Je suis… I am who I am.
by Mini on September 12, 2016 - 12:59am
Je suis Charlie.
We have seen this slogan through media, and many of us posted it on all types of social media such as Facebook and Instagram. However, what does it actually mean? The word “Charlie” became a symbol of freedom after the horrid massacre occurred in Paris on January 7th 2015. Twelve people were killed in the Charlie Hebdo office by three Islamic militants during a shooting. Among the twelve deaths, five were cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that uses cartoons to express certain issues in the society. They lost their lives for the freedom to express on religion through art. The drawings regarding the depiction of Muhammed were the reason of the tragedy. The art attacks directly to Islam by making jokes of the leader by drawing him naked with words that say “My ass? And you love it, my ass?" Muslims were offended.
There are a lot of controversies around the slogan. Some people agree with the idea behind it which is to have the right of expression. They think that all individuals should be allowed to express freely. However, some groups share the opposite idea, since they believe that this freedom of speech can be used to support racist claims about other cultures. Should there be limits on the freedom of expression in order to avoid conflicts between different groups of people?
The article “The Right and Wrong Reasons for Outrage: What if the Paris attackers had been Christian or Jewish? Would we all be "Je Suis Charlie"-ing? No, and we must admit it and realize why” written by Tomasky presents an important issue of the conflict. People all over the world from diverse religions to non-religions share the same idea by claiming that they all are Charlie. They support the right of freedom of speech. How would the situation be if most of the drawings are against Christianity or even other religions? Imagine if the cover of the magazine is not about Muhammed, but Jesus with his disciples? According to the author, people will not be united as they were in the case of Charlie since Christianity is one of the biggest religion in the world. Also, Christians are believed to be more opened and not as extreme as some Muslims. They would not support Charlie as much as they are today in this case. The strong criticism of Islam presented in the cartoons has offended some Muslims. However, putting an end to someone’s life is immoral and unethical. Hebdo has the right to express their ideas.
The conflicting values presented in this ethical issue are freedom of speech and respect. One might argue that we are free to express our thoughts. They did nothing wrong by simply saying what they think of the religion, and show what they believe is wrong in that religion. Obviously, I am not debating whether killing was appropriate, what I am focusing on is whether or not there should be limits on freedom of expression. People neither deserve death nor physical harm. On the other side, the cartoons were disrespectful toward others’ beliefs and religion. The ideas presented by the drawings attack those Islamic terrorists mentally. Everybody’s interests ought to be considered equally.
Freedom of expression is important, especially in a society that supports democracy. We need to spread out our knowledge to others to make them realize certain issues in the world. Also, it helps the world to change. Without people who speak up for themselves, the world would not evolve to what it is today. However, the meaning of freedom of expression changes nowadays. Charlie Hebdo was a good example.
I do not support Charlie Hebdo because of the lack of respect toward others. The idea behind the drawing was offensive to Islam. It is true that we are free to express what we want, but degrading a religion in a press is not a good idea. It attacks people indirectly by criticizing violently by judging their religious leader. Who would like to see their idol being defamed publically? Yet, Muslims should not use killing as the way to manifest their frustration toward the magazine. Massacre is not the way to end a problem. It creates more hatred among groups in the society. I support the right of freedom of speech, however, there must be restrictions. People should learn to respect one another. Words can hurt more than sticks and stones.
Tomasky, Michael. "The Right and Wrong Reasons for Outrage." The Daily Beast. Jan 12 2015. ProQuest. Web. 7 Sep. 2016.
Eggerton, John. "On Speaking Freely." Broadcasting & Cable, vol. 140, no. 40, 2010., pp. 18.