Charlie Hebdo Is NOT Racist – You’re Being Ignorant

One thing that has struck me over the past week is how people here in the US keep claiming the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, was and is inherently racist. This needs to stop. This is like saying about a woman who got raped, “She dressed provocatively, so she asked for it.” Just stop. You’re an idiot! You’re excusing the terrorists’ actions because you’re saying the magazine brought it on themselves. I’m also not the only person saying this.

Charlie Hebdo was an equal opportunity satire journal. If people would dig beyond the sensational images, they’d know this. I’m just about fed up with people like Jordan Weissmann, who wrote this article in Slate. You, sir, are a nitwit, and you obviously have left your entitled little American bubble very little. He argues about them “offending Islam,” but doesn’t for one solitary second stop to mention any of the other religions they’ve taken to task or the politicians they’ve skewered on their front page. Or, what about this article by Clarence Page in the Chicago Tribune? You, my dear Clarence, ARE remiss in your conviction of these cartoonists as racist.

Charlie Hebdo fulfilled an important job in French politics and satire in that they took serious topics and, while doing a good job at relaying how funny the situation was, also made important points, at the same time. No one was immune to the wrath of these cartoonists’ pens. Even the Pope earned a spot in their magazine.

So, I’d like my fellow Americans to stop being stuck-up, politically correct assholes. I’d like you to learn something more about the French culture before passing judgement on a solitary magazine. If all you know about the attacks and France/Paris in general is what you’ve read in the headlines over the past week, you just need to shut up. When you open your mouth and start labeling Charlie Hebdo, you talk out of your ass and look like a complete fool to those of us who actually have a clue. When you actually understand the culture, the political and religious dynamics, and the way people think there, you may start making your points. Until then, if you do not wish to show support for the French people as they grieve, you would be better off saying absolutely nothing.

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#JeSuisCharlie – Violence is NEVER the Answer!

I’ve watched over the last couple days as the (continuing) events unfolded in Paris and other nearby areas of France. I’m heartbroken for the French people and saddened that something as stupid and silly as a picture could become a death sentence for someone. I’ve seen the videos, read countless articles about what is going on over there, and spent hours scouring different online outlets for information. I feel like I’m in shock, because for me, Paris is the city of love. I can’t wrap my head around how this could happen there. To an extent, I feel a lot like I did as a pre-teen when 9/11 happened in New York City.

I may not have ever stepped foot in either of these cities, but they are cultural icons. They represent things to me and others, and when something so horrific happens there, it feels like we lose a part of ourselves because the idyllic image we have of those places becomes a shattered pile of dashed expectations. I think I hate this part of terrorist attacks more than the others. I hate getting cold, hard slaps of reality like that. I’d rather stay wrapped in my own beautiful imagination of something, someone, or someplace without things like this happening.

I don’t know how many of you have taken the time to watch the video of the attackers killing the police officer at the Charlie Hebdo offices, but it shook me up so badly. The article attached to the video had done a sufficient job of explaining the video before I watched it, but the execution still took me off guard, and I nearly screamed when it happened. I can’t imagine how the people who shot the video managed to stay quiet. I feel for the Parisians because they have no idea what to expect, now.

I wanted to take a moment to speak about freedom of expression, though. Charlie Hebdo represents the good, the bad, and the ugly of this concept, but no matter how much you may dislike what is printed in their paper, you have to respect their right to express their views as they see fit. That is part of living in our modern society. You don’t have to like what someone has to say, but they have just as much of a right to say what they say as you do to disagree with them. This is why the Westboro Baptist Church exists here in America. They may be the biggest assholes on the planet, but they have a right to their fucked up views just like you and I have a right to ours. Just because what they say insults us doesn’t make what they do illegal. This is the same idea with the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

In solidarity with the French people, the Charlie Hebdo staff, and cartoonists the world over, I have collated a few cartoons related to this incident and am publishing them (with links to the original owners) below. Please consider doing the same. Let’s prove that terrorists cannot make us silent, and that no matter if we agree with what people say or not, we ALL agree they have a right to say it.

charliehebdo-picturesI don’t believe this cartoon even needs translating. The pictures do a sufficient job of conveying what they’re saying.

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Muhammad being beheaded by an ISIS fighter. He’s shouting, “I’m the prophet, you asshole,” while his killer says back, “Shut your trap, infidel.”

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This cartoon, by Chappatte, was printed in “Le Temps,” a Geneva paper, on September 20, 2012. It can be found on the cartoonist’s site, as well.

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This is another Chapatte cartoon, featured in the New York Times today, January 8, 2015, in reference to an interview with Charlie Hebdo editor, Stephane Charbonnier.

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This cartoon was posted by a Danish newspaper, europenews.dk.

Steve Bell 08.01.15

A Steve Bell cartoon that was featured in The Guardian on January 7, 2015, sums up just how ridiculous some of us feel these terrorists are.