Friday, 9 January 2015

Je suis Charlie

'Je suis Charlie' went viral two nights ago when France's popular weekly edition of Charlie Hebdo's teeming band of satirists were shot down in their office by two mask-clad heavily armed assassins. 
I have been wondering why the slogan went viral. I mean, sure 'Je suis Charlie' is to show solidarity in a time of great unrest, but why this particular phrase? It could simply have been 'Je suis avec toi' (I am with you) or something else.
It was while I was watching the news last night that I figured it out. 
It appears that before committing the crime, the assassins had access to a certain amount of knowledge. They knew which street to go to. They knew that Charlie Hebdo held its weekly meetings on Wednesdays wherein all the major cartoonists would be present. What they didn't know was the building in which the meeting was to be held. So they went up to building '6' firing random shots asking the question: "Où est Charlie?" ("Where is Charlie?"). Figuring out their error, they moved on to building no '10', the unfortunate building that witnessed the horrific crime. They shot one police officer down, severely injuring the second, before they came across a young artist working for the newspaper. They asked her "Où est Charlie?". She tried to ward them off to the third floor, but on their way up, the assassins figured out that the meeting was being held on the second. At gunpoint, the young lady was forced into unlocking the (otherwise digitally closed) room where the meeting was held. On entering the room, the masked assassins asked one question only : 
"Qui est Charlie ?" ("Who is Charlie?")
The director of the agency who penned his name as Charb stood up, looked right into their eyes as they opened fire at the whole lot of talented artists assembled in that fateful place. 

'Je suis Charlie' is an answer to the question that was asked just before the assassins opened fire. 
'Je suis Charlie' stands for all those who believe that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.
'Je suis Charlie' stands for those who understand that only humour can defeat violence.
'Je suis Charlie' stands for those who believe in revealing (and relieving!) human folies through laughter.
'Je suis Charlie'  stands for those who believe that the world is a free place, that there are no boundaries, no 'foreigners'.
'Je suis Charlie' stands for those who are against religious extremism.
'Je suis Charlie' is to say I am Charlie and I'm not afraid of you.

Courtesy: Marine_Wood on Instagram
Moi aussi, je suis Charlie.

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