J’accuse – I accuse – are not mere words spoken by Emile Zola. Neither are je suis Charlie. Yes, nous sommes Charlie. WE are Charlie. These words must not be said in a whisper; they must be screamed from the top of our lungs. Standing. Upright. With a pen in our hand. Screaming until our lungs hurt. We are ALL Charlie. And like the martyred journalists at Charlie Hebdo, we must all rather die standing than live on our knees.
Stéphane Charbonnier, editor-in-chief of Charlie Hebdo, uttered his eloquent and prophetic words, “I would rather die standing than live on my knees” several years ago, little knowing that he would indeed die standing in the face of evil.
Charbonnier’s immortal words will ring through the ages as a 21st century inspirational proclamation of liberty. Indeed, they resound in the heart of all freedom loving people as deeply as Patrick Henry’s immortal declaration, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Sadly, Stéphane Charbonnier’s life was maliciously taken by those who feared the liberty he so cherished.
Hiding the shining light of freedom under the basket of self-censorship and political correctness gives victory to the oppressive haters of freedom. To not embrace the light of liberty is to disrespect democracy, pluralism, and the inherent rights of mankind. It is also to disrespect the religion of Islam. Because we must agree, these violent radicals are not peace-loving Muslims, they are Islamo-fascists who seek an oppressive one-world government that enforces through Sharia law their own perverted interpretation of Islam. They embrace an historic kinship with the pagan Romans who slaughtered Christians for sport; the ruthless Catholic perpetrators of the Spanish Inquisition; the popes who slaughtered dissident Christians in medieval France; and most recently the book burning and Jew slaughtering Nazis of the last century. They are nothing more than bigots who want to cram down our throats what we should eat, drink, read, think, and believe.
The three murderers of the Charlie Hebdo staff are not heroes of any cause that is worth killing or dying for. One of them is homeless, one already served time in prison, and the third just followed along because of his brother. They are misguided radicals with a perverted view of their own religion. Any more than this is not worth the words to write about them.
Adherents to the Muslim faith contributed many great things to humanity at a time when the Western world had closed its mind to science, medicine, and other intellectual pursuits that at the time ran contrary to the doctrinal position of the Catholic Church. Many a medieval European monarch took along a Muslim physician in his entourage because Christian doctors were proscribed from performing medical procedures contrary to Church doctrine.
Today Muslims are a mere shadow of their former selves. Robert R. Reilly, in his book titled, “The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis,” explains how early in Islamic history Arab conquests took them into captured libraries full of Greek philosophy, science, mathematics, and culture. Islamic intellectual life expanded suddenly and exponentially. The “Arabic” numbers we use today came in on a tide of Arabic words like “algebra” and “algorithm.” Arab civilization up to the 10th century seemed to have a bright future.
However, over about a 200-year period (9th through the 11th centuries), Islam reversed course as its religious leaders conducted fierce debate over theological issues. On one side were those Islamic thinkers whose logical tools derived from Greek philosophy; the other side was made up of those who insisted that the Koran was eternal, and must be simply accepted without question – in fact the very act of questioning was blasphemous and a capital crime. It was this latter group that won out and the light of Islamic intellectualism was snuffed out, never to return. Reason lost out to literalists, and the results are still painfully evident.
The closure of the Muslim mind in the 11th century was similar to the closure of the Western mind in the 4th century. Charles Freeman writes in, “The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason,”
When the Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in 368 AD, he changed the course of European history in ways that continue to have repercussions to the present day. Adopting those aspects of the religion that suited his purposes, he turned Rome on a course from the relatively open, tolerant and pluralistic civilization of the Hellenistic world, towards a culture that was based on the rule of fixed authority, whether that of the Bible, or the writings of Ptolemy in astronomy and of Galen and Hippocrates in medicine.
The difference between these two closures of the mind is that the Western mind re-opened. Granted, it took 1,000 years. But the advent of the Renaissance and the emergence of modern science gave rise to secular humanism and intellectual achievements never before seen in the course of human history. And while the West rushed forward, the Muslim world held back, holding strongly to its self-inflicted intellectual darkness.
It is from this intellectual darkness that the radical haters and killers have emerged. But enough is enough. It is time for the moderate Muslims of the world to wake up and scream. Wake up and fight your complacency, indifference, and fear. Wake up and fight these destroyers of your own religion and kind.
We in the West believe in your right to worship as you please. We believe in your right to eat the food you choose and dress the way you want. What we don’t believe in is your forcing your beliefs and choices on the rest of us.
Most Muslims in this world have this same level of tolerance. It is these moderates who must wake up and rise above the haters in their ranks. Shame them. Ostracize them. Repudiate them. And yes, turn them over to the police. For it is these haters who are the true haters of Islam – not some ink dribbling cartoonists in France.
Today, the birth places of Muslim greatness are in shambles. They are destroyed, not because of any “invasion” by the hated Americans but because of the own haters within your ranks. Rise above this desolation to regain the glory you seek. But not with orgies of hate and destruction.
The killing of cartoonists who produce drawings that even some “infidels” find offensive does not further the cause of Islam. Instead, such a brutal act gives rise to anger and bolsters the loathing already felt for Islam by millions around the world.
A more productive manner in which to deal with offensive cartoons would be to fight back with similar offensive cartoons. Fight fire with fire, as it were. Taking the sword to the pen is a fruitless effort, for as the English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton so presciently wrote in his 1839 play, “Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy,”
The pen is mightier than the sword.
Indeed. The only thing shown by the senseless murders in Paris was the might of the pen.
Killing the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo will do nothing to further your cause. No government is clapping in support of this brutal carnage nor has any government been toppled by it. No, such an act only hardens the resolve of liberty and freedom loving people. Cartoonists and journalists the world over will be emboldened to continue to fight the sword with their mighty pens.
This is already happening. Newspapers across Europe are re-publishing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons as a show of solidarity and Google is throwing in support to print 1 million copies of Charlie Hebdo next week. The message, shouted loud and clear, is: We are not afraid.
“Je suis Charlie” is not just another slogan accompanied with a bloody placard. It is the need for our collective society to take a stance. We must take a stance against the warped ideology that prompted three twisted minds to murder in cold blood a room full of artists, an act that horrified all sensible people in the world.
Well guess what, all you adherents to the warped ideology that spawned this senseless carnage? The world finds what YOU did and what YOU believe is offensive. So what? Get over it. If you don’t like it, DON’T READ IT. That’s what freedom really means.
WE are offended that you kill your own kind. We are offended by your destruction of Damascus, the Crac de’Chevalier, and the Bamiyan Buddhas. We are offended by the disrespect you show to your own women, your own history, and your own lives. We are offended that you are too blind to see that this destruction only hurts your own. We are offended that you do not have the guts to stand up and say “enough is enough.” We are offended that you are not seeing that the orgy of carnage in Syria and Iraq looks more like Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, the Nazis, in Germany, or Stalin’s Russia. Such tactics did not work for the Cambodians, the Germans, or the Russians. Learn from their mistakes. Don’t repeat them.
Freedom loving people across the globe must take a stand together and reject the ideas that spawn the taking of life in the name of a narcissistic, nihilistic movement that attacks freedom of speech and other God-given rights and believes the slaughter of cartoonists will break the will of a public that does not follow their medieval, ill-fated, and sickening belief that hate will change the course of history.
It does not. Actions prompted by hate fill us only with anger, but not with the anger that gives rise to terrorism. Rather, we feel anger towards the fallacious moral superiority felt by those who desire a return to Islam’s golden age but who believe the only way to get there is by dragging the rest of the world through the gutter of hate. We feel anger that will focus itself into surgically precise attacks to root out your evil, not mass carnage of innocents. We feel anger that our nations’ leaders are too obtuse to let go of out-dated ideas of political correctness at the expense of public security when it is firm resolve that is needed. We feel anger that prompts hundreds of thousands of people across the globe to go out in the middle of the night to mourn the dead and protest the haters. We feel anger over how long we have been held hostage by a degraded, barbaric movement that mutilates and kills young girls and drains their spirit in an orgy of hate. Ask yourself, how long before YOU have had enough?
The new emerging German “Wutbuerger,” the angry citizen, is a powerful force and it is getting stronger not because the citizens want to fight Islam, the East, the South, the who-ever threatens our lives and the safety of our children, but because they have had enough of the political experimentation of social engineering, failed social policies that benefit the loudest screamers and disenfranchises the majority of good citizens.
Political correctness and social engineering has fostered the preaching of freedom of speech when in fact this freedom often falls victim to self-censorship in the name of fear.
If history is a teacher, and it has plenty of bad examples, it teaches us one thing: Haters and terrorists have never won. And they will never win – regardless of how many cartoonists they kill.
Je suis Charlie. And yes, we are standing on our feet.
By: Jean-Luc La Croix