Je suis Charlie because radicalism and terrorism have poisoned the Parisian dream I have striven for since I was a child.
Je suis Charlie because Paris is my current home and it came under attack. The events that occurred this week now affect my daily life and the daily lives of everyone around me.
Je suis Charlie because I now live in a city where primary schools are cordoned off with signs at the entrance warning of the threat of an attack. Primary schools.
Je suis Charlie because creativity should be celebrated, not quashed.
Je suis Charlie because I am a writer and blogger, and thought that I lived in a modern world where I could express myself freely.
Je suis Charlie because I support everyone’s right to free thought, free belief, and free speech, even if it differs my own thoughts and beliefs.
Je suis Charlie because I also refuse to be dictated. I refuse to be told what I can and cannot think, believe or say.
Je suis Charlie because, although I don’t agree with everything Charlie Hebdo publishes, I support free press and everyone’s right to exercise it. (Plus some of the things they’ve published about the UK are hilariously accurate.)
Je suis Charlie because I refuse to associate these heinous crimes or radical individuals with the Islamic faith, and I refuse to associate ordinary, peaceful, loving Muslims with these heinous crimes and radical individuals.
Je suis Charlie because I believe that nobody should be attacked or killed for their religious beliefs.
Je suis Charlie because I believe that nobody should be attacked or killed for their ethnicity or nationality.
Je suis Charlie because I believe that nobody should be attacked or killed for their sexual identity or gender.
Je suis Charlie because I believe that nobody should be attacked or killed. Ever.
This is FRANCE. A country whose politics/bureaucracy/secularism/food prices/postal system I whinge about on a daily basis because IT IS MY RIGHT. A country whose Declaration of the Rights of Man is a fundamental document in the history of human rights. A country of fine wines, cheeses and breads. A country of tiny cars and double-decker trains. A country of outstanding literature and distinctly average music. A country of freedom, equality and unity.
Nous sommes tous Charlie because these “terrorists” have achieved the opposite of what they set out to do. They wanted to scare us and divide us. To weaken us and suppress our voices, hearts and creativity. But we are not afraid. We are unified, and because of that we are stronger and louder and more motivated than ever. We are infinitely more inspired to write and draw and be who we are. They wanted to shut down Charlie Hebdo but they’ve opened it up to the world and it’s more popular and famous than ever.
We are not afraid, we will not be oppressed, and we will not back down. WE ARE CHARLIE.