“Je Suis Charlie”, “Je Suis Ahmed”, “Je Suis Juif”. “I am Charlie, I am Ahmed, I am a Jew”.
Phrases that go around the world. All are valid symbols of solidarity for the victims of the recent spate of attacks in France by terrorists seeking to shut down free thought, and ultimately free society. For all of us who are not in France, we still feel some pain for the senseless murders of people who were killed there.
Personally, I have been struggling to make sense of this and just how, and why someone would perpetrate these crimes, these acts of terror. It just simply amazes me that in the 21st Century I am seeing people still stuck in the 7th or 8th Century terrorizing and trying to enforce their will upon all of us. I mourn for the families of all of these people, people who in reality did nothing to deserve to be the objects of the heinous acts perpetrated against them. I cannot fathom just how someone can commit these horrific acts.
So, I think it is important that we repeat these lines and understand that really, this is who we are. In this instance, We are all “Charlie”, we are all “Ahmed” and we are all “Jews” (even people who are not Jewish). So what do I mean?
“Je Suis Charlie” – “We are Charlie”
Well most of us certainly are not writers or cartoonists at satirical magazines that to be honest often crossed the lines of good taste with their commentary and illustrations. Some people may in fact have been completely offended by what appeared in the pages of Charlie Hebdo. People on the Hard Left have even gone so far as to denounce Charlie Hebdo and while they say: “Well I would never condone the killings…. the magazine did contain objectionable material.” as if somehow that allows them to be more pure.
But really, even if one disagrees with what was printed in the pages of Charlie Hebdo, who amongst us has not said or written something to offend another person? Do we deserve to be shot in cold blood for something like that? Do those “scions” of political correctness deserve to be victims of this kind of terror just because they wrote or said something or insulted another persons faith or beliefs? Are the folks who sit in judgement of Charlie Hebdo and the commentary found therein so blind as to not see that someone could simply turn on them and make the same accusations as the Islamists made of those they consider heretics?
No… we are all Charlie. Why? Because we are human and just because we do or say something that rubs someone the wrong way, we do not deserve to be shot down for it. Whether one agrees with what that magazine published or stood for or not, they certainly did not deserve what happened. And thus we should all stand in solidarity against the lunatics who perpetrated this crime and act of terror as way to send the message to them that this will not be tolerated and we will not run in fear from them.
“Je Suis Ahmed” – “I am Ahmed”
Who was Ahmed? He was Ahmed Merabet a 42 year old Muslim Police Officer from Livry-Gargan in North East Paris. He was the police officer in the video seen around the world, who was shot during the attack on Charlie Hebdo and while he lay wounded and pleaded for his life he was executed in cold blood by the killers. Of course the irony of the killers executing a fellow Muslim in the name of Islam is not lost on anyone. But what is important here is that Mr. Merabet as a officer of the law died defending the rights of the very people that ridiculed his religion.
As the Daily Mail reported:
Mr Merabet was one of 12 people killed in the terrifying attack, including eight journalists at the offices of the French satirical newspaper, two guests, and one other policeman.
Tributes for Mr Merabet continuing pouring in today, with one person writing: ‘RIP Ahmed Merabet, French policeman, murdered protecting people in Paris’, while Alan Mendoza said: ‘Important to note that amid the carnage today a brave Muslim policeman was murdered by those claiming to represent Islam.’
It is a tribute to Mr. Merabet that he acted to defend the people of Paris, even in the face of having his faith ridiculed by these very people. What would be more of a tribute to Mr. Merabet would be for all of us to have the courage to stand up for the rights of those we disagree with, even if we are deeply offended by those people. I do not know how Mr. Merabet felt about what was printed in Charlie Hebdo but I do know he died in uniform doing his job.
I only hope that we as individuals would also have the courage to protect the freedom and rights of those who we disagree with. Even those whose prose or art satirizes our very being. Still, in a civilized society, they should have that right to satirize our deepest beliefs and as members of said society we have a duty to defend that right. Because if we don’t… then how are we better than the killers who executed Mr. Merabet as he lay in the street? Because maybe we didn’t pull the trigger but we sure would be complicit if we allowed or supported that action.
And finally “Je Suis Juif” – “I am a Jew”
This is even more personal for me than saying “Je Suis Charlie”, or “Je Suis Ahmed”. Why? Well because I am a Jew… And I am proud of my heritage and my people. I am proud to stand up for what I believe and I am proud to be counted with the Jewish people though billions of people in the world may hate me just because of my blood.
The killer in the Kosher Grocery in France purposely gunned down people just because they were Jewish. There was no mercy given, Jews were his target. Nothing more, nothing less. He wanted to kill Jews. He wanted to scare us into cowering in fear, of what the Jihadi’s plan to do to us, because we as Jews had/have the courage to stand up for ourselves in our communities in the diaspora as well as those who founded and fought and died for the Nation of Israel.
But beyond that all of the people that stand in solidarity with us on this day are also all Jews, if even for just this minute. Why? Because it could have been them that were killed for their religion or cultural beliefs as we have been killed for centuries. All of those who stand in solidarity for just this minute in time can say this by standing up to the senseless terror of those who would kill another in a bigoted rage. And I for one stand with them and embrace them for standing with me.
We MUST NOT let these perpetrators of terror win. We must stand up for ourselves and fight those who would welcome our destruction. Today we must say with pride: “Je Suis Charlie, Je Suis Ahmed, and Je Suis Juif” in order to honor those who were slain and in order to sow the seeds of defeat for those who would attack us.