Je suis Charlie… I seek first to understand…

by Denis G. Campbell

Je suis Charlie… I am Charlie… Ich ben Charlie… Yo soy Charlie… Ik ben Charlie…

No matter the language, we stand with those we lost today. We stand for a strong and free press because we’ve seen the alternative. We need to also stand together in respect for all faiths, even when there is no faith visible.

There can be no room for hate today. There can be no room for propaganda. 10 of our journalistic compatriots and two policemen were murdered.

They are dead because of hate. They are dead because of fear.

The scum who say they acted in the name of Allah have bastardised a religion of peace. They are the same who take lives in defence of twisted interpretations of Christianity, Judaism or Buddhism. They are imposters. They are con artist fraudsters.

They want us to turn on each other in condemnation and fear. We cannot let them win.

Maybe it’s also time to try and understand and respect each other’s belief, especially if it is not our own. Maybe we need to start talking ‘with’ rather than ‘at’ each other. A popular speaker once said: “This is my way. What is your way. THE way doesn’t exist.” What if we sought first to understand than to be understood? What if we abandoned our need to be right or convince others of that rightness?

Did we help create today by taking sides and moving out to the far end of every pole? How do we respond as a people if we first need to be correct above all? Is it that need that indeed tears us apart?

I don’t know. What I do know is that I am a journalist once again grieving for lost compatriots.

I also grieve for my Muslim friends who share their heart, faith and homes. I’m angered by the bastardisation of Islam by these monsters. I worry my friends will be subject to the wrath of small, bigoted men and women. 99.999% of Muslims simply wish to follow their faith in peace. Will they now be allowed to?

The .001% of people of any faith or belief system are the monsters of today and tomorrow. The radicalised Islamists, neo-Nazi skinheads, KKK and other radical fringes cannot be allowed to win. We cannot let them propagate fear and hijack the media dialogue.

We need to focus and stand with the thousands standing in solidarity and silence in Paris, London and around the globe tonight. To do otherwise is to give in to fear and hate.

We need to stand up. We need to protect each other. We need to say… this ends here.

Like those who passed brutally and savagely today, we need to fight until we can no longer raise our voices. We need to let the world know we will always stand for those who cannot raise theirs.

It is why we are journalists. It is why we are all Charlie today. RIP dear friends.


Denis G Campbell View more

Denis G Campbell
Denis G. Campbell is founder and editor of UK Progressive magazine and co-host of The Three Muckrakers podcast. He is the author of 7 books and provides Americas, EU and Middle Eastern commentary to the BBC, itv, Al Jazeera English, CNN, CRI, MSNBC and others. He is CEO of Monknash Media and a principal with B2E Consulting in London. You can follow him on Twitter @UKProgressive and on Facebook.

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