Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Je ne suis pas Charlie (I am NOT Charlie)

On Jan. 7, two Islamist gunmen opened fire in the Paris Headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 staff members including a maintenance worker and two police officers. Eleven people were also wounded, including four in serious condition.

The two gunmen, later identified as French Muslim brothers, Saïd Kouachi and Chérif Kouachi, were said to have been shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“god is great” in Arabic), while committing their crime and ultimately leaving the scene in a stolen vehicle.

After a three-day chase and a standoff at a Kosher Supermarket outside of Paris, the two suspects were killed while holding several people hostage. Four hostages were confirmed dead.

After the attacks and the confirmed deaths of the Kouachi brothers, the phrase Je suis Charlie, (“I am Charlie” in French), was adopted by supporters of free speech and freedom of expression. The catchphrase spread like wildfire throughout the media and hashtags quickly followed.

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While “Je suis Charlie” spread throughout the media, a huge march and rally in Paris was planned and streamed live for everyone to see. As leaders of governments lead a march against terrorism, one thing came to mind, hypocrites.

The men leading the march are responsible for more carnage and mayhem than the 16 victims the Kouachi brothers killed during their attack. For Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to show his face while innocent Palestinian children are being killed on his command at this very moment is ridiculous. How can the media be blinded by this fact and let him and others rally the bandwagon of hared and prejudice over the Muslim people?

How many Muslim people have died since the Charlie attack due to hate crimes? How many are scared for their lives because ignorant people refuse to separate an Islamic extremist from a Muslim child? When will the higher powers stop using the scapegoat technique to cover their mistakes and antediluvian believes?

Now, here is why I am not Charlie. I am not Charlie because in 2008, Siné, a then writer and cartoonist for the French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo, was fired for drawing a cartoon relating Jean Sarkozy’s converting to Judaism so he could marry Jessica sebaoun-Darty, a Jewish heiress. The drawing was accompanied by a short note reading, “He’ll go far, this lad!”

After anti-Semitism complaints that followed, Siné was asked to write a letter of apology or face termination. The cartoonist replied by saying he would rather “cut off his own balls off.” He was fired shortly after.

So I ask, why is it okay to make fun of Muslims but not of Jews? How can we throw the gift of freedom of speech out and proclaim freedom if we are not truly free to say what we want? Siné was eventually awarded €90,000 in damages for unfair dismissal according to court documents, but why did it take the courts to decide in his favor?

The weekly magazine has been extremely controversial since its birth, but in reality they seem to target one group in general, the Muslim group. There have been three attacks: one in 2011,2012 and the recent one in 2015. It’s also common sense to understand the fact that if you insult a religion of millions, at least two will respond.

To defend freedom and freedom of expression in the face of danger is one thing; to claim that consequences should not be had for insulting a religion and being obnoxious is quite another.

So again, I will say it. I am NOT CHARLIE! I will never be Charlie. I will never support a magazine that hates on or discriminates other people’s religions and believes. I have the freedom of expression by my side to express myself justly, and if people continue to follow the bandwagon, Charlie will have their freedom of expression to continue expressing their hate and ignorance.

Now that the magazine has a stronger fan base and is printing more magazines than ever before, lets ask ourselves this question. Who is profiting from this? Am I? Are you?

There are new laws being written at this moment. The purpose of these laws is to protect you. To protect you by any means necessary. That means: reading your emails, listening to your phone calls, reading your text and invading your privacy.

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