Wednesday, January 14, 2015


There is no worse way to respond to the horrific Charlie Hebdo murders than to rally millions to take up the Charlie Hebdo banner, “I am Charlie”. It divides France and the world into two all-encompassing warring camps, as if on one side are those ready to identify with hate speech and, on the other, the Islamic populations in whose name the assassins claim to seek revenge. What a terrible trap, dug even deeper as humanity is already entangled in tragic and futile conflict!

Certainly there is sympathy for the victims of murder and determination to thwart terrorist actions. But promotion of religious and race hate remains contemptible. Its consequences are not only in incidents of awful retaliation, but, far more widely, in fostering oppression, injustice and violence against “the other.”

Granted, society’s response to hate advocacy ought not to be banning free speech.  But no decent society can fail to expose it, oppose it, and fully support its victims.

As more than a few people have commented, when  “I am Charlie” embraces indifference to or support for anti-Muslim provocations, it is no less vile than endorsement of anti-Semitic or Jim Crow “satire”, both of which have a very long and very bloody history.


  1. Thank you for writing this coherent and moral statement. All too often, many of us stereotype, scapegoat, and demonize those who differ from "us" who are the "other."

  2. I certainly agree that promotion of speech that promotes religious and race hatred is contemptible. It should be fought whenever it appears and in whatever form, no matter by whom or where it comes from, and “fought” by not buying the paper, magazine, or not seeing the movie, play or opera, or not voting for the person who engages in it, by protesting loudly, etc. BUT not by killing people! And certainly, in this case, not by killing Jews who had nothing to do with the publication of that offensive cartoon. It is this cruel over-reaction that has engaged people’s sympathies and led to all the Je Suit Charlie responses. Julie

  3. - It is easy to forget that most fundamentalist terrorism is against Muslims. They are the true victims of Jihad.

    - I wrote to French friend asking whether Charly Hebdo was hateful and racist. I said that in the United States, we no longer tolerate these things.

    Here is here interesting answer ( in bad translation)

    ' No it is not a question of racism or hate on the part of Charly Hebdo. It is just a difference in culture, the French mock everything. It is called free expression and they are strongly attached to this fundamental right. But in my opinion free expression does not give the right to ridicule the religion of another. As long as the two hold on to their position, there will be endless war.

    I understand that Americans think like that and this is again a cultural difference. It is very difficult to understand the subtleties of these differences in culture.'