Je Suis Charlie

I'm a writer and an artist. 

I always have been, I always will be.

I believe in freedom of speech, and I also believe that satire and humour are two of our most powerful tools in our rhetorical arsenal.

They are how we explore challenging and uncomfortable ideas.

They are how we open up dialogues about religion, sex & sexuality, politics, and anything else that ruffles people's feathers. 

Satire and humour are crucial to our development as a society, and Charlie Hebdo pushed the envelope in both areas.

They did so regularly, and did so without apology.

They challenged people's beliefs, their values, their fears. 

They regularly poked fun of people's religion, political leanings, the values that they held dear, and forced them to take a good, hard, long look at themselves in the mirror and ask

"Is this really what I want to believe in?"

Well... at least it did for some of us. 

Others reacted with fear, hatred, violence, and vitriol when confronted with things they would rather not see. 

It takes a brave person to accept that others do not agree with you.

The individuals who acted in Paris, killed 12 people and injured 11 others, were cowards.

Cowards who took themselves, their religion, and the opinions of others too seriously. 

I'm furious. I'm horrified. I keep asking myself "what can I do? How can we continue to defend freedom of speech against people who are willing to do anything to suppress it?"

So I'm doing the one thing I can do: write about it. 

I'm expressing my support for the murdered members of Charlie Hebdo and their families, for the ones who remain and will keep writing, drawing and publishing, and for the kinds of cultural dialogues that the paper (and ones like it) force us to engage in.

If we don't challenge ourselves as a society, if we don't poke fun of beliefs, scrutinize ideas, and otherwise make ourselves uncomfortable we can't ever move forward. 

We will continue to live in fear, to be afraid of speaking up about difficult subjects too often, or too loudly, or at all.

We will have failed as a society.

Let's try not to do that anymore.