#JeSuisCharlie is an unfortunate hashtag in many ways, not the least made necessary by a horrific event precipitated by home-grown terrorists in Paris, France. I say home-grown even though it appears the perps were apparently trained in Syria after going there from France to participate in the abominable atrocities of Syrian President Assad. Who did the training may not actually be important, whether it be ISIL or Al-Qaeda or some other agency. Those who perpetuate terrorism need to be made to cease and desist in a conclusive fashion.
Three gunmen, two of them obviously skilled in military style marksmanship, as many of you readers already know, went to the editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo and murdered 8 journalists/cartoonists along with 4 others. Among the dead was a French policeman outside the office, assassinated in cold blood. Their motive apparently was to take revenge on the weekly newspaper, which was long known for its caustic criticism of almost everything though the use of politically oriented cartoons. The gunmen apparently were taking umbrage for cartoons published that ridiculed the Islamic religion and certain individuals and groups that are almost certainly supporters of terrorist activity. Charlie Hebdo has declared that it will continue its mission to comment as it sees fit. Vive le Charlie Hebdo. I claim the right to associate myself with this hashtag, #JeSuisCharlie, as a retired journalist.
This particular terrorist act follows on the heals of recent beheadings of Journalists by members of ISIL/ISIS. For me that is what is most striking. When terrorism attacks journalists directly it is no less than an attack on Freedom of Expression, Free Speech or whatever else you might like to call it. Certainly also it is a direct attack on democratic thinking, where we, the people, have the right and indeed the obligation to express our opinion about whatever crosses the path of our lives. That, by the way has nothing to do with right or wrong thinking, though we all should hope such thinking is well reasoned, logical, well-informed, and articulate.
The phrase Je Suis Charlie is simply translated as I AM CHARLIE. I suggest we can all adopt the phrase to represent a clarion cry for justice. Terrorism for any reason by anyone person or group ought not to be tolerated. I suggest that we need to support any effort to bring terrorists to justice. And, I do not mean hate the larger community from which terrorists come. Terrorists make up only a small percentage of the population of whatever ethnic or religious group surrounds their ilk.
I do not write to express my outrage against the Muslim Faith any more than I would rail against something done by the “Catholic or Protestant ” or other faith structure held by some here in the West and elsewhere around the world. I might sometimes disagree with some pronouncement or other but I do not hate the faith construct itself. Justice, I think, is best served when the perpetrators of wrongdoing are brought in front of appropriate authorities and are held accountable for their acts if and when found to be truly wrong.
I have used the term home-grown terrorist to describe these particular offenders, because they have been identified as citizens, or at least residents of the country where they displayed their disdain for the sanctity of human life. Canada has very recently experienced its own incidents of home-grown terrorist action. Two different gunmen, both citizens of Canada, gunned down and killed two unsuspecting members of the Canadian Military. The motives seem unclear, but the acts are devastating none-the-less.
In my novel,The Chechen’s Revenge, the terrorists involved in the plot are not home-grown but rather are infiltrators. They plot to destroy the lives of innocent people in an attempt to ‘teach’ Canada a lesson for failure to chastise Russia for its actions in Chechnya during the first and second Chechen Wars.Sean-Guy O’Dwyer-Lariviere and his team at the Canadian Anti-terrorism Service are charged with responsibility to identify, track and prevent terrorist actions within Canada. Though they do identify the terrorist group in this story, readers can certainly understand the task is fraught with challenge. So it is in real life. There are countless thousands engaged in the battle against terrorism valiantly trying to stay ahead of the events that promise destruction.
I am currently engaged in writing a second novel, tentatively titled A Prairie Vendetta, which will feature the team faced with home-grown terrorists in Saskatchewan, one of the prairie provinces of Canada. It will be a race to get the terrorists before they can unfold their deadly plans. I can’t yet tell you when that novel will be completed. All I can do is say stay tuned.
In the meantime I say again Thanks for your support. Good reading friends. #JeSuisCharlie