Two Months Since Charlie Hebdo


Why I May Not Be Charlie

Two months ago, extremists attacked police officers, civilians, and cartoonists. And France was in shock. Paris was suddenly flooded with a million more people for a march against the violence. Signs and posters were plastered everywhere saying "je suis Charlie." There were people lined up the next Wednesday at early hours in the morning people lined up to but as many issues of the magazine as they could. And soldiers were seen, and still are seen, everywhere in Paris. And I got flooded with emails and texts asking if I was alright, even though I personally never felt in any danger. I guess this is where I'm supposed to check my privilege. 

It saddens me to say this, but France is still a discriminatory nation. So I cannot imagine what it was like for Muslims after the attack. For days I did not see anyone, man or women, in any form of Muslim dress. What I am assuming is that many stayed home in fear of how many French people would react. And I see why. On signs I saw anti-Muslim and anti-Islamist graffiti. I heard on the news and on Facebook how many were blaming the religion as a whole for the doings of a few extremists. Extremists who the majority of the population do not share similar views with.

I witnessed a nation in mourning. I took part in a few moments of silence. But I did not take part in the march. Maybe the American in me didn't trust it because that's the easiest way to be in the middle of yet another attack. Maybe I'm not French enough to identify with the cause. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about free speech and I'm very anti-violence, I was scared that it could quickly turn into a hate rally. Thankfully, mostly people who supported free speech and solidarity against terrorism were at the march, but a few people went to blame the Muslim population for the attacks. And this is where I notice my privilege. I've never been forced to take accountability of what my race, what my religion, and what my ancestors have done. Have people blamed me personally for expelling the Jews from France in the 1400s? No. Have they blamed me personally for the years of segregation that took place in the United States? No. Yet many are expecting all Muslims to be held accountable for something done by people with a misunderstanding of the religion they claim to be a part of. See my privilege?

Opera Garnier, Paris
And of course there has been a big debate over the ethics of the magazine. Many can't believe it got attacked. Others say that they had it coming. Before I go any further, I don't condone violence of any kind, nor do I believed that Charlie Hebdo deserved what happened. The magazine is known for making satirical remarks of current events. That means drawing cartoons of recognizable figures. Many say that with all the jabs at Islam that the magazine has it coming. But the magazine was an equal opportunity racist, meaning that it attacked everyone. And this is where my opinion on the matter gets confused by many. I fully believe in freedom of speech. But I also believe that just because you can say it doesn't it mean you should. I am not for publicly attacking groups of people through satire or sarcasm. I don't believe in spreading hate even if it's funny. Even if it's intended to be though provoking, it still hurts people's feelings along the way. And hate breeds hate. So not for one second do I believe that the cartoonists deserved to die, I just don't think that I can sport a "je suis Charlie" sign in my window.

And I am not claiming to know what it's like to face these adversities. I can only say that I know that I don't know what it's like to walk in other people's shoes. And my heart not only goes out to those affected by the attacks, but to those who face discrimination every day because of centuries of hatred and closed minded ideals. And hopefully by writing a small post on this matter will help raise awareness on the issue of racism and discrimination in France, the United States and the world. 

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