Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I'm Not Charlie (But I Aspire to Be)

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.


Dana King said...

Yes, it does.

Eileen said...

By writing with courage and authenticity, you will be honoring the victims at Charlie Hebdo. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Sherry Harris said...

Great post Holly!

Nigel Bird said...

I'm not Charlie, either.

Kristi said...

Great post, Holly.
Unfortunately journalists being killed is sadly, nothing new. I am so grateful for these brave journalists who died in Paris and I also applaud and admire those journalists who are out there risking their lives every day to shed public light on a host of injustices and inhumane acts. I sit back in my safe American newsroom and am grateful for those journalists out there risking their lives to make sure horrific acts are not buried under the rug.