Why I am not Charlie

A perspective is something we can learn from, in spite of our differing opinions or values. By understanding different pictures of the same stories we enrich our understanding and ultimately, that brings wisdom. This is not a political forum and any attempts to hijack for stuff that isn’t interesting won’t make the cut. Neither is it a forum to discuss sexuality outside of psychological constructs (no moralizing). So, with that in mind, here’s a cool article from a smart person that stops us in our tracks and asks us some hard questions about our intentions and our intentions.

How do philosophers, sociologists, theologians and psychologists think about things like the horrific situation that unfolded this week in Paris? We can learn from a few of the smart people who do this for a living, even if we don’t agree with everything they share…

a paper bird

imagesThere is no “but” about what happened at Charlie Hebdo yesterday. Some people published some cartoons, and some other people killed them for it.  Words and pictures can be beautiful or vile, pleasing or enraging, inspiring or offensive; but they exist on a different plane from physical violence, whether you want to call that plane spirit or imagination or culture, and to meet them with violence is an offense against the spirit and imagination and culture that distinguish humans. Nothing mitigates this monstrosity. There will be time to analyze why the killers did it, time to parse their backgrounds, their ideologies, their beliefs, time for sociologists and psychologists to add to understanding. There will be explanations, and the explanations will be important, but explanations aren’t the same as excuses. Words don’t kill, they must not be met by killing, and they will not make the killers’ culpability go away.

To abhor what was done to the victims, though, is not…

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2 thoughts on “Why I am not Charlie

  1. Just read Evie’s comment about me on your Injustice and the Third Way blog. Evie can fuck off.

    As for Mr. ‘Je ne suis pas Charlie’… Yes, his article is well written. But I have friends in France, Luc and his family that we stayed with last January. Had our trip been a year later, we would have been in Paris for the assaults. Their daughter lives in downtown Paris where she’s going to music school. When I heard of the assaults, I immediately thought of the Vergez-Pascal family, as something of an extension of myself. While I’m only imagining the fear Anne Sophie may have felt for her daughter in Paris, I still sent her a message, checking, hoping that all was as well with their family as possible. As for the thousands of people voicing their solidarity, perhaps the media age has made solidarity cheap. But in my mind, Je suis Charlie is a way for people who otherwise could have no impact on the situation to at least do something, even if only figurative.

    I looked hard into the photographs of the dead terrorists faces this morning. They’re young, as young as our own kids. We both know how being raised under religious/cultic influence can completely and fully mess with a developing mind. They likely didn’t even have a chance, given the influence they grew up under and the potential for generational hate genetically passed on to them. Of course I don’t condone killing over words. But the problem is far deeper than that, and everyone knows it.

    Personally, not only am I Charlie, Anne Sophie and many others, I am also the terrorist. I know my own capacity for evil under the right circumstances. Just reading Evie’s comment gave me a little reminder of it. 😉

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