Je suis Charlie

Yesterday's attack surprised most around the civilised world. What surprises me, judging the massive outpour of support and empathy, is indeed that most seem to have been surprised by the ghastly attack on Charlie Hebdo. It's as if 9/11, or 7/7 and 11-M never happened. As if ISIS doesn't exist. As if Putin didn't just invade Ukraine and annexed Crimea under the very noses of the entire European continent. As if China hasn't been running roughshod over Tibet or the Uyghurs. As if the world's largest democracy hasn't suffered enough at the hands of radical members of the world's second largest Muslim population. As if Syria and it's 200,000+ killed were in a different galaxy, or Mugabe was a cartoon character, and Che just a companion of Mafalda. As if attacks on civilisation weren't a regular ocurrence.

Shocking it is that the general public in Europe, from whose lands individuals like Hitler, Mussolini, and organizations like the IRA or ETA have emerged, are surprised by the fundamentalists that killed 12 freedom fighters hours ago. How quickly they seem to have forgotten the miseries and despair of old. It is easy to feel safe in a place like Paris, or London, easy to live with a wholly misplaced sense of security, as if exempt from disgraceful obscurantism and ignorance, which is present in every society.

I am Charlie. For over a decade I have been exposing criminal activity from my virtual corner. More often than not I have been derided, mocked, as a fatalistic Kassandra, an unconvincing exaggerator. Almost without fail, people adopt the "it's-not-as-bad-as-you-paint-it" stance, when not absconding to the standard and almost universal self-defeating appeasement mode of "let's-not-confront", mainly to avoid becoming a target of the Frankfurt School thought police, being branded a racist, or worse.

Well, tragedies, such as yesterday's, happen, have happened, and will continue to happen no matter what. Appeasement... Chamberlain... The world is faced with a new normal. We thought Europe had overcome hatred of the type. But then again, it just takes a couple of deranged Islamofundamentalists to prove the contrary. Policy makers must understand that ostrich-like, self centered, "all politics are local" BS no longer works, for the beliefs some of the locals have do not conform to established and accepted dogma. The assasins were born and raised in France, is not that they weren't exposed to the beauties and freedoms of civilisation. Those very freedoms, and tolerance towards the other, have brought us to a point where we must accept to live with such fanatics in our midst. We can wish fundamentalism away all we like, alas it is here, at the very core of our societies, reminding us, unfortunately at regular intervals, that it is part of our polity.

I bet no one at Charlie Hebdo ever thought their ideas would cost so much. I can, comparingly in an insignificant way, attest that I had never thought that exposing criminals, and their chavista counterparts, could cause so much hatred, and endanger the wellbeing of my family. But that's the thing, one can't imagine how the other is going to react, because one would never behave like that. We do not share their beliefs. We couldn't care less about our own deities, let alone theirs. No one at Charlie Hebdo ever thought it'd become a statistic, alas it takes a particular type of statistic to get the Leviathan -rather comfy with its inertia and dismissive stance- moving, at which point tragedy has already struck.

I too rather die standing than live on my knees. I too refuse to let deranged thugs dictate how and where I live my life, for Je suis Charlie.

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