There are a million tragedies taking place every day, but this week a massive attack on the basic tenets of freedom and democracy occurred in France. In fact, as I write this it is still playing out in the verdant countryside near Paris. There is a good chance that it will end, as these horrific crimes often do, with more sadness. But let us not succumb to more fear.
As things have unfolded in the wake of the pathetic attack upon the offices of Charlie Hebdo, inspiring things have happened. People from all walks of life and from all over the world have gathered to show their solidarity for the victims, for the people of France, and for the most powerful weapons in the universe: words and ideas.
We cannot allow anyone, anywhere, to silence us. This ideal, this basic human right, does not belong solely to the citizens of democratic nations. All of us, everywhere, have a duty to stand up for words, for truth, for thoughts and dreams, magazines, films, books, and even cartoons.
Even if we don’t agree.
Even if we think what we read or see is sick and twisted.
Stand up to terror and pick up a pen, write an email, an article, a book, (or perhaps a blog post). Let us hold our hands aloft, as so many have this week, proudly displaying our weapons of choice: pens, pencils, crayons, chalk, a paintbrush, a Smartphone, an Internet connection…
Je suis Charlie.
Je suis Ahmed.
I am a warrior for freedom.
I am a writer.