My soul is bruised. Sometimes I do not realize how lucky I am to live in a country where freedom of speech and humanism are still taken for granted. Those past days have left me disgusted as a handful of bloodthirsty madmen were trying to gun down the foundations of our core values.
Crowds who are now claiming to be Charlie, were disgusted as well. Since Wednesday, following Paris-based satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, spontaneous demonstrations are sweeping across the world. They are proving that strangers can join hands, shouting loud and clear “I Am Charlie“. Suddenly it seems like words as compassion, solidarity, tolerance and freedom are really bulletproof.
Even if hate drags shreds of bitterness, there is no way we can put flags of non violence at half-mast. There is no way we can stigmatize those who are practising their religion with respect for others’ beliefs.
Last May, the Jewish Museum in Brussels was targeted by a terrorist. Just like a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, three years ago. There was now a carnage at Charlie Hebdo, a hostage crisis in a French printing company and a Jewish supermarket. Fundamentalism has hit our healthy inclination towards irreverence but also stimulated our thirst for freedom. Barbarians wanted to revive our fears by destabilizing the foundations of democracy. They eventually regenerated our vital need for expression.
Fed by a minority of murderers, fascism will never succeed in destroying awareness or muzzling our yearning to think or laugh… although we now all know that we may seriously die laughing. Who will kill humor when it is no doubt that it is human nature… The carefree era may be gone but impertinence is just as topical as ever.
Religions are different in form, yet the basics are binding us together, through the best aspects of our humanity. I suppose God is love in all religions. So how can a decent man kill his neighbor in the name of a god? None can justify inhumanity. Those who think they can stifle free speech with the clash of the rifles, are way off the mark. You cannot hide freedom of thought under a carpet of blood. Let us speak to each other. Let us reach out for the others. Let us try to understand. Let us respect each other.
A cry is a bomb. When a voice is silenced, when a pencil is broken, millions of individuals are waking up with a start, as from a nightmare. At last, freedom of expression is back, stronger and even more determined. Wolinski, Cabu, Charb, Tignous and the others are not dead. Because weapons will never erase a drawing, a work of art, an expression of human unique sensitivity. Because free speech is more powerful than obscurantism. The seeds of terror may be sown, they will never bloom. Ever.