Few days ago a satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has been attacked by two gunmen and one driver, who killed 12 people and then took hostages in another place until they were eventually killed.
Many people went to the streets showing their support for dead journalists. A hashtags #CharlieHebdo and #JeSuisCharlie were created and used vastly among social media.
As it could be suspected, there was an opposition to this sentiment. Shortly, #JeNeSuisPasCharlie has been created and vast amount of posts and articles has been posted, criticizing Charlie Hebdo for being racist. So basically, people said that “they are not Charlie”, because they didn’t like their satire.
Freedom of speech and all, but people, your opinion isn’t always the most important to share.
Okay, it came out wrong.
What I’m intended to write, there is a big difference between disagreeing with somebody and going of the flow of the tragedy to make yourself visible. And it seems to me that most who use #JeNeSuisPasCharlie immediately after the attack is just that.
You don’t have to agree with Charlie Hebdo satire. You might think that they are racist. But nobody deserved being gunned down like that. And definitely not because of their work, regardless of how tasteless it was.
They deserved to be criticized. They deserved to have their office trolled by covering it entirely with anti-racists posters. They deserved to be blocked with rallies and protests. They deserved to be called every name in the book that comes to your mind of what kind of racist-xenophobic assholes they were. Anything, but not the fate they met.
There is a very interesting article from The Telegraph “We think the Paris terrorists were offended by Charlie Hebdo's satire. What if we're wrong?”. It’s not revelation, but a small brain-picker:
“Terrorists aren't offended by cartoons. Not even cartoons that satirise prophet Muhammad. They don't care about satire. For all I know they may not even care about the Prophet Muhammad… Instead, they merely pretend to be offended by cartoons, in order to give themselves a pretext to commit murder.”
Showing support, and maybe sharing few drawing that other cartoonist did, isn’t necessary saying “oh my God, they were so amazing”, but it’s simple “it’s a tragedy. I’m so terrified that it happened”. And by showing support or refraining from criticizing the victims, it’s simultaneously an act of condemnation for perpetration. Because criticizing victims for their work that is believed to inspire killers to commit mass murder feels like very ill-conceived case of victim blaming.
Because regardless of their work, it is a tragedy. It is terrifying and it is disgusting.
I’ve read few articles before writing this post and all of them could’ve wait. Some criticized them for racist; some were the quotations of resentful politicians who are not #CharlieHebdo, because “they offended us, so we don’t like them”; some used the attack on Charlie Hebdo to bring attention to other journalist who are killed.
Like I said, you don’t have to agree with them, you don’t have to go and show your support, you might think that some journalists death are neglected and don’t receive proper attention, but I don’t what your parents taught you, but I was raised up that you just don’t criticize the person who just died. Maybe it’s just pointless social norm for you, but in my opinion is a courtesy everybody deserves.
And yes, freedom of speech allows everybody to speak their mind. But there is always time and place for that. And writing the long articles about how you are not #CharlieHebdo, when their bodies aren’t cold yet, is plainly insensitive.
Where I stand it looks like all of this articles are about using this tragedy to make themselves stand out in the crowd and be more easily search in Google engine. Without this tragedy your opinion about Charlie Hebdo could never be heard. I get that, we are all writing blogs and articles and want to increase traffic in our websites. But people, you could’ve contain your flowing mind and fight against racism at least for a week. Until the pain for some is no longer fresh. Until the shock passed. Simply out of respect for people who were killed.
I was going to write some things about how criticizing religion, even if it’s the faith of the minority, is not racist and hate crime, but I’ll refrain from that. I will take my own advice and just don’t make my name stand out and show to the world how witty I am when a tragedy strikes.
So, have your opinion, criticize people, criticize popular media, advocate against racism. Do it anytime you want. But when somebody dies in a terrible circumstances, just hold your tong, please. Try to mourn the death of your opponents and enemies. Because in time of death, everybody deserves the moment of peace.
Because nobody deserves to be blamed for their death at the hands of people who want to violate others sense of security.
Written by Vespertilio