & freedom of expression? Will we ever know? They’ve been snuffed out themselves, so they’re not about to appear on a TV chat show & tell us all why? That’s how the vast majority of us westerners live our lives, through the media & world of television. So what was the point to it all? Just a hugely selfish act? Oh & why do these idiots always shout stuff like “God is great” whilst they’re slaughtering defenses people with AK47’s. I’m sorry but God is only great when they are no longer of this earth themselves. They are as welcome on this earth as cancer, Ebola & aids & the world is quite frankly a better place without them! I have personally reposted material on facebook in relation to these killings, as I believe the perpetrators don’t like our western civilisation, or our freedom of speech & expression & they wanted to threaten this way of life somehow. Guns vs pencils? Hardly a heroic fight! & if they do have a God up there, do they really believe that their God will be proud of their actions?…..

    • “if you can’t take a joke, or can’t laugh at yourself, take yourself too seriously, or indeed what other people say too seriously, then you’re either a very uptight individual, or you take life too seriously &/or need to relax more in general. ”

      So …. I guess you’d understand if people thought this whole debacle was a joke. NO? Thought not. Some things are too serious to treat that way. Which is why there are now 19 dead people where last week there were 19 live ones.

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  82. This article has quite the literal understanding of the “JesuisCharlie”. By saying “JesuisCharlie”, I don’t believe I am endorsing their drawings – especially since I have only ever seen two of them, nor do I take myself for one of the victims, or do I think Muslims should apologise. For me it’s a symbol, saying JesuisCharlie is saying I support the right to have an opinion without being killed for it. It is not just a show of easy solidarity, it’s also about joining people together, no matter who they are, what their religion is. It is a sort of symbol for everyone who lost their lives because someone could not accept they had a different view on things. Why this symbol now and not before, why this one and not another, is another matter. I don’t know why. I just know all lives are not equal in our society. 12 people (5 more with the other events) are murdered, and every new channel mentions them – especially the cartoonists, at the expense of the others. In the meantime, Baga (Nigeria) was burned down and thousands were killed, and people are barely aware of it. It’s not something I forget when I say “JesuisCharlie”, but something I include. They also died because they thought differently.

    There. It’s likely that not everyone share my interpretation of “JesuisCharlie”, but that is why I will continue saying it.

    • You all are talking about “supporting the right”…for what? Right to be spiteful to others, offensive, rude, abusive in words which CAN kill human dignity, honor and quality??? Freedom has never been a rout to dehumanizing others, but for uplifting high moral standards.

      • Offensive ? Yes they are, as was Jesus who died on the cross for being “offensive” to the jewish and roman autorities of his time and as was Gandhi to the hindu fanatic who shot him. But were they more offensive than the absurdities and atrocities that motivated their indignation and pushed their pens ?

      • In the land of Political Correctness the only ones who can’t offend are the mutes talking to the deaf!

  83. I have a simple view on this event. The comics I don’t defend, many of them were really rsather awful and finely tuned as emotional weapons. I am not Charlie, nor would I ever wish to be. Nevertheless, when we see disapproval become murder, that shift crosses a fundamental line. Lots of things offend lots of us every day; civilization demands that we refrain from killing the sources. No compromise on this basic point can be allowed. I do not blame Islam; I DO blame the killers for their actions.

  84. Pingback: Why I am not Charlie | The Rantings of Vern Rigg Kaine

    • I’m interested in an actual counterpoint, rather than name-calling. Why is it ridiculous? What points can you actually refute with a comprehensive response?

  85. So, you missed the fact that the Charlie website is currently nothing but “I Am Charlie” in different languages. In other words, that’s how THEY WANT PEOPLE to support them.

    • Charlie Hebdo’s back catalogue doesn’t become sacrosanct because of a violent and horrible act perpetrated by radicals. You can against Islamophobia and violent extremism at the same time.
      Charlie Hebdo should be supported as victims of violence; just because they want a certain kind of support does not mean what anyone should be bullied into giving it.

  86. If, like many, you don’t agree with some of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons but support their right to be published because freedom of expression is one of your core values, then you are, indeed, Charlie Hebdo.

  87. Good article, one problem though – ” I refuse to post them because I think they’re racist and offensive.” Islam isn’t a race, it’s a religion. Race is not a choice, religion is. I can’t hate someone for the color of their skin but I can hate them if they choose to participate in a stupid religion that uses death and terror to silence people who disagree with said religion. Don’t bother getting all offended on behalf of Islam, I feel the same way about all organized religion.

    • He never claimed Islam was a race, he called the cartoons racist. I agree with his estimation.

      While I myself follow no religion, I must also say I find generalizing about people who do the way you do to be simple bigotry.

      • He said he thinks they are racist, that implies he sees Islam as a race since the cartoons are about Islam. You can’t be racist about something that isn’t a race. You can be bigoted, which I am not by the way, I don’t generalize about people, I generalize about organized religion because it’s manipulative.

      • Pam, you specifically said you can “hate” people because they choose to participate in a religion. Explain how that isn’t generalizing about people.

        Also, If I’ve understood your reasoning below, if I chose to market my chocolate bar with a smiling gollywog image, that wouldn’t be racist as my marketing was about chocolate. If I’ve misunderstood, please explain.

        It all seems very convenient and ad hoc to me.

      • I said I can hate them, that means I have the ability to do so. I didn’t say I hate them, I don’t hate anyone. I am damn disgusted by a lot of people’s actions but I don’t hate them because hate, like anger is a wasteful unproductive emotion. But if I chose to, it would be because of a choice they made to participate in a hateful religion. Not because of a race they were born into, over which they had no control.

        And yes you missed the point, A gollywog would represent a specific race in a manner designed to ridicule and disempower; a cartoon about a Muslim does not because as I stated originally, Islam isn’t a race. And before you go there, Arab isn’t a race either, it’s an ethno-linguistic group of people who have historically occupied the Arabian peninsula.

    • Islam isn’t a race but that’s really just a technicality because according to crude Western stereotypes, Muslims definitely belong to a certain race (Arabs). Although Islam isn’t a race, criticism towards Muslims very often takes on very racial overtones. Have you ever seen a political cartoon depicting a Muslim where the Muslim was not an Arab?

      • As a rule, I don’t adhere to crude Western stereotypes. I understand the broader context of the world, and I evaluate things based on education and experience; not on some knee jerk reaction to the media. I agree with some of the author’s points, but just screaming racists at everyone who doesn’t kowtow to the religious ideology of someone else is disingenuous and easy. He should have tried harder to say what he really meant.

      • “As a rule, I don’t adhere to crude Western stereotypes”
        Good for you. The line you quoted from the article isn’t about you though. It’s about the cartoons on Charlie Hebdo. The author isn’t saying that any criticism of Islam is racist, he’s saying specifically that he found the cartoons to be racist. Therefore, “Islam isn’t a race” is kind of a non-sequitur to the author’s original point. Perhaps I should’ve gone with that argument instead, although I still do believe that the crude stereotypes dominate criticism by Westerners of Islam.

      • He, or she, could have been Malaysian or Indonesian. Nevertheless there has to be a lot more tolerance in Islam and within Muslims. Why don’t you ever hear of Buddhist suicide bombers?

      • You don’t hear about it because the media doesn’t report it. But Buddhists in Myanmar have been engaging in systematic killings of Muslims. You’ll find more info at human rights watch, or you can Google it.

  88. “This crime in Paris does not suspend my political or ethical judgment, or persuade me that scatologically smearing a marginal minority’s identity and beliefs is a reasonable thing to do.”
    “Smearing?” “Marginal”? CH’s cartoons imputed no obscurantism or barbarity to Islam that some adherent or other around the world does not act out, eagerly and publicly and explicitly in the name of his religion, every wearying week.

    “But what’s often conveniently omitted amid the adulation of his wit is how Voltaire loathed a powerless religion, the outsiders of his own era, the “medieval,” “barbaric” immigrant minority that afflicted Europe: the Jews.”
    Voltaire’s barbs were misplaced because he was merely generalizing from the discomfort of his own situation. In reality the Jews genuinely were powerless, because they were small in number, made no attempt to increase their numbers by conversion, offered no critique of their host societies, and, crucially, posed not the remotest physical threat to them. *None* of those things can be said about Muslims in any age, and certainly not about Muslim communities in Western nations today. You would really have to be deliberately obtuse not to see this glaring contrast.

    “I am offended when those already oppressed in a society are deliberately insulted. I don’t want to participate.”
    “… the Charlie cartoons, which drew their force from a considered contempt for people with the temerity to be different.”
    So you consider drawing an image of Muhammad to be an insult to Muslims? In other words, you claim offence on behalf of someone else for something that you would not consider it rational to be offended by yourself.
    You seem to live in a mirror universe to the one I know. In the one I inhabit, self-appointed spokespeople of one specific ideology (which overlaps with various ethnicities, minority and majority, but is not isomorphic with any of them) claim to be offended or rendered unclean by, such a bewildering variety of unremarkable things — dogs, music, uncovered forearms, visible hair, shaking hands, laughter, mixed seating, pork, the charging of interest on loans, alcohol, visible women’s faces, representational art — that they claim to be insulted every day. And yet you would rather accept and amplify their carefully nursed sense of grievance than challenge the abysmally low threshhold of taking offence that they use as a psychological weapon of constant destablization.
    The adherents of this ideology actively seeks new members to join its cult. They actively agitate for the law to be changed to accommodate their prejudices in a way that would actually harm the most vulnerable people within their own community. Or they set up their own rogue legal systems and claim the right to use them to police behaviour in their own community — again in a way that systematically disadvantages the weakest members.
    The adherents of this ideology are genuinely convinced of their own moral superiority and the degeneracy of the non-believers around them.
    They do all of this openly, because they can. Because they are citizens who are entitled to express their beliefs and promote them … and yet to you they are “oppressed” people, “insulted” by a bunch of cartoonists simply for being “different”.

    All religions are false, and they are all an insult to human dignity, and I am offended every single day of my life by the claims of their adherents, and especially of those adherents whom you seem to imagine are “oppressed”. Well, they don’t damn well look oppressed to me.

    “There is no ‘but'”, you begin by saying. Perhaps you imagined that some people might only read the first paragraph, because after that the whole of the remainder is one long ‘but’.

    It’s quite hard to overstate how contemptible this article is.

    • Likewise, your comment can be summed up with “but those Muslims they’re all overly sensitive and aggressive and their beliefs are much sillier than what I belive.” Consider that this topic may be more complex than you realise. Or carry on poorly informed, as you are.

      • You’re quite right nib, I do think Islamic doctrine is much, much, much sillier than what I believe and value. Why? Because I attempt to align my beliefs to objectively verifiable evidence. What, for instance, is the evidence that sitting next to a menstruating woman makes me, in some moral sense, impure? None. What is the evidence that eating pork makes me impure, but eating goat doesn’t? None. Where is the evidence that men become uncontrollably lustful when they’re able to see the faces of the women they’re talking to? None.

        But that’s just truth-claims. Morally the situation is even worse, because Islamic doctrine, by teaching the inerrancy of the “Recitation” (the Qur’an), forces adherents to maintain and defend beliefs that are demonstrably false. Thankfully most Muslims, in most ages and places, have found ways of living that allow them to ignore many of these rules (which incidentally is a good illustration that our morality comes from within us as a product of our evolutionary history, and not from religion). But by permeating whole societies, these rules have a corrupting effect on the moral instincts of believers, making them see evil where there is none (in dogs for example — a species that has done more for human wellbeing over the last 15,000 years than all the world’s wretched monotheisms put together over the last 3,000) — and what’s worse, ignore, excuse, and even celebrate evils that are declared by their ideology to be good (for example, the c. 30% of Arabic-language Twitter commentary on the attacks this week that thought they were a good thing).

        In what way do I seem to you poorly informed?

      • I would also add that I would never generalise these extremist acts across an entire religion, and do not appreciate being tarred with the same brush as Islamaphobics for seeing the good in the moniker je suis charlie and not being offended by comics that poke fun and thereby interrogate religion. They are not reactionary, they are a launchpad for critical and informed discussions of the presence of religion in the world. Those who disagree with them have many avenues through which to build on this discourse. This article merely suggests the writer does not want this conversation to happen at all.

  89. yeah. Cos the Jews slaughtered anyone who called them yids.

    Face it. Only Muslims will kill if offended. Only Islam. Get that into your head and one day we will beat them

    Stop fucking apologising for their actions. They have invited hatred on themselves. And we’re gonna hate them as they want us to. Fucking middle age throwbacks trying to drag us back to the dark ages.

    Muslims hate women. Murder gays. Stone teenagers to death for having sex. They massacre children (or that story been forgotten about already?).

    No Muslims = no terrorism. How fucking hard is that to work out?

    • Christians in America kill people who work at abortion clinics. The KKK and Neo-Nazi groups claim Christianity as their guiding moral idelogy, and they killed a lot of people of color and Jewish or white allies of the Civil Rights Movement. Buddhists in Myanmar are killing a lot of Muslims. Communists in China and North Korea, with no organized religion, kill and torture a lot of people. Lots of examples prove that your “no terrorism” equation is actually pretty hard to work out, after all.

      • Don’t forget South Vietnam, the president of that country was a christain (catholic) fundmentalist who had oppressed buddhists.

      • Ah yes, the old “Christians in America kill people who work at abortion clinics” counter-point. Heard that one before. Never mind that in the past 16 years, all of one person in the entire U.S. has been murdered in such an attack. One.

        So, while you’re busy comparing apples and oranges (or more like celestial bodies to quarks), perhaps you should edit your sentence to read “Christians in America killed a person who works at an abortion clinic.” You know, in the interest of accuracy and all.

      • I think the difference is that extreme Islamist groups seem to be attacking Western culture and killing people around the globe for expressing individuality and exercising freedom of speech. What these extremist groups are doing is causing civil conflict in Western countries in order to gain power on a wider scale. This is not an isolated problem directed at certain minorities, but something that affects us all and should be recognised as a series attack on freedom everywhere.

      • Great comments. We, French people are the sons and daughters of Rabelais, Voltaire. We fought so much for freedom of speech and separation of churches and state that we can’t accept any sectarians trying to deprive us of our freedom. A pen or speech could just try to kill ideas but doesn’t kill any innocent human fellows but kalatchnikovs do. The young terrorists are nothing but poor very sick muppets victims of the ones pulling the strings.

      • Beeredrsejdjdjeeee – not all Muslims hate women and gay people as you have claimed, After all, some of them are women and some of them are gay! Also, Islam is a peaceful religion, which certain extreme groups take advantage of. I think you need to watch out for stereotyping!

    • If you decide to define terrorism as “Islamist acts of political violence”, congratulations, you get to arrive at your “not hard to work out” tautology. That definition, however, is absolutely ridiculous.

      • Beered … you need to look at cases like the killing of the Quinn children, in Ireland, and realise how prevalent is violence.

    • Jewish extremists bombed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946, killing 91 people (according to Wikipedia: “41 Arabs, 28 British citizens, 17 Palestinian Jews, 2 Armenians, 1 Russian, 1 Greek and 1 Egyptian”) — which remains, I believe, the single deadliest terrorist attack in the history of modern Jerusalem. Brooklyn-born Israeli-American Baruch Goldstein entered the Cave of the Patriarchs in 1994 and gunned down 29 people (125 wounded) *while they were at prayer*. Even the Bible is replete with examples of the ancient Israelites exterminating entire nations at the command of God (Deuteronomy, for example, describes the extermination of the seven Canaanite nations; 1 Samuel 15 has “Now, go and crush Amalek; put him under the curse of destruction with all that he possesses. Do not spare him, but kill man and woman, babe and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and donkey,” describing the eradication of the Amalekites down to the last man, woman and child, and all their worldly goods besides).

      There is no religion in history that has not had its adherents commit atrocities.

      • Yes. The only relevant difference between the violence in the texts and acts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is time. The old testament is several thousand years older than the quran, so people have had more time to learn to reject or ignore the really horrible parts. Christianity was invented in about the 2nd century AD, 500 years before Muhammed. If we’re going to compare the violent acts of these religions, we should be comparing present-day Islamists to 16th-century conquistadors or 12th century crusaders or Israeli armies from four or five millenia ago.

      • Daniel: Jainism might come close; but Jainism allows violence in self-defense, and Jains in ancient history were conquerors (e.g., the Indian Emperor Ashoka appears to have been raised in the Jain tradition by his grandfather Chandragupta, the first Emperor of India, and Ashoka actually “rejected” Jainism to embrace Buddhism after the destructive wars he waged to conquer Kalinga; the principle of Ahimsa is common to both Jainism and Buddhism, so it might be splitting hairs a bit, and he had two queens, one Jain, one Buddhist). In the modern period a small number of Jains serve in the Indian Army.

    • “No Muslims = no terrorism” Ignoring the fact that what you’re advocating for is genocide… you live in a dreamworld if you believe that. Pick up a goddamm history book, why don’t you.

  90. Shocked at the killing of journalists and innocent people in France. It has nothing to do with the struggle for faith. These are crimes. After which, I am convinced, are the US and other Western intelligence services. As they stood behind the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, crime on the Sarajevo market Markale or crimes against the Kiev square Maidan. But no less shocked at the bad things they call these journalists and cartoonists published on Mohammed and other Muslim saints and values. It has nothing to do with satire, freedom of speech and journalism. It’s primitive, jalijaško insulting Muslims and their idols. Just the way you like it these days claim Muslims. Those who are not afraid to and at the time of the “anti-terrorist” and anti-Muslim hysteria tell the truth.

    9. 01. 2015 el. post by Dusan Maric, the FBR prepared Biljana Diković


    Abhor all, especially the Serbs, who by social networks appeal to a wider moronic slogan “We are all Šarli” and thus provide support for this garbage from newspapers.
    So, with disgust reject the possibility of being “Šarli” and as far as the Frenchman killed, I want them repose of the soul, but I can not feel sorry for them. Simply, I can not.

    While listening to false fighters for freedom of speech and protection of human rights in Serbia shed crocodile tears over violations of freedom of junk journalism (hoping in this way to get yourself a few more donation from abroad or from the budget of the Government of Serbia) admit I do not think about these victims.

    I’m thinking about the aggression of France and NATO on the Serbian Republic in 1995, about the aggression and criminal organization in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999, thousands of tons of bombs and missiles which the French and their allies, in cold blood, with passion and hatred, destroying three months Serbian towns and villages, destroyed Serbian schools and hospitals, railways and factories ….

    I’m thinking of thousands of Serbs from Hadzic that the French planes dropped tons of depleted uranium, but also of Muslim children from Hadzic that, while I go out to play, poisoned these French “gifts”. I’m thinking about two tons heavy bombs which the French and their accomplices ate some of our children. Precise, relentlessly. And Serbian and Shiptar. Behind them was left seventy small mounds.

    I’m thinking about the stolen Republic of Serbian Krajina and 500,000 Serbs that Tudjman and associates, with the help of the French and other Western countries, banished into exile, life in the white world, from pillar to post.

    I’m thinking about a hijacked Kosovo and Metohija. Thinking about 1,008 Serbian soldiers and policemen are 1998 and 1999 French pilots killed in cold blood and legionnaires, together with its allies from NATO and the KLA terrorists.

    I’m thinking about more than 3,000 Serbian, but Shiptar, civilians were killed by bombs from the French aircraft and missiles from French ships. I’m thinking about that refugee column unfortunate Albanians that the French and their allies mow bombs and machine guns. Just because you are moving in the “wrong” direction: in Kosovo and not with Kosovo.

    I’m thinking about the enthusiasm with which the French President, Prime Minister, leading politicians, leading intellectuals and journalists reporting on the killing of my people. I called their pilots to shoot accurately to kill ruthlessly. Thinking about 15,000 wounded Serbs and Albanians, who are in the aggression on Yugoslavia crippled the French and their allies.

    I’m thinking about a few hundred Serbian soldiers and civilians who were under the protection of French and NATO, under the protection of the then governor of the occupation of Kosovo and Metohija Frenchman Bernard Kouchner, the KLA terrorists kidnapped and taken to Albania and live there butchered in order to sell their organs.
    I’m thinking about the troubles in which these unfortunates died.
    I’m thinking of torment where today, 9 January 2015, lives a mother who knows that her son, a young man of 20 years, mercury extracted one by one organ …

    I’m thinking about the thousands of mujahideen who were the French, Americans and other Western countries led in BiH to kill my people, to behead captured Serbian soldiers on Ozrenu and Black top with Teslic to the Headquarters and KUPREŠKA gate rush to my Kupres, through the Great Plazenica attack on my Blagaj ….

    But I, Serbian journalist and Serbian nationalists, Serbian soldier who is four years with a gun in his hand fought against Muslims and Mujahideen, killed them and watched them kill my soldiers, friends, neighbors … ..razmišljam and hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims who are French together with the Americans, British and other “democrats” in the last twenty years, killed and still kill a martyr in Iraq. As to kill livestock, not living people. Someone’s child, someone’s brother, someone’s sister ….

    I’m thinking about the hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims by the French and their allies killed and still kill in Afghanistan. I’m thinking about the hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims who have died and are still dying in mučkoj, barbaric, the aggression of the French and their allies on the martyrdom Syria, Damascus city of all cities, one of the cradles of civilization.

    I’m thinking about tens of thousands of innocent Muslims who died a few years ago in the aggression against the French and their allies in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt …. I’m thinking about the hundreds of thousands of destroyed completely suppressed, Muslim families from Morocco to Pakistan, which have destroyed and eradicated the French and their Western allies. “Counsel” democracy.

    I’m thinking of a number of Islamic terrorist organizations for decades sow death in the world, and that is precisely because of this, for the sake of killing innocent people founded by France, America, Britain and other kolijevske “democracy”: Islamic states, Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Palestinian wolves, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Islamic group, El mudžehid ….

    I read, there are western mercenaries and madmen who call the Serbs that in some cities organize protests. We invite Serbs to foreign waters wars. As if it was not enough and those of our own.

    Those who choose to respond to these calls I suggest you go to the demonstrations with the following banners:
    “Serbs are a people without law and without faith. It is a nation of bandits and terrorists. “(Jacques Chirac, President of France, at a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Papandreuuom)
    “Serbs are trash.” (Laurent Fabius, President of the French Parliament in a statement to the French state TV)
    “NATO rasrbljivač”. (Racist commercials spray for destroying vermin in the “Horizons” French television)
    “If you started yelling the bear, and you have that dokrajčiš”. (Paris daily “La Figaro” on the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia on April 16, 1999)
    “The Serbs were removed from a pregnant woman with a child from the womb, before her husband. Her husband was in shock, I tried to return the baby in her womb. “(From the anti-Serb propaganda arsenal of the French state television “France 2”)
    “The Apostle of Great Serbia is a cold-blooded animal.” (Paris newspaper “L evenement”) “Last Sunday we had nine Serbs killed, this Sunday – eight. It is clear progress. “(French bitch Bernard Kouchner, head of the UN mission in Kosovo)
    “You bastard … how long will go Milosevic …” (Home of the Paris weekly “Globe Hebdo” with a picture of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic)
    “Stop crimes against humanity Serbian nationalists”. (The poster for the “Doctors Without Borders” in 1993 shared in Paris and other French cities)
    “Let the fire of heaven crashing down on Serbs and punish them for their crimes.” (The famous French priest-humanitarian)

    • Why doesn’t everyone just try to get on instead of killing each It’s a short life , so stop it on needless violence.

  91. This is not about your own taste, and if you liked or not the cartoons published in Charlie Hebdo. It is about an act of extreme and disproportionate violence resulting in millions of victims: direct victims, french population, immigrants, global society. Yes, it was a satiric magazine ridiculing and humiliating religion and politic; yes, it was sometimes discriminatory; yes, it was sometimes hiding debatable opinions behind drawings. But it was an element of french culture; it crosses decades, always denouncing and provoking and calling for reflection.

  92. Pingback: Exit Wounds: On Condemning Charlie Hebdo After The Attacks | The Gerasites

  93. Spot on, and beautifully written; many thanks for articulating so much of what I could not manage to myself. Peas n loaf ❤

  94. Reblogged this on Me + Richard Armitage and commented:
    “Nothing is quick, nothing is easy. No solidarity is secure. I support free speech. I oppose all censors. I abhor the killings. I mourn the dead. I am not Charlie.” Like a lot of people, I’ve felt paralyzed by the news the last few days (and not just this piece of it.) If we want to think of the Paris murders as related to a free speech issue, this pieces comes fairly to close to what I’ve been thinking lately. (That I am not convinced that the way to understand this incident best is through the venue of free speech is perhaps a matter for another time.)

  95. Nobody is saying (well, in general sense) that I AM Charlie Hebdot. Obviously each person has his or hers own agency. To be “I AM” or “Je Suis” is a Cartesian exercise in proof of certain truth. This is not what it’s about. When people hold up the signs, they say “I am (in support, behind, with) Charlie Hebdot.”

    This whole Foucauldian academic hypothesis is interesting, but it pails when blood is involved. In the end it’s the cry of people who feel at loss for better words, who find it hard to fathom the traumas that occur (was “bring back our girls” really about bringing individual girls? Aren’t Michele Obama’s kids are sleeping safely in their bed?).

    I think the misattributed Voltaire statement sourced from some quotation site is actually used wrongly – the act of defense here IS agreement. Obviously we cannot agree on everything they published or stood for. That would just be sycophantic or dumb. We should agree with HOW they say it. “Je Suis” anything is in itself a problematic statement – semiotics and linguistics are much more complicated than life. Words have the virtue of of being multidentional, unlike bullets which travel in a straight trajectory.

    I haven’t read Charlie Hebdot, I am not planning on starting and that is the point: it is not about who they are (vulgar, banal, Eurocentric?), it’s about their right to be that way. I am not French, I am not Muslim, I know that I am not a lot of things, but today of all days, I WISH I could be Charlie Hebdot.

  96. Was Wolinski an antisemite? He was a jew and a key member of Charlie. Charb’s girfriend is of arabic descend, as are some cartoonists & collaborators. Are you sure they’re racists? You know nothing.

  97. A lot of intellectual masturbation to finally throw a big bag of BULLSHITS by using a lot of terrible examples of stupid people…. By talking so much, the author drops some crazy and shamefull lines which cannot be lost in this extended text and definitely need to be pointed out.

    “There’s a perfectly good reason not to republish the cartoons that has nothing to do with cowardice or caution. I refuse to post them because I think they’re racist and offensive.”
    How can you say that???? Have you ever read a whole journal of Charlie Hebdo??? Do you ever know these cartoonists were among the less racist people you can find?? Do you know they were just making fun of everybody and everything and just didn’t give a fuck of uptight people like you who could be shocked or butthurt by their cartoons. Just a simple reminder, these cartoons were just for FUN so if you cannot get over it, please stop writing so-called philosophical articles for a while and try to buy you an new sense of humor to relax a bit.

    “This crime in Paris does not suspend my political or ethical judgment, or persuade me that scatologically smearing a marginal minority’s identity and beliefs is a reasonable thing to do.”
    Excuse me but once again “scatologically smearing a marginal minority’s identity and beliefs is a reasonable thing to do”…. Oh please, do we need to think about what is reasonable or not to do when you just want to have fun and draw some comic cartoon to distract other people life? Are you stupid enough to think that Charlie Hebdo were making fun of all muslim people and were not just aiming the integrist? That’s just make me wonder once again, have you ready read one of their journal??? Do you speak enough well French to understand their fine humor and not that much scatologic like you try to emphasize??

    “When a rabid Islamophobic rightist killed 77 Norwegians in 2011, most of them at a political party’s youth camp, I didn’t notice many #IAmNorway hashtags”. Well maybe just it did not cross your mind that the social networks and other twitter were not as well developped and used 4 years ago??

    “In the same way, Charlie Hebdo and its like never treated Muslim immigrants as individuals, but as agents of some larger force” Wow, majestic big bag of bullshits once again!! Congrats for this one!! No yeah defintely right, I totally agree on the fact that Charlie considered Muslim immigrants as “agents” of an obscure “force” and “tribal terrorist fanaticism”. Yeah, this people were totally stupid and racists.. No but seriously, are you just fucking crazy or what???? Do you really think that Charlie Hebdo authors were racist? Do you even know that those guys were all from the left wing, that’s the reason why now they are hosted at Liberation which is the reference left wing journal in France.. OK i’m tired of trying to defend these people, I just realize the amount of bullshit and stupidiy is too damn high here.

    Nice to try to fool and impress people with intellectual words and historical examples to dispense terrible considerations about these killed authors but I will just finish by saying for these people who read your article, that please, try to read Charlie Hebdo by yourself if you can, do not mix these crazy far right wing examples with Charlie’s people, that’s really a SHAME made to THEIR MEMORIES. Understand they were never any racism or oppresion made on minorities, just making fun of EVERYBODY because some derision is just good sometimes in this too serious world..

    And of couse, needless to say that my comment will not be censored since you “support free speech”, “oppose all censors” and do “not try to shame (those who disagree) into silence”

  98. Let’s not over-intellectualize and confuse what is happening: ‘I am Charlie’ is a quote that people use to support freedom of speech. It could be anything else. And as far as I know you are free to use anything else if you are not happy with that quote. People certainly do not give a damn shit about the content of Charlie, given they have never read it (millions ‘I am Charlie’ vs. few thousands prints).

    Now if you want to dig into, what is actually this newspaper: it’s a group of lucid people who want to help other people become more lucid. They are fundamentally not against any religion, but against the alienation of people to religions. Because many people cannot read it and interpret it correctly (cfr ‘c est due d’être aime par des cons’) people do not read it. So if you do not understand it and do not read it, so let’s not comment on it.

  99. Murder is lamentable and not to be justified if we consider ourselves a civilized humanity (are we?). Just stop and think: Free speech, free thinking, free will.. Haven’t all these rights/values become so vague, distorted in today’s world ?. I’d dare say the same free press right Hebdo proclaimed as the very core of their profession seemed to be, at the end of the day, to the service of the establishment. Was it free press? Perhaps, but certainly not inspired by Freedom, *cause freedom is Truth, and truth liberates our souls from hatred, Intolerance and disrespect.
    Again, not happy about what happen. It’s a convulsed world, so we must not lose context. Never in our history had we been so interconnected, interdependent; never before had our decisions and actions involved such a great deal of responsibility.

    • I must make a precision, since my comment is being general when mentioning “Hebdos Work seemed to be to the service of the establishment”. My point is: anti-Muslim covers specifically end up serving, directly or indirectly, as a justification of Western Foreign policies over East-middle east countries. To the eyes of the masses images speak by them selves and strengthen their beliefs. No need to go deep on understanding intellectualism or fine humor. Transgression, impact and sensationalism is what counts in the end and generates unintended consequences.
      This week’s events in France must not be understood as a simple terrorist vindication, it must be considered instead as a symptom of a sick World intoxicated with greed. One of many reactions to the increasingly reckless interventionism of western powers into cultures we don’t understand and attack in the name of a Liberty long gone and prostituted. In the name of Democracy-masked special interests.

  100. That’s funny to see how many people suddenly became big experts of Charlie is or isn’t, while they did not even know what it was a few days ago.

    • I’m not any big expert. I saw some of the cartoons though, and agree that while they should not be censored, some of them were racist, and some of them were unnecessarily hateful and spiteful, and they should not be mindlessly replicated by people who don’t think it is appropriate to insult people that way.

      It is entirely possible to criticise things, even religions, without stooping so low as to call somebody else’s holy book “shit”, and implying kids in Egypt deserved to die because they thought the Koran could “stop bullets”. And for the record, stooping that low is still maintaing a lot of elevation over those who would kill you for doing so.

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  102. Best comment : ” Are you stupid enough to think that Charlie Hebdo were making fun of all muslim people and were not just aiming the integrist? That’s just make me wonder once again, have you ready read one of their journal??? Do you speak enough well French to understand their fine humor and not that much scatologic like you try to emphasize??”

  103. Reblogged this on Life Tips from a Hypocrite and commented:
    Because life’s too short to be a #sheep. Not saying there’s a right and wrong, I just don’t like it how we’ve let a symbol become today’s social dictator. #justahashtag #calmyourfarm #lifetipsfromahypocrite

  104. You have a great pen, but little knowledge of Charlie Hebdo. Those cartoons are not racist. Their authors aren’t racists. If they were, then they are racist against Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, etc. The Prophet was only one target on the list – and certainly not their favourite. Just google Charlie Hebdo and Jesus. Moreover, the cartoons were not even mocking Muslims – they were mocking fundamentalists, extremists, Muslims who are not representatives of the Muslim faith. THAT was the point of those drawings.

    As for people using the #JesuisCharlie hashtag, they are expressing their conviction in (or realization that they cherish) the freedom of speech, not supporting or “becoming” some non-existant person by the name of “Charlie”. I believe so many around the world have joined in the movement because so many of us have forgotten what free speech means; what can happen when you don’t have it. The desire to have the cartoons published is basically a reaction against favouritism. If it’s ok to mock Jesus Christ, it should be ok to mock Mohamed. Also, not being allowed to pock fun at Mohamed on the basis that it will “hurt” Muslims is really having a very poor view of Muslims. As if *they* weren’t able to laugh at themselves like us. As if they had no backbone.

    I agree with you, however, that some people have taken this a bit too seriously. Not tweeting #JesuisCharlie does not mean one supports terrorism or what happened in France. I’ve personally refused to associate myself to the #JesuisCharlie hashtag, but for different reasons than yourself. I just don’t like doing what everybody else is doing.

  105. Pingback: Should we be “Charlie Hebdo”? | IR Theory & Practice

  106. Pingback: Why I am not Charlie | StuartSantiago.com

  107. I must say that I have seen similar posts beckoning those to understand that, yes, though the events of the day were in fact horrific, they still don’t wish to be grouped together in the “Je Suis Charlie” hashtag event sweeping the international community. Yes this sort of satire is offensive to many, not only to Muslims, but to Catholics, Jews and to nearly all Right-wing politicos. But this is just the same with all art. If art doesn’t move us, make us think, stop, and ask questions, then what purpose does it serve? Sure, there will be those who say that this is not art at all, but, yes, it is art, Is it racy and distasteful? Yes, to some it is. Does it catch attention? Yes it does. It is art, and those who disagree are allowed to by the same divine right as given those to make the art. These are the images of expression, by those who view the world in their own unique fashion. Being an artist and writer myself, I cannot say that these satirical cartoons are artful, even though they are artistic by definition. But, if we all lived in a world where we saw only what we wanted to see, and heard only what we wanted to hear, we would not be alive. We would not be human, but instead, carbon copies of some moldless gestalt; an archetype of static. I see the movement, and agree with the thought of expression being free in all forms, that is what Je Suis Charlie means to me, though I wouldn’t hang or clip the cartoons to my desk, ever.
    All in all, brilliant piece.. and I agree, people should refrain from quoting Voltaire or anyone else who has proclaimed the same thing without much thought on the matter.

  108. Like a lot of the articles I’ve read that are critical of Charlie Hebdo, this one goes into a lot of detail about what the cartoons mean without actually mentioning any particular cartoon. I’m willing to believe you have a point, but if you’re going to spill this much ink on a text, mention at least one example of said text. I am no expert on their output, but a few simple google searches brought me to the most controversial of the cartoons, and I am hard-pressed to see the obvious racism that’s aimed at marginal and oppressed people. One that caused a huge stink was a picture of the Prophet Mohammed weeping with a caption that said something like “Fundamentalists make me cry”. That seems pretty within the realm of righteous satire, and has probably been said about fundamentalists of every religion in every time period of history. If there is a God, I’m sure he/she/it would weep at the beheadings, abortion clinic bombings, elementary school massacres and crusades. There’s nothing racist in this, and the drawing actually was rather artful. I realize some consider Mohammed too sacred to represent visually, and I’m sure they knew they were goosing a sensitivity, but that’s a long way from racism. The one I saw that made me cringe the most was a drawing of pregnant women of color who’d been victims of a terrorist human trafficking ring yelling “We want our welfare allocations!” in French. I was willing to accept that that was outrageous, except when I looked into it further, at least some folks say the joke was typical of Charlie Hebdo and was used as a double attack, a parody of the right wing that they’d say something like that (kind of like the New Yorker’s terrorist fist bump cover), and at the terrorist ring that perpetrated this. You can argue the image goes too far in its caricature or calls up things that outweigh its intention, but again it’s not clear that racism WAS that intention, especially when apparently both the issue before and after this one attacked Le Pen and his anti-immigrant stance. There seems to be a comfort level with the idea that Hebdo was a racist rag without a shred of evidence here to support that. I suppose we were all supposed to know that and start from that premise, but I don’t buy that basic premise yet. I’m open to being convinced, but I’ve yet to see in the backlash anger like this article, anyone who’s been willing to go panel by panel and explain how it’s a sustained and racist attack on a marginal and oppressed minority. Taking on organized and fundamentalist Islam is fair game, and they are hardly powerless. Iran and Saudi Arabia, as examples, are hard places to live for muslims too, and the way religion is used there is no better than the Pope’s terrors of the middle ages. Have a read of Tahar Djaout’s The Last Summer of Reason if you think Islam is powerless. In fact, Djaout was killed by Islamists, who said they assasinated him because he “wielded a fearsome pen that could have an effect on Islamic sectors.” Sound familiar?

    • You won’t find anything of the kind: most American liberals have dropped the ball on that one! As you’ve noticed yourself, Charlie was NEVER a racist paper, but spent a lot of time denouncing the abuses of the far right in France.
      Many Americans point to one cover with a black women (French Ministre of Justice, Christiane Taubira) depicted as a monkey eating a banana.
      Explanation: The far right circulated a caricature of her as a monkey eating a banana, and Charlie made its cover denouncing *that*, which is obvious for anyone who understands the title. Yet, that title is conveniently omitted when shown as evidence of the paper’s “racism”.

      All the dead cartoonists are well known to ALL French people. One in particular (Cabu) was on the French equivalent of Sesame Street, teaching kids to draw. Charb, the editor in chief, is found on the BBC website explaining, after Charlie Hebdo was bombed in 2011, that “the bombing was done by a few a-holes who were in no way representative of Islam or the Muslim community in France”. Yeah, what an awful racist indeed!
      And it’s also because of Charlie’s “racism” that the only political party you won’t see demonstrating in Paris on Sunday is the far-right xenophobic FN…

      Today in France, it’s as if Jon Stewart, Jon Oliver, Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher had all been gunned down one fine morning in the US (regardless of how you happen to feel about each one of them specifically). And all those rants about the cartoonists’ imaginary racism is like showing up at the funeral to spit on their grave.

      I have no problem with those who say “I just don’t know enough”. But affirmations like those made in this blog just make me sick.

      Full disclosure: I AM a liberal who’s totally disgusted by the way Political Correctness has trumped facts! Even the NYT won’t report the News adequately, since they’re not showing the cartoons which prompted the murders.

      • If “All the dead cartoonists are well known to ALL French people” how come the publication’s circulation was so small?
        It seems the majority of the French did not agree with them.

      • Good try ! I am Charlie. But I was not a regular subscriber and now I regret that. Why was I not a regular subscriber ? For good and bad reasons. A bad reason is that I would not have enough money to buy all the papers I wish to support, like I cannot buy all the good books I wish to read : I have to go to a library to do that. The good reason is that I do not feel the need to read in papers a confirmation of what I already think. I read papers that expose a different view from mine, like the “Figaro” (rightist) to confront my opinion to theirs, I read papers that offer a real thoughtprovoking point of view (that does not imply that Charlie was not, only that it was that to others and also sometimes to me) I read papers who help me to learn and deepen my knowledge.. I do not care to read newspapers at all, nor watch T.V. When I opened my set last week it was the first time in months ! One of the good points of Scott’s article is the analysis of media fads, one chasing the other. But this is not genuine, it has been said already many times before. Therefore my criticism of it is in the bad timing of it, mainly. What I say of my personal reasons is certainly not representative of the reasons of others, except for the bad one. There is a traditional culture in France (and in many other countries I guess) to get something without paying for it, or with the least possible price.. Since the readership of Charlie was not the upper class of France, but the “désargentés” students mainly, it was a pardonnable offence. But rest assured that thirty thousand copies did not mean only thirty thousand readers !

    • This is fantastic. I really enjoyed reading what so eloquently voiced my thoughts after reading the above article.

      As the example you gave of Mohammed weeping, lamenting the actions of extremists, is key to showing that it is NOT Islam (or Judaism, or Catholicism…) that is being mocked and “despised”, but any flank of movement or ideology, however niche, that instigates #violence. As the New Yorker article points out, Charlie Hebdo has been prolific is satire against all groups, yet only Islam would respond with violence. This is not to say Islam but rather the minority extremists, but nevertheless, the violence and threats are exclusive.

      So the efforts to radically intellectualise a debate in order to assert prejudicial motives will not fly here. This is not to condone what may be seen as the ‘weaponisation’ of the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag, but it is evidently indicative of the current global political climate.

    • How about getting your news from a reliable source, before launching a hashtag which amounts to spitting on the fresh body of those who were murdered?

      No, Charlie is NOT a racist paper. Read my previous comment, or be wild: check for yourself, or even wilder: ask a French person!

      • Ah si je savais dessiner Voltaire en train de se dire “C’est dur d’être aimé par des cons!” 🙂

    • I agree. The OP has obviously conflated endorsing CharlieHebdo’s output and endorsing the feeling of solidarity and revulsion at these barbarous acts. I shouldn’t be surprised, he admits he doesn’t know what it means. It’s also ironic that he berates people who’ve changed their avatars, calling it pathetic and useless, but somehow thinks his blog doesn’t fall into the same category of online activism; oh no, his blog certainly makes a real world difference. Can’t stand people who use a lot of fancy language but who are in reality just pretentious morons.

  109. Pingback: Statement on Charlie Hebdo | Ethical Martini

  110. As somebody else wrote, the hashtag was about how this effects everyone and that these lunatics can’t kill all of us. We are all Charlie even if he is an ugly racist fool.

    Certain Teachings of Islam are hundreds of years behind other religions and until it’s pushed into the modern world these things will continue to happen.
    Some old school ideologies still being taught Include;
    It can’t handle being made fun of.
    You can’t draw it’s holy prophet.
    It’s like the mob, you can’t leave it.
    Getting a divorce is as easy as saying a few words three times.
    Empowering women includes them walking behind their husband and wearing head to toe coverings.

    • Some old school ideologies still being taught Include;
      It can’t handle being made fun of.
      You can’t draw it’s holy prophet.
      It’s like the mob, you can’t leave it.
      Getting a divorce is as easy as saying a few words three times.
      Empowering women includes them walking behind their husband and wearing head to toe coverings.

      These must be the ideologies being taught to CHRISTIANS about Islam, then. Cos, with the exception of 2 (and even that has differences between Sunni and Shi’a) they sure as hell aren’t Islamic ideologies.

      • These are not “ideologies”. They are interpretation of the Quran by some mullahs or ulemas. And the problem is not that we (all of us, not only christians) believe them to be or not to be teachings of the Quran. The problem is that they are rationals to accomplish murder. Therefore the intelligent thing to do is not to admonish our fellow citizens and blame their incomplete culture. It is to convince murderers that they are murderers and not fighters of the faith.

  111. Pingback: Some interesting reading on Charlie Hebdo | Jillian C. York

  112. So we have to defend the religion that says this:

    “So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens. That [is the command]. And if Allah had willed, He could have taken vengeance upon them [Himself], but [He ordered armed struggle] to test some of you by means of others. And those who are killed in the cause of Allah – never will He waste their deeds.”

    Quran 47:4, http://quran.com/47/4

    I think the ones who are *not* Islamophobic are the ones who don’t know what Islam actually says.

  113. This piece of mediocre sophistry is fundamentally flawed. The Je suis Charlie tagging spree is a spontaneous collective response to a particularly vicious attempt to silence free speech. If you feel the need to quote Adorno or Kierkegaard or analyse details in Voltaire’s biography in order to decide what precise tag you’ll wear, something tells me you’re probably lacking in that most humane of dispositions Charlie Hebdo always stood for: sense of humour!

    • yes, fine, but it doesn’t mean that “sense of humour” is tasteful or no offensive. the article says we have a right to be offended and not to be offended therein lies the rub. i can self-sensor if i find something offensive. We should then allow for nazis and racists to publish offensive materials as well but we dont in western society. .allow all or allow none. i say allow all but that does not mean we are permitted to violence.

  114. Reblogged this on amarllyis and commented:
    So all Muslims have to post #JeSuisCharlie obsessively as penance, or apologize for what all the other billion are up to.”

  115. I think reprinting the drawings is not so much a show of solidarity as a message that voices will not be censored. The perpetrators tried to shut up certain opinions, but by reprinting them, the papers are showing that the opinions will persevere. They don’t have to agree with the original opinion to convey THIS message. I can’t help making a comparison to when the Dursleys’ home was flooded with letters after they tried to prevent Harry from reading it. That being said, I think it would be narrow-minded to baselessly accuse or condemn any person or institution for NOT openly taking a stand. “Silence speaks louder than words” is just a saying. Sometimes, it’s just silence.

  116. Interesting article. I clicked on your link for Nigel Farage’s comments and I think you completely misrepresent him. He’s very obviously not talking about Muslims generally in the comment you quote. I have no love for the man and wish he didn’t exist but let’s get it right, shall we?

  117. Pingback: Follow Friday – Charlie Hebdo | from the sticks to the bricks and back again

  118. Calling Richard Dawkins an Islamophobe is as ignorant and judgemental a statement as any.. It just shows the writers own bias.. But I won’t kill him for it.

    • i like Dicky Dawkins, but to be fare, he’s made some pretty prejudicial statements showing his contempt for all of islam not just the radical fundamentalists. the difference is how the radicals in islam deal with their offended sense whereas other religious fundamentalists dont resort to violence in nearly the volume that radical islam is currently doing.

      • Yes but he has made such comments about all religions. He is anti-religion, not an Islamophobe. Labeling Dawkins as such is a manipulative way of adding credence to the writer’s position.

  119. There is a misunderstanding about the true meaning of the hashtag “Je suis Charlie”. You don’t have to share the ideas of this paper in order to post it : the message is directed only to the terrorists : You tried to kill me (Charlie) but you failed : I am still alive ! And that’s it. So all comments about the contents of the journal or the misgivings of those who feel bullied into agreeing to this hashtag are simply missing the point.

    • I agree.
      It may be the mark of a gentleman not to give unnecessary offence, but to respond to a perceived insult by murdering the offender is not merely impolite
      but barbaric.

    • I think you are missing the point yourself. The heavy expectation of random individuals to share the same words, the suspicion of those who do not wish to or who disagree, the incredibly sad irony of the supposed championing of free speech via enforcing what others say (see the daily caller and tarek tweets above)…! The requests that the random billion+ worldwide muslims ought apologise and take responsibility for the actions of two individuals. The social media politics where a click convinces us we have done our bit for the world. I think this is an excellent piece.

      • I don’t say that comments or misgivings are wrong or inacurate : what I said is that they miss the point because they do not understand that this hashtag is a direct answer to the murderers : you failed ! You tried to kill freedom of thought and you failed because that idea is immortal ! And to be clear : the message of “I am not Charlie” is the opposite : Charlie is definitely dead, who cares ?

  120. While I condemn the brutal killings, I did not endorse Charlie Hebdo before and I will not endorse it now. As it makes no sense for the killers to become martyrs, there is no sense for the paper to become the symbol of European values.

  121. A long piece of indigest literature that just misses the point, only to provoke a sterile debate..
    i don’t think that person understand the simplicity of “jesuischarlie”… It’s not about accusing or defending anyone or liking the cartoons. It’s about uniting for free speech/artistic freedom. If anybody wants to blame a community, they’re wrong. Voltaire has nothing to do here. Nobody asked muslims to apologize; but there ARE people happy about that massacre though.
    Why talk about racist comments to justify a pseudo stance like “I’m not Charlie”?
    What a poseur attitude that can only dilute the debate in moronic arguments.
    It’a all about some form of unity against violence, bigotry and in defense of free speech.
    The Norwegian massacre drew people, as you point out, the NAACP bomb was diluted. Shame on that but it’s an american racist phenomenon.
    You’re missing the point.

  122. this article completely misses the point. #jesuischarlie is just a show of solidarity for the victims. That is all.

    The main point of the article seems to be to warn against homogenizing Muslims into one group. Fair enough. But the author then homogenizes all critics of Islam into one group too. I can criticize Islam justly, without being a racist, or an islamophobe. Criticizing Islam does not make me a reactionary right wing politician, or a Koran burner.

    The author asks why white people don’t condemn actions of their own race. Well, I do. All the time. This is a hugely complex issue but on some level Muslims need to own this, instead of blithely stating “it’s not about religion” and complaining of having to defend their religion. Don’t want to defend your religion? Then don’t. Criticize it. It’s liberating.

  123. You would be well-advised to think about whether or not it is productive to criticize people for engaging in their only, perhaps quasi, political act ever. Until the real left gets better at PR and people management, it will remain “the far left.” You should only tell a person that they are not activist ENOUGH after having assessed whether or not that particular individual is or is not ready to become active on the next level (preferably after having personally encouraged them to do so.) Praise the good. People making “Je suis Charlie” their facebook icon is “the good,” despite its not being “good enough.” Get it? Got it? Good.


  125. I must agree with Jean-Claude. Ironically, this act has publicized these cartoons to a way larger audience than the usual readership (as happened too when an obscure Danish newspaper published cartoons that caused similar offence). If the aim was to damp down on disrespectful renditions of the prophet, they have done the exact opposite.

    What we have today is an odd disconnect between the people who run these fundamentalist religious campaigns totally getting the power of modern communication, then using it in a way that has the opposite effect to the message they are proclaiming. Instead of putting a stop to cartoons that offend them, they have broadcast them to the entire world and turned the people who published the cartoons into heroes, when previously most would have characterised them as cartoonists of poor taste.

    The only real reason this particular event has attracted a disproportionate response compared e.g. to Boko Haram’s mass kidnapping of schoolgirls, also an atrocious crime, or the American Taliban (Christian extremists) murdering doctors who perform abortions, is the media react viscerally to an attack on their own because any attack on the media, if left unanswered makes the rest of them vulnerable.

    It is also not terribly clear to me why offending a religion is racist. I have yet to see this point explained, and several have made it. Religion may be something you are (mostly) born into. But it is not something like skin colour that you cannot escape. To the extent that some religions have vicious responses to apostasy, maybe you can’t trivially escape the religion you are born into, but it is still not an indelible marker like skin colour or ethnic identity. And indeed vicious attitudes to apostasy are themselves a rights violation.

  126. There isn’t a total freedom speaking of freedom of expression. There are some boundaries. You need to have common sense and pay a little respect.

    • There are also the the boundaries of the law. But neither common sense nor respect dictate that you should patronise your audience and consider them as unintelligent children, unable to cope with any kind of criticism ! The aim of the cartoons is not and never has been to “offend” others, it is and always has been to provoke doubt about so-called “truthes of the faith” and doubt itself is the beginning of every true intellectual research. If you cannot doubt, you cannot think !

    • Who said that it “demands” endorsement ? You are free to analyse the motivations and criticize them but if you think that the people who publish this hashtag do it against their free-will and without really thinking about it and the consequences of their endorsement, just because the huge number of people leads you to believe that it is only a fashionable thing to do and it would be smart to distance yourself from it, just remember the universal reaction in the world after september 11th or the germans after the fall of the wall, or the people of Paris in the Streets in August 1944 !

  127. I agree with Jean-Claude, “Je suis Charlie” shows how we stand together across France and its borders in unity. That is all that matter – you are analysing a dignify and simple response too much.
    PS – no specific people should be asked to apologise for the crime of others, most do it for humanity across demography, gender and religion. I have often felt ashamed at the cruelty of the human race in general and sometimes in awe of its courage and goodness. Hope will always prevail in my heart.

  128. Pingback: La tristesse d’une Française musulmane | À l'encre bleu lavande

  129. If you are a muslim, you are a terrorist. Because Islam is based on terror. Your soul not going to heaven if you dont believe is terror and indoctrination is terror by definition. Almost all religions are based on terror, the only difference is the magnitude of terror.

  130. The first part almost lost me, it just sounds like a Tumblr rant. The second half or so is actually well written and contains an interesting point. Personally I haven’t participated is #jesuischarlie or basically any other ‘campaign’ like it, I think people who mindlessly participate in anything is strange at least and undermining the cause at most. Just look at the feminism and anti-feminism campaigns on the internet. Your comparison of modern Muslims to Jews was interesting, I knew nothing of Voltaire’s antisemitism. However, taking your word for it I think it is a fine point. We always criticize and think less of the past people who were antisemitic or some other thing that is no longer a popular view point, but then we turn around and do the exact same thing. As far as comedy and it’s being above prejudices, I think it is easily influenced by prejuidice. you never see a devout christian posting the christians 1 atheists 0 meme. It is always someone who disagree with them. I think that should be allowed, people from different sides of an issue can make jokes about each other. As far as freedom of speech, I in no way support the attack, but everyone who claims a right to freedom of speech has to recognize; just because you can say whatever you want doesn’t mean you should say it. There are still consequences to what you say. If I went and started insulting someone on the street, they might hit me, they might shoot me, they might call the police, or just walk away and think I am a jerk. There are still consequences though.

    • You’re a moron. So what are you going to do now, moron? You’re going to hit me, is that the consequence of me pointing out your stupidity? Because if you are then you’re a CRIMINAL because hitting someone is assault and battery and against the law. If on the other hand you are just going to call me an arsehole, then I salute you sir because you are a free man. Do you get it now?

  131. You seem to be implying that some people who believe in #JeSuisCharlie are saying and doing bad things, therefore if you as an individual post #JeSuisCharlie then you support their points, or at least appear to. That, if you quote Voltaire, then you carry the burden of his opinions on other matters. I understand that if you carry a flag you should know what it means, but people pour out expression for personal reasons, people want to associate with an action because they have had personal experience, and the depth to which another individual will look at a flag and dig out it’s history and apply their own labels is never under your control. There will always be those who pervert an idea, should we label all those who do under that banner? Should we ignore our own draws to symbolism, our own links to events, and our need to show others that we, like them, have been moved by a situation. Or should we treat each person as an individual and not assume their belief, or way of expressing it, lumps them in with a crowd. Looking at it this way, your article is one of the most ironic things I have ever read. Interesting though.

  132. I doubt the assassins had the illusion that they could stop CH. Their action was IMO solely meant to spread fear and discord. It looks like it worked.

    • I doubt it worked ! Yes, there is discord and fear, but discord and fear were already there before !
      When I see all the fliers “Je suis Charlie” everywhere in town and so many people flooding the Streets and squares to show their solidarity I am sure, even without waiting to know the numbers and the result of tommorow’s public manifestation, that the terrorists have lost their bet !

  133. While I believe, the attack is barbaric, I would say, the French and the rest of the west is highly discriminating towards Muslims. I am an atheist born in a muslim family. While a cartoon about Mohammed doesn’t bother me, I know for sure that too many muslims are bothered. Until recently, many pious muslims in my place refused to be photographed as they felt that violated the prophet’s insistence on no pictures about him. As stupid as that is, they too can have a choice.

    I saw France and the Europe responding in a particular unified way against the quenelle gesture by Nicolas Anelka. If right to draw , no matter what who it hurts , is so much defended, why was Anelka in the wrong for patting his shoulder? Heck, he was even ousted of his job.

    Why was the right to wear a veil by muslim women not defended? Sure they look uncomfortable, but why should we care if they fancy wearing it? I believe, right to expression is a powerful philosophy and like all philosophies should have that constancy across the board. If the west is sensitive to what can hurt the jews, they have the ability to be sensitive about what can hurt a muslim too. I am not Charlie and neither am I a terrorist.

  134. I could agree with you, but then we’d both be wrong!

    Explain to me how a cartoon of the Prophet entitled “Mohammed overwhelmed by Fundamentalists”, and showing him thinking “Why am I loved by assholes” is racist in any way/shape/form ?

    Unlike Newspapers, which job it is to report the News, and which most have failed to do by refusing to print one single cartoon which prompted the murders (not out of conviction, but out of cowardice), you’re only a blogger… so who cares?

  135. There’s a lot of good sense here, but you also seem to fall into your own trap of “seeing people not as individuals, but as symbols” by attacking Charlie Hebdo’s satirical attacks on what you patronisingly and sentimentally seem to view as a homogenous Muslim community.

    Apart from relatively few converts, specific faiths are indigenous to particular cultures. It’s beyond credulity to claim that the geographical specificity of faiths arises from free will. Yet within each of these communities there will inevitably be a diversity of people. So who speaks for those of little or no faith arbitrarily trapped in a close-knit family or community? And, yes, plenty of these people exist, often afraid to speak out, and then haltingly and anonymously.

    Of course there is prejudice against comparatively weaker or smaller social groups, but within those groups there’s still a hierarchy of oppression (to use an embarrassingly old-fashioned word I’ve been keeping in mothballs since the 1970s). The devout believer who feels like a victim in a secular society may well be perceived as a persecutor by a child who doesn’t share those beliefs.

    The ridicule of satirists is not aimed at individuals (except in the case of politicians and public figures who choose to put themselves in the area of public debate), but at ideas and unquestioned beliefs. The bawdy, reckless, childish nature of satire is a deliberate undermining of the arrogant, unearned demands of respect from faiths which often show no respect for others.

    So long as religious beliefs are propagated through school indoctrination, social and family pressure or emotional blackmail (“if you don’t believe x, you’re wicked”), they forfeit their claim to special respect. Once faiths are scattered randomly throughout the world, because they’ve been chosen freely after a genuine search for truth, then respect will have been earned.

    My dog in this fight, as they say, is as a gay man who for decades has been obliged to listen to clerics describe me and those I love as “lower than animals”, and even deserving of execution. In true Voltairean spirit, I defend the right of people to say this, much as it terrifies me. Equally, I demand the right to pull the rug from beneath these privileged pontificators in the hope they’ll fall over and reveal they’re not wearing knickers.

    Ridicule not violence.

    • Exactly! As a gay man, I am disgusted by religious beliefs — specifically the big three. Islamic theocracies literally kill and torture LGBT people. Christians in Uganda are doing the same. Right-wing christians in the US denigrate LGBT people at every opportunity. Catholicism refuses to accept us as full human beings despite the fact that gay men run the organization. Orthodox Jews are also very homophobic. The book of leviticus, which is usually the first biblical admonition against homosexuality, is part of the torah, the old testament, and a foundational book of Islam. While many christians, jews and muslims may be gay-friendly, no one demands that leviticus be removed from religious canons even though it causes acts of violence toward gay people. It also condones slavery and has a long list of bizarre sexual mores. And yet, it is still “the word of god.” Religious doctrines and beliefs have no bearing to rational thought or even reality. I strongly encourage satirists of every stripe to mock these dangerous institutions.

      While “I am Charlie” may be a simplistic avatar of sorts, I think it is dabbling in hyperbole to extrapolate heinous intentions from it. My understanding is that it just means people are not going to be forced into silence by the whims of religious or governmental entities.

    • I’m not smart enough to speak eloquently in all of this, but I must say I love this line—“Equally, I demand the right to pull the rug from beneath these privileged pontificators in the hope they’ll fall over and reveal they’re not wearing knickers.”
      And I say that as a Christian who doesn’t want to be lumped in with the ultra-conservative right-wingers. Blessings.

    • Your take on this issue is amazingly on pare with CH’s editorial lines that many foreigners here have a lot of difficulties to understand. I would also advise you to research on CH’s mockery of the clerics that has been also an important part of their work even if foreign medias conveniently ignore it.

  136. This is pure demagogy, you keep using the word RACISM. You can’t chose or change your race. Religions are not races. They are belief systems.
    I live in a muslim country and my whole family are muslims, but I read and studied the koran and decided to leave the way of Islam because of the hate it spreads.
    Go on, continue like this, the world really needs demagogues like you…

    • If it’s not racism explain this…

      I accept that race is not a choice, religion is. However, I left Islam a long time ago yet I can’t change my appearance. I am still an Arab. Because of current feelings towards Islam in the western environment I live in and the way I look, I am sometimes the target of snide anti-islamic abuse and preconceived judgment. Regardless of the fact I belong to no -ism of any sort and don’t prescribe to a belief system, I am still subjected to ignorance. Ignorance that I have no problem labelling as racism, because it’s a form of hatred and bigotry thrown at me based on something I can’t change…unless I wore a fucking t-shirt that explicitly said I’m not a muslim.

      It’s racism.

  137. L..S: embrace ethics; let go morals. We can just recognize the ones gone beyond our abillities to see there face and movements, in our quilt towards these persones before they fossilized for us. We’re alive and have no knowlegde of what dead is. After people die, we grieve based upon where we neglected to feel the appeal to help them when they needed us.

    It’s in the shelter of eachother (since 2015 one word) that everything lives. Time to spread new ethical words.


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  139. Do we really have freedom of speech in the West? Or do we really have selective freedom of speech? For example if we really want to exercise freedom of speech, should we not allow al Qaeda and and ISIS propaganda be broadcast to the wider public? Or should be allow radical Islamic preachers preach inflammatory sermons? Or would we think its perfectly ok to publish anti Semitic or homophobic cartoons for a laugh all in the name of freedom of speech? Of course not!

    What happened in Paris is a disgrace, and no one should ever die for a few drawings, however if you put your hand out to get slapped, more than likely it will get slapped! Publishing those cartoons, was nothing to do with freedom of speech, it was pure racist arrogance, and highly disrespectful to the Muslim community. If somebody asked you not to do something or call them something because it made them feel uncomfortable, common manners would make you oblige. The same common decency should be shown when interacting with people of a different ethnic or religious group, Mutual respect for our Muslim neighbours and what they hold sacred would of avoided all this hate.

    Je ne suis pas Charlie, je suis en enfant de la monde, la meme de tout le monde! respect!

    • Well, they didn’t actually get their hand slapped, did they? They got butchered, is more like it. But then again they did show irreverence towards “common manners”… Thank you very much, “enfant du monde”, for reminding us that hurting other people’s feelings is indeed very bad.

      • Ps: should my previous comment have made you feel “uncomfortable” in any way, please feel free to come (to Paris) and shoot me down with a kalachnikov. I did have it coming.

    • Once again someone calls the cartoons “insulting”, “offending” without having seen them or understanding that they were not aimed at the muslims as such but reacting to atrocities or absurdities already commited by fundamentalists of any kind ! Like in the case of Salman Rushdie almost no one had read the original text before expressing either hatred or sympathy because for the ones it would have been a sin to read the “blasphem” and for the others it was impossible to find a copy after the fatwa had terrorised the booksellers into suppressing it. In his book “Joseph Anton” Salman remembers that many years later he happened to be able to speak to one of the Young muslims who were demonstrating at that time who confided that he had not read that book, and when he did so, many years later, he could not imagine what all the fuss was !

    • If someone said they’d rather I didn’t burp in their face or play One Direction at 100 decibels then fair enough. However if i want to burp not in their face but in their presence or listen to One Direction on my ipod then tough. Likewise, I should be allowed to blaspheme, not in your face, but where is appropriate. Charlie Hebdo is a satirical magazine printed in a secular country. it’s only in your face because you want it to be due to the fact that you are offended not by blasphemy, but by everyone who doesn’t agree with your view of the world.

    • “If somebody asked you not to do something or call them something because it made them feel uncomfortable, common manners would make you oblige”

      Those common manners you speak of is actually ‘fear’. Now here’s the opposing viewpoint: If I am an atheist, who also believes in speaking his mind, because not doing so makes me uncomfortable, shouldn’t my stance also be respected?

      If you don’t agree with the views of people, at worst you alienate yourself from them; you don’t kill them.

    • Same with rape. If a woman wears a short skirt and acts like a whore, she can’t complain when she “gets her fingers burned”. I mean, it’s the same thing, isn’t it?

    • No woman should ever be raped, *however* if she’s wearing a mini skirt…

      FYI Charlie Hebdo has ALWAYS been known for being at the forefront in denouncing racism!
      Did you just add to the already vivid imagination of this blog’s author by labeling Charlie homophobic?

      Isn’t it HIGHLY disrespectful to defame the dead cartoonists and those who are mourning them based on a rumor?

      Try an evidence-based approach: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2015/01/07/charlie_hebdo_covers_religious_satire_cartoons_translated_and_explained.html

  140. Makes sensible analysis of different reactions offered to the unfortunate Paris episode. However what is the objective? The first reaction of any right thinking citizen of any nationality will be to condemn the attack and express solidarity . By and large that is what people across the globe have done. And other than this most people can not do very much in such matters. It is only a minuscule who can immediately think beyond and analyse with a totally different perspective. So we should draw solace from the fact that instead of being indifferent, at least they have voiced their concern over such mindless killings.

    • The objective is to point out that we should not force others to conform to our version of what solidarity looks like. Just because everyone else is posting the pictures doesn’t mean everyone has to. And choosing not to post the pictures is not a statement of solidarity with the murderers. You’re right that the initial reaction by the majority was to voice concern, and they did that beautifully with the hashtag and pictures. But then many started looking around and condemning others for not conforming to those same actions, and when your force others to parrot you or be condemned, you have just removed their freedom of speech. Removing freedom of speech in an effort to support free speech is hypocrisy.

  141. So here’s the thing. I agree that something like this polarises people into camps, and that does not help meaningful discussion. But it must be seen that extremist muslims are still part of the broader group of muslims. The extremists voice what is sitting there in the broader group. This by the way is not just true of muslims but any collection of people who identify as part of a group.

    As a white person who grew up in Apartheid, I know first hand what it is like to tacitly be complicit with atrocities. White South African’s did not voice their displeasure with the government nearly enough. Yes, it would have been difficult to do so, but surely more could have been done.

    It is not okay for your average muslim to say I am just caught in the middle of polarised hatred. Muslims need to take a stand against this and say…not in my name.

    • “As a white person who grew up in Apartheid, I know first hand what it is like to tacitly be complicit with atrocities. White South African’s did not voice their displeasure with the government nearly enough. Yes, it would have been difficult to do so, but surely more could have been done.”
      I find this sentiment extraordinary and nauseating. Within the west Muslims are oppressed minorities (8% in France – the largest Muslim group in Europe), with very little power: yet you demand of them that they act in a way which you, by your own admission, were afraid or reluctant to act when you were in a position of power. And I love the word “displeasure” – 61 people massacred at Sharpeville, oh naughty Mr Verwoerd! I’m now going to slap your wrist and tell you that mustn’t do it again or I shall really get angry!
      Chancellor Merkel is by no means my favourite politician, but last week she spoke out strongly and, in my view, courageoously against the Islamophobic neo-nazis in Germany, who, in her words, “had hatred in their hearts”, were organising their vile and disturbingly large demonstrations. Sadly, there was, so far as I am aware, no massive support for her, or demands on President Hollande, or Prime Minister Cameron, to follow suit. I wonder: would we be having this debate now if there had been, and had Hollande and Cameron responded positively?

  142. “There is no “but” about what happened at Charlie Hebdo yesterday…but they exist on a different plane from physical violence,” Are fucking kidding me? Really? No buts but? It’s amazing that you don’t see the hypocrisy. Simply put, either everything can be made fun of or nothing should. If you pick and choose you are DISCRIMINATING. That means it’s not okay to poke fun at only rich people or just powerful people or just the government or just Muslims or just Gingers. That is targeting a group which is DISCRIMINATION. Everyone is on the table or no one is on the table. Watch fucking George Carlin. For fuck sakes this pisses me right the fuck off.

  143. Your are definitely Charlie! You support free speech and you’re against the terrorist attack. #jesuischarlie is just a demonstration of generalized solidarity, as you well said. Nobody wants to be anyone else. There are many ways to show indignation and solidarity towards what happened this is just one of them.

  144. paper-bird ,you dont understand humor , especially french humor , freedom of press and above all french secularism , congrats for your knowledge and bravery http://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/Id-rather-die-standing…

    ‘I’d rather die standing than live on my knees’: Charlie Hebdo, told in quotes -…

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  146. This a thoughtful and considered piece, but the question of how far racist cartoons should or should not be published is not, in fact, a point that’s even at at issue here because it’s based ona false preimse. Charlie Hebdo wasn’t a racist publication – when those people were shot, they were sitting in a meeting organising an anti-racist conference. They had been dedicated anti-racists for so long that one the murdered cartoonists, Cabu, actually gave mainstream French culture the word that is used to skewer small-minded racists (boeuf (short for beau-frère). Another, Georges Wolinksi, supported EU membership for Turkey and was described thus by Turkish journalist Ertuğrul Özkök: “He was never the enemy of any Muslim. On the contrary, he was one of the loudest voices supporting Muslim immigrants in France.” Their cartoons, about whose racism so many non-Francophone commenters are busily pontificating, are not satirising Muslim immigrants, they are satirising appalling right-wing prejudices about immigrants. If Charlie Hebdo was racist, Stephen Colbert is a Republican.

  147. You make some excellent points (actually the majority of this is very sound), but when you start calling Dawkins “Islamophobic” because he unashamedly debunks all religions with equal rigour (even if done in a needlessly twattish way), you only end up creating (at this point perpetuating, realistically) an atmosphere of self-censorship amongst those that don’t happen to agree with the prevailing “liberal” groupthink (which in many cases is one of “all people have equal rights, but historically oppressed minorities have more equal rights than others”). Likewise your conflation of of racism with the mocking of mysticism more generally.

    Which is why people then rally to the likes of Farage when he is the only one that will even have a discussion on topics that are otherwise social taboo, no matter how misguided his views are.

    • Well, the author’s points on Charlie Hebdo are even more ridiculous than those made about Dawkins!

      Enough said…

    • Charlie T. your comment “..when you start calling Dawkins “Islamophobic” because he unashamedly debunks all religions with equal rigour …” seems to be saying that if you oppose ALL religions then you can’t be opposing any one in particular.
      Which is a bit odd, isn’t it? It’s like saying if you don’t like colours in general then it’s wrong to say you don’t like red.

  148. “There is no “but” about what happened at Charlie Hebdo yesterday.” Great start! But then it turns out, that the rest of the piece is one big “but”. Including, but not limited to, cringeworthy statements like: “I am offended when those already oppressed in a society are deliberately insulted.” Yeah, the author seems to have bought into the terrorist propaganda.

  149. jesuischarlie doesnt mean that we become Charlie. It doesn’t meant that I now stand for the conveyed messages in the drawings (although for some I certainly can, for other may be not). What it really means is that we are identifiying ourselves with the values which allowed Charlie Hebdo to express and publish these drawings. And this is the point the article misses from the very beginning onwards, and therefore is flawed (although there are a lot very intersting ideas and points). But the conclusion “I am not Charlie” is based in that wrong understanding from the very beginning.

  150. I don’t think you really understood what the people were saying when they said I am Charlie. Charlie stands for freedom of expression, the possibility of saying something controversial, having an opinion, when the people say I am Charlie they are expressing that to stop the freedom of exoression they have to kill them too as killing journalists and cartoonists will not stop people being free thinking individuals. That killing innocents will unite us, not scare us.
    I find the Muslim pressure aspect of your blog an important point to iterate. Isis and other violent fundamentalists do not act in the terms of the Quran. Muslims aren’t violent ..extremists are.. Please leave Muslims alone and allow them to express themselves freely too…

  151. “Saying the President of the Republic is a randy satyr is not the same as accusing nameless Muslim immigrants of bestiality. ”

    Perhaps if you knew that the accusations made by Charlie Hebdo’s satire weren’t against nameless Muslim immigrants but mostly against nameless muslim EXTREMISTS.

    The true debate would never be at this level of misunderstanding of CH’s work that is spreading along with misinformation, but it would be about how cartoons, even with well intended messages against a certain group of fundamentalists can actually be misunderstood by the general population its form and harm the muslim population in France, and how cartoons need to come in the right package to deliver a clear message. Do you see the difference? It is subtle, and that is why french political satire needs to be taken into a context, with a history. For example, instead of only talking about the history of satire in France, it is crucial to talk about the history of CH’s satire and those of its cartoonists, which is well known among the defenders and the opposants of this magazine, this is where foreign take at this issue often loses its meaning. It is particularly important to know CH’s official and strong stance before writing ignorant idiocies.

    And your article is giant “but”.

  152. I feel a bit stupid now. I added that quote in my column but i did it because i thought it fitted in well with the situation. I didn’t know he didn’t write it.

  153. Thank you very much for this article – it disentangles so many difficult concepts expertly. These issues are so charged that it is difficult to sit down with them long enough for them to cool and be sorted through. You did that. And the need to counter kneejerk anti-terrorism reactions arises so often, ever since 9/11 (and before that as well, but the stakes changed after that), that I find it almost impossible to take the time to pick them apart. I really appreciate you having taken the effort to do so.

  154. I must say I totally agree with your sentiments. I like the rest of the world deplore the attack on and murder of these people.

    That said, I had never heard of Charlie Hebdo before this week and what I have seen of their satirical cartoons since then I have found pretty distasteful.

    Sadly this is not sticking up for free speech, it is sticking up for racism, homophobia, Islamaphobia and anti-semitism

  155. We are all individuals that come to the “table” with our own million big and small indentions on our psyche with which our lives have been impacted. I’ve known my husband for 40 years, been married to him for 37; we had similar religious upbringings, came from middle-class, white families, and we enjoy so many of the same things. We quote lines to each other from televsion shows, movies, and comedic routines that no one else would understand in the context we use them…and yet, we have to be committed to living together in peace and respect every day because we are still individuals with our own thoughts, feelings and beliefs.
    Living “peacefully” with those whom we have very little in common will take a Herculean effort, and quite honeslty, I don’t think most humans are interested in the toil of that project. Esteeming others as at least as good as ourselves—that is not in mankind’s nature.

  156. Just because people did not react to Norway’s attack the same way they reacted to the Paris events does it mean the latter is not worthy? You have a point: we should show our outrage at every sign of inhumanity, not plainly the opposite.

  157. “Saying the President of the Republic is a randy satyr is not the same as accusing nameless Muslim immigrants of bestiality. ”

    Perhaps if you knew that the accusations made by Charlie Hebdo’s satire weren’t against nameless Muslim immigrants but mostly against nameless muslim EXTREMISTS.

    The true debate would never be at this level of misunderstanding of CH’s work that is spreading along with misinformation, but it would be about how cartoons, even with well intended messages against a certain group of fundamentalists can actually be misunderstood by the general population its form and harm the muslim population in France, and how cartoons need to come in the right package to deliver a clear message. Do you see the difference? It is subtle, and that is why french political satire needs to be taken into a context, with a history. For example, instead of only talking about the history of satire in France, it is crucial to talk about the history of CH’s satire and those of its cartoonists, which is well known among the defenders and the opposants of this magazine, this is where foreign take at this issue often loses its meaning. It is particularly important to know CH’s official and strong stance before writing ignorant idiocies.

    And your article is giant “but”.

  158. Please explain what is racist about Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons. They dished out against all religions and cultures. Please also explain why should I care that you find it offensive. Being offended is whining, it’s useless, it’s pointless. Anyone can be offended by anything. Be offended, so what? Be an adult.

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