This last week saw us hurt, saw us moved, shaken, and distraught. Starting early noon, when the first signs of shots were being heard at the Charlie Hebdo offices, ending in the evening, two days, later when the French authorities confirmed the double hostage situation had been resolved. Events like these are ones that cement themselves deep in your mind, and stay resonating in them forever, leaving their footprint in the sand of your mind which remains with you for a long time to come.
Transitioning into a period of hindsight-view over the matter, above all I am left with gratitude and appreciation, gratitude and appreciation for the unexpendable right of mine and yours to freedom of speech. The privilege all of us indiscriminately deserve is inalienable, yet not any less significant is, it is also severely taken for granted and under-appreciated. The brutal murder of twelve staff members of the magazine, attributed to their publication of a cartoon satirically depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad, resulted in them paying the very ultimate price for the freedom to express themselves. This served me as a simple reminder; to cherish and uphold the values and freedoms that so many sacrificed for, so that the next generations could pick the fruits of this tainted tree.
Let yourself not for once forget this right we all have, and let us exercise it as we seek; freely and respectfully. Regardless, of whether you agree with what one claims, or how false and twisted his claim may seem, it is our collective duty to provide ourselves all the platform to express it.
“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it” – Voltaire.
Violence is the way of the weak and desperate, whilst the power of the pen trumps and supersedes it universally. After all, what’s truly amazing, lies not in the terrorist’s attempts to bring France to its knees, yet France’s persistence in reviving and uniting itself throughout; bringing it to unprecedented heights.
In remembrance of the twelve Charlie Hebdot Staff, the policemen and the hostages, who were killed in efforts to suppress freedom of speech – I have included my three favorite cartoons from this week: