I also wish to convey my sincerest sympathy to all the millions of muslims who were NOT wielding kalachnikovs yesterday, but will have to answer for this tragedy anyway.
We worked for different media, yet the people who were killed yesterday, were colleagues of mine, and they make me proud to be a journalist. It doesn’t matter whether I share every opinion Charlie Hebdo ever expressed, but it does matter, a lot, that it expressed them. The freedom to express any opinion is the basis of democracy. (The only exception to this, is a call for hate and violence, of course.) The freedom to laugh is an important part of that. Nothing should be too sacred to be made fun of. Not even religion. Quite to the contrary, something which is so important to so many people as religion, should be criticized, and if need to, mocked. Because it is the only way to avoid or stop abuses of power.
“I would rather die standing than live on my knees”, said Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier, the legendary cartoonist and editor in chief of Charlie Hebdo. And he stood by it. Charlie Hebdo did not flinch, not when they were threatened, not even when a molotov cocktail was thrown into their offices. These people died standing. Continue reading