Here We Stand: Je Suis Charlie
The most poignant response to the horrors in Paris - committed against those who dared to think, speak, draw - have come from their colleagues. As many thousands of citizens flood the streets declaring their right to free speech even when insolent, cartoonists have offered their own sorrowful, defiant tributes to the "exquisitely intolerable...visual mockery" for which their friends died, and which they see as their most powerful tool against "murderous clowns." Many of their tribute cartoons are appearing on social media: here, here and here.
Those killed had spent years, sometimes decades, claiming the right to mock any and all in power, often in singularly incendiary fashion; along with radical Islamic leaders, their targets included bankers, politicians, right-wingers, Jews and the Catholic Church, which had sued them 14 times. One terrible irony of the attack is contained in the new hashtag #JeSuisAhmed, honoring the Muslim policeman shot in the head - and seen in a widely viewed video - on their behalf. They all died for an idea, and a right, that is ours to claim. If you were not Charlie Hebdo yesterday, says one observer, it is time, today, that you are.