Je Suis Charlie ?

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Source: bbc.co.uk - © 2015 BBC
Reproduced under licence from bbc.co.uk - © 2015 BBC

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As I watched the gathering rally in Paris to pay homage to those killed last week I found myself reflecting on the motivations of the perpetrators and their horrific crimes. I am not alone, much of the coverage given on France24 which has followed the developments in real time, have considered the sociological and 'religious' determinations of those responsible. Whilst the active participants have laid claim to an islamic authority for their actions the Muslim community have generally concurred that this is with a small 'i' and want no part of it. Certain people have condemned the terrorists' aspirations as being nihilistic whereas I think that the motive was more likely an horrific attempt to add meaning to a life which was otherwise intolerably empty - a more widespread phenomenon than one might dare believe, a fact which sociologists and politicians might consider. It is ironic that the ambitions of Stephane Charbonnier and his colleagues was to give significance to our lives by exposing the hypocrisy, stupidity, vanity, and dishonesty which exists in our society with humour, humanity and without mercy. They sought the fundamental meaning of life - the truth. It is only when one is compelled to own that one's political manifesto is flawed that positive change can start; that one's religious order is corrupt, that one's belief can be renewed; that one's business model has failed for one to reinforce one's strategy; that one's personal life relies on fabrications that perhaps one's marriage has failed. For all their force - liberté, egalité, fraternité - are nothing without la verité. Doctrine and dogma, the tools of these terrorists, deny truth.

The Police on duty that day, tasked with with the well-being of Stephane Charbonnier and his crew also demonstrated the 'truth' which is given behind the lie of 'doing their job'. Would you work for their salary knowing your life could be at risk? Would you draw a cartoon knowing your office had already been bombed, and that real threats of menace lay in wait? All these people died for our freedom of speech, our freedom from persecution and our freedom of religious and philosophical expression. We owe them a debt we can never repay.

Je Suis Charlie? As a symbol of solidarity, without question. However, Stephane Charbonnier, Frédéric Boisseau, Franck Brinsolaro, Jean Cabut, Elsa Cayat, Philippe Honoré, Bernard Maris, Mustapha Ourrad, Michel Renaud, Ahmed Merabet, Bernard Verlhac, Georges Wolinski and 'Mon Beauf' are the ones who have demonstrated the courage, humanity and determination which we can follow. But, I am their brother: and proud of it.

Fabian Cobb
Editor, FineWineMagazine.com

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