Je Suis Charlie

 It was just a regular Wednesday. Everyone was living life as freely as they wish when a horrible massacre in France shook the rest of the world with grief and anger. The tragedy involved 12 staff members of the satirical weekly magazine company ‘Charlie Hebdo’, and 2 gunmen. The magazine is infamous for its bold and mocking publishes, usually targeted towards religions such as Islam and Christianity. Unsurprising to the western media, the 2 gunmen happened to be Muslims. About an hour after, a fellow French publisher posted a picture with the slogan “Je Suis Charlie”, which means “I am Charlie”. With the help of advanced technology and the vast means that come with it, the slogan became a worldwide trend in an instant. Millions carried out rallies and solidarity marches in the city of love. But for some, they took a different approach and expressed outrage towards the Muslim community, having suggested that all the billions out there should be killed for the fault of two; all in the name of freedom. 

 Charlie Hebdo was never afraid to touch sensitive issues, be it religion or politics. The offensive and disappointing remarks the company received were completely disregarded. The reaction of the targeted communities to the sneering cartoons were never fully taken in to consideration by the workers of Charlie Hebdo. In their defense, they would claim that it is all for entertainment, a little humour to this world. Of course, this statement is supported by their avid readers. Besides, is freedom of speech not allowed in the 21st century? Must we restrict our imagination to only producing serious news? Is it such a taboo to express ourselves? And so, they continue everyday, brainstorming ideas and new ways to offend. With a majority of the targeted communities sad and offended since 1970, 2 decided to take action in 2015. Islam has always been labelled as an ‘oppressing’  religion. Adding this recent event to the list just intensifies the discrimination of the religion from the world. 

 After the massacre, copies of Charlie Hebdo’s issue sold out straight away. Nothing was restricted or sugar coated. If anything, the publishers ridiculed the religion even more with hatred and of course, a pinch of humour. But none of that mattered to most, because it was all well deserved. Nothing wrong when freedom of speech is preached in a society.

 Yes, the 2 gunmen were guilty in this case. However, no lives deserved to be taken away, everyone has rights as human beings. But, if we look back and try to identify the root of this problem, things may all fall into place. We, including the people working at Charlie Hebdo, are fully aware of the freedom of speech. The only difference is, they decided to use this to the very point where it could be considered an abuse of power. To what extent can freedom truly be practiced? I cannot say. But, we must know and learn from this tragedy that freedom itself, ironically, has a limit.


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