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Nous sommes tous Charlie – A response to the 1/7/14 Terrorist Attack

(Photo by

Driving at 7am yesterday morning, I did something I rarely do; I turned on talk radio. Because I am too lazy to pull up my car antenna up, I get really lousy reception on the radio, especially for AM or talk radio. But yesterday I had this nagging urge to listen to something smoother than Eminem, my usual morning commute music, even if it meant listening to a crackling voice. When I turned on the radio, instead of the crackling sound of the banal talk of the Congress “rebellion”, I heard something in crystal clear reception that made my heart race. Paris was attacked.

paris attack(Paris under attack in a video game. It wasn’t exactly like this but it feels like it was. Photo by

I couldn’t believe it. Then the radio host announced that the attack had occurred just a few hours before during lunchtime in France. For a moment, I was actually more shocked that there were French employees still in the office at lunch time than over the crime itself. Like I’ve mentioned before, I don’t eat breakfast first thing when I wake up so I’m not my most compassionate because I’m hangry (that’s hungry + angry). I listened to the very American radio host butcher his way through pronunciations of French headlines and comics. News cap: a group of jihadistes opened fire in Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper, office killing about 10 people than 2 police officers afterwards while fleeing the scene and critically injuring a few others more. Why did they do this? Because they were offended by a satirical cartoon. I’ll be honest with you, the newspapers’ political cartoons seem to be in bad taste but it’s just a cartoon. That’s it. There is never a good reason to kill or be killed but this one certainly has to take the prize for the most stupid reason to take a life.

kissing_hebdo(One of the offensive cartoons. I debated about showing it because they are bad taste but let freedom ring- #JeSuisCharlie. Photo by

This is a very sad time for our Parisian friends and long time ally. I normally advise students to avoid demonstrations in Paris but this is one that I would join in if I was there right now. Freedom of press / speech is a fundamental belief in Western culture. It’s how we keep each other in line; how we point out the hypocrisies and injustices of our society as a means to bring it to light and find a solution; how we have fun. These weren’t politicians or people who were causing great harm. These were a couple of jokesters who liked to poke fun to get people to think. In the streets of almost every major city in France last night, people gathered together holding up signs saying “Je suis Charlie [for Hebdo]” and holding candlelit vigils. That’s one of the things I love about French culture. They can rally tens of thousands of their closest friends in support for any cause at any given moment. It’s not just Paris that is mourning; it’s the entire country. In support of our French brethren, I say out loud that je suis Charlie, but the reality is that he is all of us.

Please send your thoughts, prayers, and wishes to our French friends at this difficult time. Your support is needed.


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