Je Suis Charlie
Am I? If I was put in that situation would I be as brave as they were? I’d like to think so, but the simple answer is I don’t know.
I’ve been yelled at in person and down the phone about stories I’ve been researching or written; called a fascist for defending Tony Blair.
But threatened with physical violence? Never, and until we’re put in that situation, I don’t think any of us can be truly certain how we’d respond.
We can and should stand with Charlie Hebdo in spirit. Hashtags and sharing the cartoons make it easier than ever before to take a stand and show we support ideals.
But would we die for them? That’s a question that’s a lot harder to answer.
Nous sommes tous Charlie
Or listen to Martin Rowson explain the cartoon he wanted to share with the world, one no UK newspaper would print.
At times like this it’s tempting to think we all come together to defend liberal ideas, like free speech and tolerance. But the reality is we don’t. Our internal thoughts become magnified.
For some of us, that’s defending freedom of expression more than ever. For others, it’s fear that shines through and from this calls for retribution.
The best way we can respond to yesterday’s horrific assault is by carrying on as before and do our best to honour the lost lives.
By toning down our satire, failing to criticise extremism, whatever form it takes, or by demanding retribution against a whole culture, we’re letting down those who died.