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.