Letter: Je ne suis pas Charlie

Je ne suis pas Charlie

To be frank, the magazine Charlie Hebdo deserves criticism, not praise — despite the horrific events that have unfolded. While I am certainly not condoning the murder of its staff members, I do find them guilty of Islam-bashing and inconsiderately expressing religious intolerance, cultural ethnocentrism and extremely poor human judgment, issues that should be important to antiracists and those who “review” racism. Additionally, being aware of the angst caused by their racist and tasteless cartoons, I find those associated with the magazine’s campaign against Islam to be instigators and unthoughtful — not creatively satirical — people directly involved in promoting ethno-racial and religious tensions. Again, these individuals ought to be condemned, not martyred.

The ridiculous display of support for “Charlie” is disconcerting and demonstrates that many people are equally as ignorant and culturally insensitive as those who promoted the anti-Islamist cartoons.

To state that what occurred is “an attack on free speech” is misguided and plainly ignorant. What Charlie Hebdo’s anti-Islamist cartoons represent is hate images and speech, a defamation of major world religion and culture and an obvious attack on Muslims. To cloud this reality is intellectual dishonesty in the wake of reactionary politics.

Jen ne suis pas Charlie. For those who identify with Charlie, you might reconsider your senseless ties to the racism that Charlie breeds and the racial conflicts that will result from ignorant acceptance of that religious and ethno-racial intolerance and racist ridicule of others.

Sean Elias

Glenwood Springs