Life has been busy lately, and admittedly, I have not been paying much attention to the world outside of my realm of work and play. However, the horrific attack at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris has caught my attention, and my heart is breaking for the lives of those killed, as well as for the reason and intent behind 12 dead bodies in a satirical magazine shop.
I am not an artist or journalist, nor am I particularly clever with regards to artistry or articulation. I am not French, nor does my vocation require that I engage in offensive commentary, and I am certainly not extreme in any of my beliefs. I am, however, an advocate of art, writing, and expression of any subject, scope, intent, or commentary. It is absolutely disgusting and appalling to me that anyone anywhere would be punished by death for creating commentary, regardless of how absurd. That is just how I feel about this event; like a commentary of the absurd.
You know, the comments in support of the free press are conspicuously absent on my social media feeds amongst my friends…and I am surprised. I have not seen nearly the outcry against the terrorism of expression experienced in Paris that I saw against other, relatively minor, offenses of mere opinion. Are 12 lives taken by extreme terrorists not worth a moment of reflection? Is a deadly assault on one of our own so closely guarded fundamental rights of press not enough to invoke the most visceral of defensive responses from some of those who utilize that freedom so often on the public pages of their life? Though their artistic declarations were exhibited on a much larger and widely circulated scale, these 12 artists were murdered for doing a job that many of us do locally in our daily lives. Is this the kind of world we will tolerate? A world where we are scared to express a social or religious commentary, regardless of how ridiculous, for fear of losing our life for our critical observations.
It is my hope that there is a lot of outrage going on under the cool demeanor of those who regularly articulate opinions & observations publicly, not only for the unnecessary loss of human life, but for the odious intent of the massacre. I hope that others were jolted awake, much like myself, to the reality that there are still extremists who will try to destroy freedoms through intimidation & terror. But my deepest concern is with the safety of our liberties. I hope that we will continue to express, create, and comment on the illogical, laughable, and wacky, while never really losing sight of the beautiful.