We are all Charlie, wield your pens
Do not put down your pen in fear.
Do not politicize, commercialize, instrumentalize or intellectualize the savage attack on Charlie Hebdo.
Do not use it to justify retaliatory actions seeped in senseless violence, lest you become just like them.
You have more power than that: the pen is mightier than the Kalashnikov.
Its ability to bear witness, defend, uphold, question, sway and resonate is limitless and lasting.
Words, cartoons, images, in print or digital, do not bleed and die with a gunshot.
Today, all call on words of centuries ago to speak about Charlie.
Our greatest wealth and power lie not in the material world.
Or in whether we live or die, for there will always be others.
Our greatest wealth and power lie in our freedom and our liberty.
Gifts best upheld, defended and protected by our minds and our pens.
History proves these survive everything, and carry on.
From the moment Charlie happened, I felt the need to write, and could not find the words.
In one language or another.
I listened as calls for national unity sounded feeble.
Indeed that precious, fragile front lasted a mere few minutes as senseless political tussles took over, as if one had more legitimacy to speak out against or show emotions than another.
What to say without falling also into sterile discourse and forgetting what’s essential?
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine told me about one of her clients who keeps repeating: “Do not strive to explain to me something I cannot understand.” In the context, it was hilarious.
Today, it is befitting.
There is no explanation possible to something I cannot understand.
I am writing these few words in English, in the illusory hope that I could gain some distance from the tidal wave of thoughts and emotions blasting through my being in French.
So that I could pick up my pen, hold it high, and wield it wisely.
I will not strive to explain something I cannot understand.
I will not become paralyzed and feel powerless.
I will not put down my pen in fear.
Anything else than continuing to live in accord with and upholding values we cherish would fail to honor these fallen courageous heroes.
As communicators, we owe it to their families and loved ones to continue standing tall, and proud.
We owe it to ourselves.
It’s called integrity.