I’m only vaguely familiar with Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine — and I’m only familiar with it at all because it’s so often been involved in controversy. I became aware of the magazine in 2011 when the magazine’s office was firebombed for publishing an edition with this cover:
It’s a cheezy cartoon, but a great line. One hundred lashes if you’re not dying of laughter.
Today at least twelve people died — were killed, to be exact — in another attack on the magazine, Three more were wounded and are in critical condition. Two of the dead are police officers — one who was detailed to protect the magazine office, and another who apparently responded to the scene on a bicycle. The rest of the dead were employees of the magazine — the editor, cartoonists, writers, support staff.
They were killed by two or three masked men armed with Kalashnikov rifles. Killed for publishing cartoons and articles that offended some Muslim extremists. The operative term there is extremists. It’s always the fucking extremists who engage in this sort of cowardly bullshit. And it IS cowardly, and it IS bullshit.
It’s cowardly because this is the act of people who are afraid. If you’re confident in your faith, then an insult to it can’t hurt you. Be offended by the insult, certainly, but to silence the people who made the insult — to silence them by killing them, to hope to silence others by the killing — is effectively saying your faith and your religion are too weak to withstand mockery. And it’s bullshit because all this does is heap more scorn and loathing on the religion these jackasses are trying to ‘protect’.
People will talk about finding an ‘appropriate’ response to this attack. There IS NO APPROPRIATE RESPONSE to extremists killing people over cartoons and caricatures. There is only a range of inappropriate responses. Here’s my personal inappropriate response:
Fuck you, if you think this is going to help your cause. Fuck you for being so stupid and hateful and afraid. Fuck you if you think this will stop people from mocking Islam or the Prophet Mohammed. Fuck you, because I’m going to buy a subscription to Charlie Hebdo, even though I don’t read French. Fuck you with a passion for thinking you can silence people who disagree with you. Fuck you for thinking you have the right to shut people up. Fuck you and your pathetic guns, and fuck you and your stupid masks, and fuck you for shitting on Paris and on France and on the world. Fuck you, you gutless jerkwads, you deserve any ridicule that’s directed at you. Fuck you in the neck.
You think you did something brave? You think you struck a blow for Islam? Well, fuck you. You made Charlie Hebdo famous. You made people all over the world stand up and say “Je suis Charlie.”
And when I say “I am Charlie” what I’m really saying is this: fuck you. I hope you and every other extremist in every cause and in every religion is listening. Fuck you. All of you. Fuck. You.