Wednesday, January 07, 2015
On freedom, and #CharlieHebdo
"The only security of all is in a free press."
Today's attack in Paris that left 10 journalists and 2 police officers dead hits close to home for anyone who cherishes freedom, but especially so for anyone who works in media. Like me, and a lot of good folks I am privileged to know, work with and learn from.
The magazine had long been a lightning rod over its repeated publishing of provocative articles and cartoons that some deemed anti-Islamic. Which, in the eyes of Islamic terrorists, seems to be all the justification they need to play judge, jury and executioner, all in the name of avenging alleged blasphemies against their religion.
Reports from the scene indicate the terrorists, who invaded the offices of the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine, asked for their victims by name before shooting them in cold blood. As someone for whom journalist is a genetic identity more than a job, it is this fact that chills me more than any other. The gunmen who pulled the triggers today did so to sow fear in anyone who wields a pen, a keyboard or a camera for a living. They were sending a message that a free press is no match for the business end of a gun. They were trying to silence not only their victims, but the rest of us, as well.
I've got news for them: They miscalculated the balance of power that lies at the core of freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
#JeSuisCharlie. I am Charlie. Indeed, we all are. And we won't stop what we were born, and are destined, to do. Which is write, and share, and shed light. That's what freedom is, and I have no intention of apologizing to anyone - let alone some freedom-hating extremists - for believing my pen is infinitely more powerful than their swords.
The forces of evil scored some bloody points today. But this is a war they'll simply never win as long as there are other journalists willing to keep pounding the keyboard and fighting back against the forces of darkness the only way we know how: By communicating.
Extremists hate communication, truth and freedom. They despise discussion and open-minded thought and exchange. They hate everything we stand for. So stand we shall.
Speaking of which, I've got deadlines to hit. And I'm hardly the only one.