Working in the political sphere has provided a sort of quasi-emotional inoculation. For the most part, I’m able to read and write about all kind of stories, tragedies, atrocities, and hypocrisies without having much more reaction than, “Seriously? You’ve got to be kidding me!” before moving on the next le sigh-worthy moment.
I imagine doctors have a similar arrangement. It’s not that they don’t care, but as a matter of practicality they cannot become emotionally entangled with every single patient without risking professional burnout.
But then there are stories, tragedies, atrocities, and hypocrisies too powerful for the inoculation. The destruction of Charlie Hebdo is one of those.
I’m not yet able to comprehend that a group of Muslim terrorists exterminated an entire newspaper. In the most literal sense, the terrorists won. The goal was to destroy Charlie Hebdo for printing “offensive” images of Muhammad; and that’s exactly what they did. Mission accomplished.
Charlie Hebdo was firebombed in 2011 for printing comics portraying Muhammad in an unflattering light. Undeterred, publisher Stephane Charbonnier said, “I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.” The man is a hero, as was everyone who worked with him.
Countless pieces will be penned on the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. Some will discuss the Islamification of Europe, others will talk about terrorist cells, many will dive into the foreign policy nitty gritty, and most all will be relevant.
My reaction, my takeaway is far less didactic.
We will always battle those who hate truth, and those who hate truth will always try to extinguish it. It is incumbent upon those that speak the truth to do so bravely, unabashedly, especially in the face of evil. Truth is what Charlie Hebdo chose. The price was twelve lives.
My hope is that in their bravery, we find resolve. And in that resolve, we awake to a fresh realization that freedom is never free. Should the day ever arrive, are we willing to pay the price Truth too often requires?
I hope I am.
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