Charlie Hebdo

Why it Matters Beyond the Surface


Socorro Carrillo, Cactus Editor

Tragic. Upsetting. Angry. Emotions in the world of the media have been in a life-altering hurricane since the early morning of January 7, 2015. As many already know this date is now cemented in history because of the Charlie Hebdo attack. Two men fired an estimated 50 shots, killing 11 and injuring 11 more. The events of that morning are some of the worst in recent history, especially in the name of art. However, as artists and as patrons how do we separate freedom of speech and liberty from outright provocation?

Satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has always dipped its toes in the art of crossing the finest of lines. The published Mohammed comics, which are thought to be just one of the reasons for the attack, were just another page in Hebdo’s book of risky choices. In the world of satirical writing there are imaginary reigns that are supposed to keep the fragile boundaries intact. These boundaries help maintain the set difference between saying what you want to say and saying something to be hurtful. As the media we have to be aware that everything we say gets printed or is heard by someone. Risks are risks but if we say something that is critical we should stand by it no matter what the risk is. The writers and artists at Charlie Hebdo unfortunately lost their lives standing by their art.

Our voices are meant to be a cacophony of justice and yet we are being silenced out of fear. How are we supposed to say what we need to say without looking over our proverbial shoulder? We simply just keep typing, writing, saying. As we look back on tragedies of the past, we know that those who came before us were not silenced. When 9/11 struck did we cower behind our keyboards afraid to bring the truth to light? The answer is no, we didn’t. We were loud! We were giant! We were singular in our tragedy!

Most importantly, we were enveloped in a strength that only the joining of forces can provide. We must dip into this well again. The attack on Charlie Hebdo shouldn’t be synonymous with tragedy but instead with rebirth. Je Suis Charlie because I am ready to take charge and ensure that no one will suffer the fate of our French counterparts. Yes, it’s scary but it’s also time to rise up and fight back with the truth.} else {