Yesterday in Paris, the satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, was a victim of a terrorist attack. Twelve people (including two police officers), were killed. At least two men forced themselves into the building, just north of Notre Dame, and opened fire on specific journalists inside. They then continued to shoot up the streets before fleeing in their vehicle, shouting, “Allahu akbar,” meaning “God is great.”
Last night, people took to the streets in solidarity for various moments of silence as well as to social media, publishing the hashtag, #JeSuisCharlie (I Am Charlie) in support of the victims and their families as well as the right to free speech. Today, we had a moment of silence at work, and you see Je Suis Charlie posted virtually everywhere in windows, hallways, and on social media.
The newspaper, a bit like The Onion, is known for publishing satirical comics about radical religious groups, specifically Islam, but also Christianity and Judaism, among others.
I wish I didn’t know or understand the direct impact gun violence can have on a nation and its people. This is a shock for France, and its people.
My thoughts and condolences go out, first and foremost, to the victims of this horrible attack, as well as to their loved ones, in addition to the rights of free speech. However, I am also sending thoughts and positive vibes to all of the French people of Arabic, Islamic, African, etc. descent, who are going to now further be the victims of sweeping racial and religious prejudices and generalizations on both personal and political levels in the days, weeks, months, and years to come.