Editorial: Let us all be Charlie

Today at 4pm a global coalition of publications and organisations publishes cartoons, covers and writing from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo as a signal of solidarity with the French publication, which came under such deadly attack on Wednesday.

The joint action also underlines the commitment of authors and journalists around the world to state their commitment to freedom of expression and its vital importance.

Those involved include the Mail & Guardian, the Guardian in the UK, , Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paolo, the City Press as well as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, freeDimensional, Index on Censorship, PEN America, Reporters Without Borders and English PEN. They will be part of a moment around the world when people from many nations speak up for the fundamental right to freedom of expression and what it stands for. And to show #solidarity.

M&G Editorial: Only a rebellion of courage will strangle extremism

The goals of terrorism – if we were to dignify utter insanity with having aims – are fear and polarisation. And over the past decade and a half, terrorists, especially those with the temerity to associate themselves with Islam, have met with some success on those fronts.


The fear was encoded into security protocols, the polarisation evident in pulpit rhetoric.

By their metrics, at least, the terrorists were winning. 

For a time, that victory obscured what we should have seen writ large in human history: all tyrants must die, even the tyranny of terror. And perhaps the time of its passing is now.

On Wednesday Paris did not cower; it rose up. 

People gathered not only to mourn those who had been killed in the offices of Charlie Hebdo, but to show their defiance.

“You cannot take our liberty,” they said, and the saying made it so.

Like ripples in a pond it spread, sped up by social media: a rebellion of courage.

When a lone attacker laid siege to a café in Sydney in mid-December it should, by rights, have strengthened the hands of those who couch their xenophobia in economic terms or spout nonsense about a clash of civilisations.

Instead, Australians reached out to one another.

“Not in our name,” said Muslims. “Nor in ours,” said Christians, who offered themselves as human shields against thoughtless reprisals. Solidarity ran riot.

Extremists have proven, in recent years, that they cannot be defeated by arms or vigilance, or by turning their own methods against them.

But in the past month Sydney and Paris have proven that they can be defeated by the resilience of the human spirit.

Perhaps these examples will give fresh hope to Kenyans, Nigerians and others around the world who face these perils.

Je suis Charlie. Let us all be Charlie.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

France will test flying taxis from next year, say operators

A drone-like, fully-electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle (VTOL) dubbed VoloCity, produced by German company Volocopter, was chosen for the innovative trial with flying taxis in a peri-urban area

The orchestrators of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen

As the crisis continues to unfold, the biggest threat may be the vested interest in maintaining the civil war Therefore, with no end in sight to the conflict plaguing the nation, the question worth asking is: who benefits from a Yemen at war?

Paris throws off mask to party like the virus never was

Social distancing and face masks were largely forgotten as thousands of French people danced and partied well into Monday in the first big blow out since the coronavirus lockdown

The solitary choreography of solo prayer

Covid-19 transmissions in mosques and churches have complicated our relationships with them

Remapping African musics

Itinerant DJ and artist Mo Laudi works hard to ensure the continent’s sounds secure their rightful recognition

Our wonderful wetlands need protection now

Humanity is amazed by our natural world but fails to value its importance to our survival
Advertising

Subscribers only

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

ANC’s rogue deployees revealed

Despite 6 300 ANC cadres working in government, the party’s integrity committee has done little to deal with its accused members

More top stories

Fake trafficking news targets migrants

Exaggerated reports on social media of human trafficking syndicates snatching people in broad daylight legitimate xenophobia while deflecting from the real problems in society

It’s not a ‘second wave’: Covid resurges because safety measures...

A simple model shows how complacency in South Africa will cause the number of infections to go on an upward trend again

Unisa shortlists two candidates for the vice-chancellor job

The outgoing vice-chancellor’s term has been extended to April to allow for a smooth hand-over

How US foreign policy under Donald Trump has affected Africa

Lesotho has been used as a microcosm in this article to reflect how the foreign policy has affected Africa
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday