On Charlie Hebdo & Je Suis Charlie

A German student commented: “Charlie Hebdo: a turning point? (for Europe and the rest of the World) It’s time we take down Islamists and Islamism, increase security to stop the violence happening to our nations, it may be possible that we need to start condemning Islam…. and people like, Mehdi Hassan’s (http://www.newstatesman.com/mehdi-hasan/2015/01/muslim-i-m-fed-hypocrisy-free-speech-fundamentalists) dichotomic speech on the anti-justification of freedom of speech, which doesn’t seem to slide for the rest of us.”

This student also sided with Marine Le Pen’s article: To Call This Threat by Its Name: France Was Attacked by Islamic Fundamentalism via NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/19/opinion/marine-le-pen-france-was-attacked-by-islamic-fundamentalism.html)

“How can you not blame Islam, if Hebdo targeted all (groups of minority, political life, religions etc) and everything in satire? yet, only the Islamists have expressed violence towards it?

The student also made sure to claim, “Do not compare this terrorist incident with other vigilante movements (KKK, norweigan killer etc) and then continued to say, it’s time to hold Islam accountable and to combat it. Europe is anticipating terrorist attacks, and more will come, our community will not be surprised.”

An Algerian student commented: “You know, terrorism is happening in my country too. Why do I have to apologize, with something that I don’t identify with? I am really done playing the victim card, I have nothing to confess to. What happened hurt everyone.”

A Turkish student commented: “Its not fair that you blame the religion for such atrocities. The men who committed these acts of violence were mentally ill, they had issues which lead them to commit these acts. The student then went on to talk about the structural injustices that these men faced and that the societal environment they grew up in (incubated them) also was an added reason for why they committed these acts/killings. The offenses that the satirical newspaper instigated was not an enough reason, could not be the sole reason that lead to the murders they committed. And yes. we need to stop generalizing and using identity markers (religion, sex, race) in order to instigate more hate, propaganda, and the marginalization of people. We need to start behaving like a civil society. Quit taking the road thats been stampeded on.”

A Moroccan student commented: “Mon dégoût ne sait plus où tourner la tête. Je ne sais plus qui condamner.

L’abject attentat mené par des obscurantistes qui ne comprennent ni les enjeux de leur actes, ni la portée de leurs mots et de leurs morts – assassinant en même temps que ces hommes les principes les plus clairs de l’Islam et ses valeurs? Ou ceux qui justifient l’acte en disant qu’ils “l’ont bien cherché” et qu’ils devaient s’y attendre – brisant en même temps les efforts d’une démocratie et d’une liberté d’expression comme pilier même du vivre ensemble? Ou mieux, ceux qui assassineront une fois pour toute tout espoir de vivre ensemble, marquant d’une croix sanglante ce jour, l’Islam et tous ceux qui y adhèrent? Je les condamne tous. Condamner est tout ce qu’il me reste.

C’est une plume tremblante de peur, rouge de colère et pâle d’horreur qui rédige ce message. Peur que cet acte ne définisse toute une communauté, en colère contre ceux qui ne pèsent leurs mots et leurs pensées qu’à moitié, horrifiée face à la barbarie et à la cruauté humaine.
Mon dégoût ne sait plus où tourner de la tête. Mais mon dégoût ne se permettra jamais de fermer les yeux.


ENGLISH: “My disgust doesn’t know where to look anymore. I don’t know who to condemn: the abject attack led by fundementalists who do not understand the impact or the weight of their actions, their words and deaths – assassinating at the very same time Islam’s clearest principles and values? Or maybe those who justify those dreadful acts saying the victims “deserved it” and that they should have expected it – breaking at the very same time all efforts of democracy and freedom of speech as the cornerstone of the “vivre ensemble”? Or, even better, those who will destroy all hope of peaceful coexistence, marking a bloody cross on this day, Islam and all those who affiliate to it? I condemn them all. Condemning is all I have left. It is a pen trembling from fear, red from anger and pale from horror that is writing this message. A fear that this act will define an entire community, an anger fueled by all of those who do not weigh the weight of their words and actions, a horror speechless in front of human cruelty and brutality. My disgust doesn’t know where to look at anymore. But one thing is clear, my disgust will never allow itself to close its eyes.”

Other students on the table raised the question (to all seated), “Are you still Charlie Hebdo?”

An Afghani student commented: ” the dichotomies like religion vs free speech, or Islam vs the whole world, that are so easily created by people seem very superficial. We hide behind a mask of intelligence and refuse to go into the deterministic roots of how terrorism manifests itself in  religion(or any other one of many phenomenons that have led to acts of fanaticism) while keeping in mind geographical, sociological, psychological, and yes!, biological factors. Therefore, since reaching the truth in this matter, if not impossible, is very difficult, let us at least not embarrass ourselves with such pedantic rhetoric.

Dana Jabri