France has gone thru a nightmare, a tragedy these past few days---which we need to understand and support her.
I annually do one blog on how many journalists were killed covering the news. It was 61 last year, with Syria as the most dangerous. Already this year we have lost the dozen cartoonists and staff of Charlie Hebdo to be listed in this year’s toll. As a journalist I am proud to stand with them and say “Je suis Charlie.” (I, too, am Charlie Hebdo.)
But let’s be clear. That magazine is way, way over the top for America and our political correctness these days. It couldn’t be sold on the UK campus, and its editors probably wouldn’t be invited to speak to any journalism class. Do you think Joel Pett could have a cartoon published in the Herald-Leader in which he drew Jesus in a pornographic situation? But that is exactly what Charlie has done, often, for the Prophet Mohammed. Maybe that explains the firebombing of its offices two years ago.
France is more tolerant of such over-the-top journalism. It was one of her great philosophers, Voltaire, who said "I don’t agree with you, but I will defend, with my life, your right to say it.” That is the truest spirit of free speech and free press…and it is the extremists who most often challenge us to keep on with that support.
But, drawing extreme cartoons and spouting unpopular expressions is one thing..killing people for their views is quite another. And it is here that the political extremists like the radical Muslims cross the line..as do many religious fundamentalists,. Including some supposedly Christian sects.
Let us remember...as the killers left Charlie’s offices, one of them spotted a wounded policeman on the sidewalk, and killed him, execution style. That cop was a Muslim, his name was Ahmed—doing his job to protect the cartoonists and people of Paris.
In the later shootout at the kosher grocery in Paris, a black Muslim store clerk, hid a dozen customers in a walk-in cooler, risking his life for them. Before we condemn all Muslims let us remember these people..and the chilling example of a young girl who wanted nothing but to go to school..before the Taliban got on her school bus and shot her in the head. Yes, Malala, of Nobel Peace Prize fame, is a Muslim, too.
Je Suis Charlie, Je Suis Ahmed, Je suit Voltaire.
I'm just sayin'...