Je suis Charlie
The weekly is pugnaciously irreverent and its satire is biting. Charlie Hebdo, the publication, has been far more than the lampooning weekly with the wicked wit it has been described as. To be vulgar, provocative and offensive and to be so often was what made Charlie Hebdo so spot on about contemporary politics and society.
It wrestled with pen and ink for the freedom to be all this, and in so doing, strengthened also the freedom to protest. There were no taboos – to question, with cleverness and humour, and to reflect boldly the contradictions of society, through illustration and cartoon, were what the weekly did consummately well.
With these methods – much loved in France, well liked in those parts of neighbouring Europe – Charlie Hebdo explained some of the essence of democracy. And of freedom of expression, so dear to all journalists and commentators, whatever their medium.
For giving such a service, the journalists of Charlie Hebdo were murdered.
Tolerance is a value our societies strive to inculcate and practice, but there is no virtue in tolerating those who murder. The murderers of Charlie Hebdo are the foullest criminals, reeking cowards who must be prosecuted for they are rank criminals and not holy warriors, however they might choose to describe themselves.
This is a weekly that stood – never mind its irreverence and vulgarity – for freedom from fear, including the fear of being different, of speaking out, of questioning majority (and minority) beliefs.
As the thousands of placards and hand-written signs and poignant drawn tributes have collectively said – we are all Charlie Hebdo. #JeSuisCharlie