Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | charlie | hebdo | paris | terror

Be Proud to Say, 'Je Suis Charlie'

By Tuesday, 13 January 2015 09:00 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Je Suis Charlie — I am Charlie — referring to the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, where 11 employees were murdered in the name of Islam last week, has become the popular rallying cry seen on placards, posters, T-shirts, etc not only across France, but even here in America where professional athletes wore pre-game workout clothes with the slogan.

What does it mean to identify with Charlie Hebdo, which for years has specialized in being not only purposefully provocative, but offensive — and not only to Muslims, as if that were not bad enough, but to Christians and Jews as well?

Some, including The Daily Beast's Arthur Chu, and New York Times columnist David Brooks, write that while it should go without saying that nobody deserves to die because of the words or images they create or publish, they want to be clear that they are most certainly not Charlie.

Each, in his own way, wants to differentiate himself from what each deems to be the often foolish, and sometimes grotesque, antics that have come to symbolize Charlie Hebdo.

I get that. I even appreciate their point; namely, that freedom of expression does not justify self-aggrandizing mockery of other people and their ways of life.

What I don't get, and in fact, totally reject, is their rush to distance themselves from the victims at a moment of such horrible hurt and sorrow. Even if their analysis of Charlie Hebdo is correct, and much of it is, it really doesn't matter right now. There will be time for all of that later.

All that matters now, is the bright line that must exist between those who murder in the name of what they believe, and those who don't. There is nothing nuanced about that distinction, not should there be.

As important as nuanced thinking, cultural sensitivity and social responsibility are for all people who put their ideas into the public square, now is not time to make that point, and it's hard not to wonder if those who do so, are not themselves being a bit purposefully provocative themselves — and dangerously so.

You don't need to be Jewish to proudly proclaim Je suis Juif — I am a Jew — or to be a police officer, to definitively declare, Je suis Ahmed — I am Ahmed. You simply need to identify with those who were slaughtered at the Paris kosher market, Hyper Cacher, or the Muslim police officer who was assassinated in the line of duty outside Charlie Hebdo's offices.

You don't need to agree with all, or even any, of the content produced at Charlie Hebdo, to say, Je suis Charlie. You simply need to know where, and with whom, you stand when it comes to terrorism and murder.

So, with all the criticism that could be offered regarding the magazine at some point in the future, in these days and weeks, I am proud to say, Je suis Charlie.

I hope that you are too.

Brad Hirschfield is a rabbi, an author, and a commentator on religion, ethics, politics and pop culture. He also is Newsmax TV regular. He serves as president of the think tank, Clal, and is co-founder and executive editor of TheWisdomDaily.com. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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What I don't get, and totally reject, is a rush to distance from Charlie Hebdo at a moment of such horrible hurt and sorrow.
charlie, hebdo, paris, terror
Tuesday, 13 January 2015 09:00 AM
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