We live in a oftentimes dark and troubling world. And it’s rare that the day’s news is uplifting or inspiring. But rarely does it lead me to despair. This led me to despair this morning, albeit briefly.
If you want to argue about what’s terrorism and what isn’t, this is the case to do so. This mass murder was committed to intimidate the media, frighten the general public, and challenge the local authorities. The perpetrators were radicalised after a career as petty criminals. «Hebdo Charlie» was targeted because their satirical bent on daily events included the frequent evisceration and parody of all religions, but prominently Islam.
This isn’t my sort of magazine; in fact, there’s probably more things in here I would find stoopid or silly or offensive. But that’s a secondary point: satire is protected in free societies. The answer when you disagree isn’t murder, it’s dialogue.
While this couldn’t’ve happened anywhere, it could have happened anywhere in Europe, Canada, the US, New Zealand or Australia. Or any other liberal democracy where officials are participating in the interventions in Iraq and Syria. This was an attack on everyone everywhere who lives under the benefit of democracy–real, flawed, at times infuriating–democracy. It’s not about Islam or Islamists: it’s about what kind of society we want to live in.