Nous sommes Charlie
I woke this morning to the news of the appalling tragedy in Paris. I cried on the way to work as I listened to descriptions of the brutal deaths that the (presumed) terrorists inflicted on the cartoonists and journalists. So soon after the Sydney siege, I found it very difficult to see another city suffering a such a similar horror, albeit sadly of a far greater proportion than we saw in Sydney.
By the time I arrived at work, I had learned of the silent vigils being held across Europe last night and, particularly in Paris. The images of silent thousands holding aloft pens and pencils and signs bearing the words “Je suis Charlie” in solidarity with the slain and the democratic freedoms held so dear by France were unbearably poignant.
When I arrived home this evening, the “Je suis Charlie” signs had burned themselves into my memory and reminded me why we are so fortunate to live in democratic societies that value freedom of speech and freedom of the press so dearly. To be able to sit at my desk and write this blog post is a very sweet privilege this evening, and one which I do not take for granted. The solidarity and humanity demonstrated by the people of France (and Europe) and Sydney (and Australia) in the past 3 weeks in the face of terror and terrorism gives me such great hope for the future, even though we appear to be mired so deeply in conflict and fear in so many places across the globe and in our hearts.
Liberte, egalite, fraternite – indeed.