Today, I decided to pause from the regular flow of activity here at A Style Study and take a minute to talk about something I have been thinking a lot about the past few days: the terrorist attack in Paris, France this past Wednesday.
For those of you who are less familiar with the story, on January 7, three extremists opened fire at the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Charlie Hebdo is publication known for its radical point of view and controversial satire, and the attack is thought to have been motivated by a recently published cartoon portraying the prophet Mohammed. The attack claimed twelve lives total, leaving many others injured. A majority of the casualties were Charlie Hebdo staff members, including the magazine’s editor and some cartoonists, but two police officers were killed as well. The shooting sent shockwaves throughout the world, and has called into question the dangers that come along with free speech and creative license.
This terrible story has been bothering me all week. Maybe it’s the tragic irony of the whole thing: a direct attack on free speech and creative expression in Paris of all places, a city that over the years has served as the home and inspiration of countless creative icons (and iconoclasts!). It’s likely that my reaction also stems from the that fact that I have a blog. As someone who puts their thoughts and, occasionally, opinions out there on the Internet every day, I would be a fool not to feel the magnitude of the Charlie Hebdo attack.
Regardless of exactly what prompted me to do so, it was really important to me that I write this post. Let me get something straight: I in no way believe in degrading someone else’s faith. Even more than that, however, I do not believe in taking someone’s life because their words upset you. The perpetrators of the Paris attack did so out of pure disregard for one of our most basic human rights: free speech. Claiming the lives of eight cartoonists and journalists on Wednesday was their way of trying to get us to sacrifice this right. As citizens of the world, we cannot allow them to do so. By now you have no doubt heard if #jesuischarlie, the slogan shared by millions in response to the tragedy at Charlie Hebdo. I encourage you all to post this hashtag, be on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, anywhere where you can your voice heard. This is one hundred times bigger and more important than just another social media trend. This is the world, refusing to be silenced in the face of attack.
Please, join the fight to protect what is so rightfully ours. After all, nous sommes tous Charlie.
We are all Charlie.