One year ago, with deadly precision, the satirists of Charlie Hebdo were shot. Kalashnikovs tried to destroy the very fundamentals of my universe: the power of words, ideas and images. Ironically, this very act of senseless fanatic stupidity made the French magazine more illustrious than ever before, and killing its cartoonists made them instantly immortal forever.
Je suis Charlie set off a worldwide outcry against religious fanatics, against censorship, against senseless violence. Fear of terror and bullets should not refrain us from expressing what we think, and feel. Terror gains ground when people get afraid.
The slogan was used, misused, hijacked and merchandised. We were Charlie, We were Kenya, We were Ebola, We were Paris, We were Ukraine and very often We were Plain Stupid. We Charlie-ed our profiles, cars, T-shirts and coffee-mugs. A dating site thought to get away with Je suis Célibataire (I am Single).
But I still see movements trying to silence the fundamental rights of thought, expression, communication, free speech and satire. It creeps in editorials, in memes and posts, in explosive-enforced terror, in Photoshopped Facebook evidence, in pseudo-intellectual finger pointing and in full-metal jacket arguments. It quivers in debates around political-correctness, and peer-pressured opinion steering.
Call me naïve, but I will not relent. Je suis Charlie…
Je suis un con, mais quand je vois ce que les gens intelligents ont fait du monde... (Georges Wolinski)