Daily Reads: #JeSuisCharlie?

This is a thoughtful article by Sandip Roy of New American Media and FirstPost.com on why it is so important to defend freedom of speech and expression – even when we might vehemently disagree with what is being said. Roy points out that Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French publication that was the target of a horrific slaughter by men who claimed to be acting in the name of Islam, has a reputation for extremely offensive writing and cartoons that many consider to be racist, xenophobic, and homophobic. Roy rightfully points out that many people are more likely to defend freedom of speech when they agree with the speech in question – but he also points out that in cases like Charlie Hebdo, even if we don’t like the speech we should still defend it. Importantly, he also points out that freedom of speech is not the same all over the globe. Finally, he argues that we can support freedom of expression without also saying Je Suis Charlie (I Am Charlie) and potentially implying that we, too, are racist and homophobic. As Roy puts it: “I will defend their right to exist and condemn what happened to them with every fiber of my being as well. But I just cannot say #IAmCharlieHebdo.”

#JeSuisCharlie? No, I’m really not Charlie Hebdo: Here’s Why

2 Comments Daily Reads: #JeSuisCharlie?

  1. Marsha Ruiz

    I think that by folks saying “Je Suis Charlie” they aren’t necessarily agreeing with their various points of view through satire, only that they support their right to express it.

  2. Ranthropologist

    I agree; but it’s an interesting thought experiment to ask yourself if you would do the same for, say, a white supremacist publication whose editorial staff had been massacred like the staff at Charlie Hebdo. Say, if this white supremacist publication was called Bobby Whiteguy, would we all be holding up signs that said “I am Bobby”? That said, I am totally comfortable with my decision to use the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag.


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