‘I’m Charlie / I’m Ahmad – Je Suis Charlie / Je Suis Ahmad’ by Fauzia Rafique

jesuischarlie

If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.’ ― Noam Chomsky

I am Charlie
In protest and condemnation of the slaughter of 10 unarmed journalists of French magazine Charlie Hebdo, their bodyguard, and a police officer, by a faction of religious extremists who were ‘offended’ by the publication’s cartoon depictions of Prophet Mohammad.
Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws are based on this same thinking where hundreds of non-Muslims and Muslims face brutal lynchings and killings each year from militants claiming their religious sentiments were offended.
The perceived inciting of this ‘religious offence’ is given as a valid reason to shoot, kill, behead, stone, burn, drag- other humans.

I am Charlie
To stand with grieving families and friends now facing trauma of the violent killings of loved ones.

I am Charlie
To strengthen and support progressive movements in France and elsewhere so that this incident is not used to further victimize Muslims, immigrants, People of Color, rights activists and other outspoken or vulnerable groups.

I am Charlie
To show solidarity with Vive Charlie Hebdo! to uphold our right to Freedom of Expression.
charliehebdo-cover

I’m Charlie
To challenge the argument that because Charlie Hebdo is seen to be a ‘racist’ publication (or ‘bad’ journalism) feeding into the systemic racism and Islamophobia of French society, we should not be enthusiastic in condemning the killings or going all out in support of the Freedom of Expression movement. This gives me the chills. It reminds me of some of the ‘reasons’ or ’causes’ of rape given to us that are based on the belief that women cause themselves to be raped by wearing provocative clothes or by staying out late at night or any number of things; Or that a child’s playful behavior invites an adult abuser to sexually abuse them. To say that a racist publication was attacked because it purposefully offended religious sentiments of Muslims in France and elsewhere, is actually saying that the victims of violence caused the violence by offending the sentiments of the attackers. Isn’t this the basis of ‘honor’ killings, blasphemy killings, and other hate crimes against women, minorities and under-privileged people in Pakistan? As well, enough victim blaming and shaming happens against underprivileged population groups in Canada. It’s not about the publication or attacked persons nor it is about placing value on them, but fighting the mindset that wants to or needs to annihilate it’s critics.

I’m Charlie / I’m Ahmad
To honor the Muslim police officer who may or may not have been ‘offended’ by Charlie Hebdo but he gave his life defending the journalists.

I am Charlie
To resist and fight the loud echoes in my ‘progressive’ circles scaring people with ‘Islamophobia’ allegations; and, the convoluted thinking of extreme religious fundamentalists who are silencing people by inflicting death.

I am Charlie
To insist on my right to investigate, describe, satirize, humourize and criticize without fear everything that concerns me.

I may detest what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’ —Voltaire

Images and some information from PEN American Center‘s facebook and web pages.
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3 comments on “‘I’m Charlie / I’m Ahmad – Je Suis Charlie / Je Suis Ahmad’ by Fauzia Rafique

  1. […] of 132 children in Peshawar by Taliban in December. And now, the murders in Paris of 12 people (I’m Charlie) for ‘offending’ the same groups of religious […]

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  2. […] an instrument of White Colonialists and/or an outright right wing fascist publication but the results of this fact-finding mission will have no bearing on my ‘I’m Charlie’ …. Rather they’ll help me hone and strengthen my ongoing struggle against racism, islamophobia, […]

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  3. I say condemn the murders but DON’T be Charlie, as stated in my article at http://virtualmigrants.net/race/condemn-murder-dont-charlie/ :

    After the recent completely tragic murders I looked at a good number of Charlie Hebdo covers on Google images, and found racist stereotyping to be pretty consistent. I might add that Muslims seem to be the target of ridicule by Charlie Hebdo more than others are, though thats purely based on the sample from Google images and not a statistical survey. Sure, Charlie Hebdo does satirise almost everyone, but the way this is done in the case of Muslim people is using repeated images of Muslims that are practically from the colonial era, the equivalent of using gollywogs to depict people of African descent. If those were to be used to supposedly satirise Africans, most would agree that would be appalling. Just as if Germans used Jewish stereotypes in the process of satirising Jews, which I do not think would be tolerated either.

    In all these cases we are talking also of a historical context of human degradation and abuse of those being satirised in a racist way, which adds a level of pain probably of the kind where salt is aggressively being rubbed into the wound. I won’t labour this argument as there is too much to read about this already, but all this leads to me saying DO condemn murder but DON’T be Charlie!

    Other articles that also say condemn murder but don’t be Charlie:

    Interestingly, of the following list the most lucid and critical is the first one, by the progressive Jewish Rabbi Michael Lerner of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue in Berkeley – really worth the read:

    http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/mourning-the-parisian-journalists-yet-noticing-the-hypocrisy/

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/01/charlie_hebdo_the_french_satirical_magazine_is_heroic_it_is_also_racist.html

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-09/sparrow-we-should-support-charlie-hebdo-not-endorse-it/6007836

    http://canadalandshow.com/article/i-am-not-charlie-hebdo

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