I don’t know where to begin… or what to actually say about what has happened in France.
Three masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo shortly before midday, killing 12 people and injuring 11 more before escaping in a car. Some of France’s most prominent cartoonists were among the dead, including the magazine’s director Stéphane Charbonnier. Seven other journalists were killed along with two police officers, a guest at the Charlie Hebdo offices and the building’s receptionist. Charlie Hebdo had been a target of Islamist extremists ever since it published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, Islam’s holiest figure, in 2006. Its previous headquarters were firebombed in 2011.
As I read these headlines of the tragedy that has struck these families and the country of France, I can’t seem to find the words to describe how I feel. I am of course upset and confused but ultimately I am left speechless and shaking my head trying to understand the sense behind committing this act or even how something like this could have happened to begin with.
I honestly have no answers and I still cannot find sufficient words to describe how I feel about these events. All I can say is that I commend the work these individuals have done for freedom of speech. In France we have seen that this tragedy has not wavered the the French peoples resolve with several hundred people gathering and standing up to these acts stating “NOT AFRAID”. Acts such as these should not and cannot be allowed to succeed by implementing censorship and bully individuals into giving up their rights because of fear.
What has happened wasn’t courageous or meaningful, it was senseless and cowardly. The real heroes are the individuals that continue to fight the good fight and maintain in the face of danger, threat and harm.