Killing is bad.
So naturally, when terrorists attacked the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing twelve of the magazine’s staff, the world flocked to give support to the French publication.
I saw an incredible amount of support go out to France and those affected by the attacks, culminating in a cadre of world leaders marching through the streets of Paris.
The magazine printed nearly five million copies of its “Survivors Issue,” a drastic increase from its usual prints of sixty-thousand issues.
But with the world’s attention focused on this small satirical magazine, questions have come up about whether or not we as a human race should be supporting the ideals upheld, portrayed and promoted by Charlie.
A quick look through the comics in question reveals several depictions of Muhammad, with occasional attacks on Islam in general.
The magazine has faced much opposition for publishing offensive comics before, which has led to several court cases as well as an attack on their office in 2011.
Common complaints include accusations of racism, because the magazine associates all Muslims with Muslim terrorists.
Muslims often take offense at Charlie’s depictions of their prophet, which are not flattering, and generally not accepted in Islam.
And although the images are essential to the understanding of the story, the controversy has raised a good point.
How should the content of and ideals of the magazine affect our response?
The mentality behind some of Charlie Hebdo’s comics may be flawed, but is this a good enough reason to withhold support during a tragedy?
A possibly offensive piece is an image that depicts Muhammad hiding a bomb in his clothes. This image is something could further stereotypes and racism. An image of Jesus picketing with the Westboro Baptist Church would certainly raise some objections.
A number of other news outlets, such as CNN, ABC, Associated Press and the New York Times, chose not to show the magazine’s images or cover.
But the idea that such an image, or a comic depiction of Muhammad, could be cause for a lessening of support of those suffering from an attack is nothing short of ridiculous.
There are merits of debating the issues of pushing the envelope of satire, but there is a significant difference between satire and murder. When free speech is threatened through violence, that is perhaps the best time to unite behind it.
So Je Suis Charlie.
People should be able to say what they wish without fearing for their life. We all have opinions and we all expect to be able to express them without having to fear death around every corner.
We all are Charlie.