As you may know, yesterday, a horrid terrorist attack took place in my hometown of Paris, at the Charlie Hebdo (satirical weekly newspaper) headquarters causing the death of twelve people five of which were famous journalists/cartoonists. 11 people were injured and the country is now at a standstill similarly to America and the rest of the world during 9/11.
Unlike the usual amount of hypocrites that always seem to come out of the woodwork whenever any kind of tragedy occurs, I will not pretend that I was a big fan of Charlie Hebdo, in fact, I didn’t always agree with some of their offensive pieces. But it is my firm belief that when you do not agree with someone, violence is never a solution. We all have a right to disagree with things, situations or people that go against our principles or beliefs, that is why we have freedom of speech and expression. But when we do disagree, we are to talk about it respectfully, write about it, discuss it openly, and agree to disagree if in the end no compromise can be found. Violence is always senseless and is never the answer. So while I did not always agree with Charlie Hebdo, today, Je suis Charlie, and I stand for freedom of expression, against prejudice and extremism and more than anything, for love.
Ideas are bulletproof, they cannot die, and I am proud to see my fellow countrymen band together regardless of ethnicity, political, religious, or social backgrounds, and glad to see the rest of the world support us through this trial.
At a time like this, it is easy to give into hate but we should avoid such temptations like the plague. The human mind has a tendency of taking shortcuts which only contribute to pointing fingers and marginalizing groups of people that have nothing to do with the hurt caused in the first place. Even hating the perpetrators themselves serves absolutely no purpose except to open our hearts to bitterness and resentment.
Let us instead take the high road and fight this thing together with love in our hearts, understanding in our minds, strength in our voices and courage in our pens.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Martin Luther King