by Holly West
I debated whether to post this. These days, I dislike writing about any subject that's controversial because I don't have the time or the inclination to get into debates or arguments. Not that what I'm about to say is an argument, really, or even very controversial. I suppose the real issue is that I really don't feel worthy to comment on the terrible terrorist attack that occurred in the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris that claimed the lives of twelve people. Do I have anything legitimate to say that hasn't already been said?
I've seen the stark black squares on social media declaring Je Suis Charlie. I thought about changing my profile pics to show my sorrow for the victims of the attack. To voice my support for what they were doing. Because like most people I know, I am gutted when I contemplate what happened to them, simply because they stuck to their convictions and weren't afraid to offend, criticize, or to provide provocative commentary about the society in which we live.
I decided not to change my profile pics because in truth, I'm not Charlie. These people were courageous. I'm not. I prefer to keep silent when perhaps I should speak. I'm too much of a coward to enter the debate, even when it's a subject I feel passionately about.
While I don't necessarily aspire to offend or blaspheme, I do want the courage to voice my opinions, even when they're unpopular or might cause offense. I have strong feelings about religion and politics but I usually keep quiet, even when I'm enraged by the injustice and outright stupidity surrounding our political process. I might not want to create controversial cartoons, but certainly there must be a means for me to provide my own thoughtful commentary in a way that I feel comfortable with.
For a couple of years now, I've had a "don't talk politics" policy on Facebook. I'll probably continue that because really, I can't see the point of arguing politics on Facebook. My plan, instead, is to occasionally write blog posts about topics that I feel strongly about. Instead of declaring Je Suis Charlie, I aspire to be more like Charlie. To write with courage and authenticity without being afraid of who might be offended or argue against my point.
That seems a fitting tribute.