“This was an attack on freedom,” French President Francois Hollande said. But then, perhaps to avoid spreading the blame to all of France’s Muslims, the largest such minority in Europe, he added, “We must realize our best weapon is unity. Nothing must separate us or drive us apart.”
Well, something is driving us apart: We believe in freedom; the terrorists don’t.
The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie (“I am Charlie”) dominated Twitter in the hours after the attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which killed 10 members of the staff and two policemen guarding them.
But are we all Charlie? Very few of us are cartoonists who revel in making fun of Catholics, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and other frequent targets of Charlie Hebdo. Even some press people scoff at such journalism.
Yet it’s easy to understand that when people who make a living using drawing pencils and computer keyboards are gunned down, everybody’s freedom of speech is endangered.
Similarly, it’s absolutely true that very few Muslims are violent thugs who’d don face masks, carry assault rifles and, chanting Allahu Akbar, coolly and systematically gun down anyone perceived to insult the Prophet Mohammed.