Seen from Paris, blog about Paris
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They knew exactly where to hit: two braindead assholes slaughter 12 in the heart of French symbol of Liberté
Voilà. Just like a Greek tragedy, we knew it was going to happen, and it just did. It’s been years now that Charlie Hebdo, a French weekly newspaper, has been threaten of death by all kinds of lunatics around the planet. Why? Because, in 2006, they had the guts to show a few Danish cartoons representing the prophet Muhammad in all kinds of humorous, witty and news related attitudes. Because, technically, they said that freedom of the Press, freedom of speech and freedom of Opinion are above anything else, including religion. And because they would not give bastards the pleasure to make them stop.
Where they not afraid? Of course they were afraid. We’re talking about artists, intellectuals, people up to 75 and 82 yo, who despised war and violence. We’re talking about people that stood up for what we’ve been fighting for in the past 300 years: Freedom, Peace and the Pursuit of Happiness. And always remember, you cannot be brave if you are not afraid.
Charlie Hebdo is technically the only newspaper I was suscribed to. Ok, that was a gift from my Friend Alexis, but it didn’t happened by chance. We are part of the enlightened world. The world in which we all have, at a certain age, some kind of an epiphany that makes us realize that religion is susperstition, that secularism is the only key to a multicultural society, which is what the world is aiming to be, and that respect and moral is entirely encapsulated in this simple construct: ” One person’s freedom stops where another one’s starts”. But most of all, we share the idea that anything can be laughed at. And that if someone is not happy about our laughters, or about our criticisms, well, there are legal ways of getting us to apologize or to shut up, if needed. That’s what democracy is about: You say what you want, but you are responsible for it.
When Charlie Hebdo published the cartoons of the prophet in 2006, different Muslim associations sued the newspaper. That was the way to do it; the offense of Blasphemy doesn’t exist anymore in France (except in Alsace and Lorraine, darn), and they lost their action, but they were right to do it. Because you always have a right to disagree.
Today, the gate of hells have opened, there’s a shooting every day, it’s hard to understand wether it’s related to Islamic terror or not, but in a country that is by and large an extremely peaceful one, it’s a shock. Besides, the quality of the people killed, 5 extremely good and popular cartoonists, one of the few economists who understands that humans are in the center of the system and not companies, and two cops who died doing their jobs in the most heroic fashion, as well as the 4 others casualties, add to our national and international dismay and sadness.
But what’s next? I don’t believe in the war on terror, just like I don’t believe in the war on drugs. Tanks and bombings will never stop two individuals from making a bloodbath if they want to. There’s been terror before, and there will be terror after. Changing one little thing to our habits is to give them victory. Again, we may be afraid, but we have to be brave, and we have to know that terror, just like life, will always find a way.
I want also to write my sympathy to the Muslim world, by and large. Non, you are not responsible, and you did not do it. The crazies who kill in the name of Islam are betraying Islam, and we are well aware of both the History of Tolerance of the muslim world when we were the religious fanatics bastards, and the fact that we are building a perfectly sound secular nation here, together. I know that some people will use this against all muslims, as it has already started with Mosk churchs attacks yesterday; as I said, we are surrounded by assholes. But we outnumber them, because we are Charlie, and we are legions.
I want, however, to ring an alarm bell. it seems that in the past years, it became normal to consider that there was “another way” than democracy. Democracy as in power to the People. In real democracies, there is less effort to educate the masses and give them the tools to think by themselves, which is the only wall against manipulation and tyranny. In a real democracies also, it seems that economical growth and companies have becommed more important than the people, which is a betrayal of democracy itself. But in other countries, the mere concept of democracy is questionned. In dictatorship, of course, but even in placed where democracy seemed to be picking up, like Turkey or Russia. It seems that more and more, the idea of reducing the people’s power, and having authoritarian systems, is enticing. And it seems that this is building up precisely against our traditional western democracies.
Democracy seems to have lost its appeal for a lot of people worldwide, from the Russians to some of the kids in Paris’s suburbs. At this point, it might be also a good signal to start cleaning our own living room. From Guantanamo to Snowden, from Lobbying to poor post-war strategies in different countries, we have a lot of room for improvement. But it is also time to remember the basis of democracy, its values, and what it brings to the people. Anyone who loves Democracy must be an agent of it, by its words or by its action. Each time one of us puts a limit to freedom, for religious, political or economical reasons, he or she falls on the dark side of the Force. Freedom is a light, and we must make it shine. If a strategy against terror will work, if there is one, then it’s this one.
Charlie Hebdo’s signature was to be over the top. They had no limits to whatever joke they wanted to make, and you will often hear: I support Charlie Hebdo but I disagree with their ways. The truth is that most people didn’t read Charlie Hebdo (they were almost bankrupt in fact) and they repeat what they heard about the newspaper. But anyone who opened it could hardly disagree, as it was always a lesson of humanism. A lesson that ended in a bloodbath.
I am French. Part of my legacy is over a millenium of bigotry and slaughters, part of my legacy is over millenium of enlightment and slaughters. It hasn’t been transmitted by my genes, it’s an acquired feeling, and anyone can be French. But to be French is to be Free, and to be Free means to have the right to say what you want, not matter how hardcore it sounds. That’s why killing Charlie was killing a part of me.
In that matter, kudos to all of the newspapers, worlwide, who have shown some of the original Prophet cartoons. That’s the feeling guys. That’s how you decide to sit on the right side of the Force. That’s how you claim your freedom. That’s what Cabu, Charb, Tignous or Wolinsky died for. On the other hand, those who show them while blurring them, that’s killing Charlie a second time ( here is an article in French pointing at the Telegraph in the UK or the NY Daily News: Article ) Again, do not bargain with Freedom. Never.
So in the next days we will mourn, we will talk, we will laugh, we will argue, and we will say whatever the fuck we want to, because this is une putain de démocratie. And it’s not two fanatic “connards” who will make that change. Charlie will survive (or else I will have to ask Alexis for another birthday gift, and I know him, he will write Charlie himself not to have to do this.) And if he does not, well I will write the next release of Charlie myself.
They wanted to silence our democracy?
They only made us stronger.
Peace, freedom, reason and the pursuit of happiness will prevail. (at least in France)
And guys,you bunch of crazy funny hippies that made us laugh and think for decades, we will miss you, but we will keep the light up.
(and now I fart in the general direction of fanatics… Just like we do here!)