Thursday, January 08, 2015

a brief pause

12 people were gunned down in Paris yesterday for what they wrote, or helped publish.  In other words, one of us.


  1. Thank you for posting this Janet. I have friends who are journalists in Paris, they're not the only ones taking this madness hard. The whole country is.

    It seems I ask myself more and more, what's this world coming to? Unfortunately, the answer is not pretty.

  2. Charlie Hebdo weekly satirized everything and everybody not just one specific thing.

  3. I don't know what to do. I feel sick and sad and confused and every day closer and closer to turning everything off and hiding.

  4. Because,
    I am a target. We all are.

    Twenty years ago we had to 'unlist' our phone number, look over our shoulders and hunker down until the winds of craziness blew over, because of something I wrote. I felt very brave and very scared.

    Two years ago it happened again, smaller scale, same subject. Personal circumstance may have changed my view but not my mission (that was back when I had a mission).
    Now I don't write about that stuff anymore. I'm not afraid of the jeopardy my writing puts ME in but I cannot, in my heart, do that to my family anymore.

  5. I've also read a surprising number of responses deflecting blame to other religions. But this wasn't the Christians fault or the Catholic's fault or a "Jewish problem." Deflecting blame--in itself--is dangerous.

    "We are all France."

  6. I recently reviewed a book, WHY LA? POURQUOI PARIS? I'm supposed to post the review on my blog once I have the answers to the questions I asked of the writer and illustrators. I thought of those illustrators when this happened yesterday. Particularly Eric Giriat, who lives in Paris and whose work appeared in the French edition of ELLE, in'96 as well as many other international companies since. (Hennessy, JOOP!, Dona Fusion, and La Grande Epicerie de Paris, to name a few)

    I thought of everyone. I thought of us.

    Je suis, Charlie. Vive la France!

  7. Carolynn, I think that is where I would struggle, too. How can I stand up against the wrongs of this world when I'm not brave enough to put my family in danger?

    Bon courage à la France, et tous les journalistes du monde. Nous vous soutenons.

  8. Amy, I really wrestle with how what I write impacts the ones I love. I do not want to shame them or put them at risk and yet I have a duty to 'write/right' what I personally consider a wrong and to stand up for the greater good. If I do not, if WE do not, then we become SILENT ACCOMPLICES to their deeds.
    My first published piece in a daily newspaper in August 1989 covered that exact point. From seeing a kid at Walgreens stuff an unpaid for mascara in her purse to raising our pens against barbarism, if we remain silent, we are no better than the extremists engorged by hate.

  9. Je suis Charlie. Nous sommes Charlie.
    Et les citoyens qui a écrit pour de Charlie méritait tellement plus.

    It's a terrible thing when someone strikes out and kills in order to silence others.

  10. This is what journalist/author Mark Steyn wrote today (In 2008, the Canadian Islamic Congress tried to silence him.)
    Yes, they were very brave. This was the only publication that was willing to publish the Muhammad — the Danish Muhammad cartoons in 2006 because they decided to stand by those Danish cartoonists. I'm proud to have written for the only Canadian magazine [Maclean's] to publish those Muhammad cartoons. And it's because The New York Times didn't and because Le Monde in Paris didn't, and the London Times didn't and all the other great newspapers of the world didn't - only Charlie Hebdo and my magazine in Canada and a few others did. But they were forced to bear a burden that should have been more widely dispersed...
    We will be retreating into a lot more self-censorship if the pansified Western media doesn't man up and decide to disburse the risk so they can't kill one small, little French satirical magazine. They've gotta kill all of us.

  11. My heart goes out to these folks. I hope Western media does what Steyn suggests.


  12. Kitty nice post.

    Off to join my daughter at a vigil at her school.

    Sante' Henri'

  13. I'm having to temper my comments because I am so furious. I'm not going to get into a political rant. My son was in Iraq. I asked him how they felt about Americans. He said by and large they were happy to have freedoms they had never imagined before. Anyone could print a newspaper and they didn't have to go before a government official to get their stories approved before they printed.

    Freedom of the press. They were amazed by it.

    Now we have countries all over the world terrified of offending exactly because of these things. This affects all of us.

    I have so much respect for Charlie and I mourn for them.

    Steyn is right, but how many will man up? Not many.

  14. Western society has an odd relationship with "offense" these days. On the one hand, many say we should avoid causing offense to anyone. And on the other, my own faith is often held up for scorn and ridicule by public figures and the national media without any concern for how I and other Christians may feel about it.

    I'm of the belief that sometimes offense is necessary. But if offense can be avoided, that's always the better road to take. There is a place for satire (says the Monty Python fan), but we should also know when to exercise restraint.

    Pictoral depictions of Muhammad are not just offensive to Muslim terrorists, but to ALL Muslims. Non-Muslims may find it strange that a picture can stir such violent emotions, but our lack of understanding doesn't give us the right to treat that faith with contempt. Doing something simply to offend is not the way a civilized society acts. As I said, sometimes offense is necessary, but more often than not, a kinder more sympathetic approach is available.

    This is not in any way to condone what happened in Paris yesterday. In a civilized society, we shouldn't respond to offense with violence. I understand that within the worldview of these terrorists, death is the penalty for offending The Prophet. Thankfully, not all Muslims (especially in the West) respond to offense this way. Executing offenders is the coward's approach, and one I would like to see the Muslim world as a whole repudiate.

    But the way to respond to the brutal murders at Charlie Hebdo yesterday is not to offend Muslims just because our free speech enables us to. Doing things just because we can is also not the way of civilized society. Our freedom enables us to choose which path we take: the path of hostility, or the path of peace. Even in the light of yesterday's barbarism, I choose peace.

  15. It's impossible not to offend someone, somewhere.

    One of the chief complaints against Steyn was that he quoted a Muslim imam: “We’re the ones who will change you,” the Norwegian imam Mullah Krekar told the Oslo newspaper Dagbladet in 2006. “Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes.

    I repeat: Steyn quoted a Muslim imam. And the Canadian Islamic Congress went after Steyn.

  16. My heart weeps for the families and loved ones of those murdered. It weeps for the community of writers who must overcome their fear to exercise their freedom of speech. And my heart weeps for our planet and our futures. Ghandhi said "An eye for an eye only makes the world blind."
    When will the hate and revenge stop?

  17. "What can we do?" we ask in the face of such awful violence. What we can do is keep doing what we do. We are writers. We create our fictional worlds to show people other ways of being, other ways of thinking and living and maybe, in a small way, change people so that such atrocities become unthinkable even to people like yesterday's criminals.


  18. After 9-11 we didn't ground our planes for long.

    After sept janvier we will not let our ink wells go dry.


  19. Colin, I agree with you 100%. While we should all defend our freedoms, I do not think there is any moral highground to be gained by exercising the freedom to deliberately cause offence. However, I don't believe that any offence should be answered by violence either. I don't know what to feel other than despair at the utter lack of respect and empathy in the world.

  20. Beyond disgusting. The Prophet did not, and would not, want this. If you need to kill, because you cannot fight against an IDEA, much a cartoon, in a reasonable fashion, you have already lost.

    If you really believe God needs your help, in any manner, you really don't believe in God. Period.

    Why the hell would an all-knowing, and all powerful, deity, give a shit about something so petty? That's right. He doesn't. Fanatics do because their position is so weak, it cannot stand against reason.

    You can't lie down with the devil to get what you want and call it justice.

    In the real world, the reasonable world, we call that cowardice.

    Je suis Charlie.

  21. I support and feel sympathy for the people shot, but I am not Charlie, and I don't stand by hate speech. Support the people. NOT the magazine.

  22. Laina and Colin, you have spun my mind. I am Charlie and I am not. Just because we can, does not mean we should.
    I asked myself, was what the magazine did, "hate speech". To me it was not and perhaps to them it was not BUT if the perception by believers considered it hate, it was hate speech. Perception is everything.
    I don't stand for hate speech either. Why hurt someone just because you can. Extremists don't need an excuse to act, why give them one.
    This reads as if I am blaming the victim, I'm not, but now my thoughts are spinning again. My heart aches for France, for the people, for the families for all of us. What a stinking world this has become. Not all of it but a lot.
    I'm choosing what 'The Hook" chose.
    I choose love.

  23. There is no basic human right to not be offended. Murder is not excusable no matter how blasphemous the victims may have been.

    I refuse to accept the argument that offensive speech is not free speech. A common statement I heard in the military was: "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend with my life your right to say it."

    The answer to hate speech should be reason and love, not bullets.

  24. Elissa, with freedom comes responsibility. If people could be trusted to be responsible with freedom, we would have no laws. Thankfully we have laws against hate crimes.

  25. No matter how vile or controversial, everyone should have the right to say, write, or draw their opinion without fear that some random person or persons will come into your home or office and gun you down because of it.

    This is NOT about hate speech. This is about your ability to speak.


    You are Charlie simply for the fact you are an artist. An author. A person who puts opinion, fiction or otherwise, to page.

    And you should never be afraid someone out there will kill you for it.


  26. Well said Ardenwolfe. Still, when you hate, you are for something and against something. Charlie Hebdo was not evoking hate. They poked fun at everyone, regardless of anyone's social, political, religious, or sexual persuasion. It was seeing humor in this sometimes sad and messed up world we live in and making us laugh in spite of it.

  27. Ardenwolfe, you said it much better than I. Thank you.

  28. This article says it all for me:

  29. I am Charlie.

    One of the ten commandments refers to "graven images". But in my own heart; me being a Christian is a question of faith. I've referred to the Bible as the most popular work of fiction before. Sure it was sophomoric and bordered on tasteless, but I think it's a work describing Faith and Belief. I don't believe the actual stories are physically real, but I believe in the lesson and imagery of a degree. (Purgatory party of one.)

    I believe all religions are faith based, however there is a growing movement in the world, States included, where everything is extreme. (See political parties.)

    These civilians cartoonists were assassinated. When you think your God demands this action, you've lost.

    I am Charlie.

    (Lynnrodz...totally agree.)

  30. Je suis Charlie. I am Charlie. No matter how you say it, if you want the right to express your opinions, ideals or facts of the matter, you should realize it comes with the responsibility of defending them.

    There will always be those who will oppose you. If you cower before them, they win.

    If you open a dialogue with them, everyone wins.

    If they refuse to discuss the situation, you can only go on.

    No one lives this life without making enemies.

    Pray for them.


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