I lower the flag to half mast today with the second heaviest heart I have ever felt upon doing so. I did not feel this way on 9/11. I felt this way on the day they bombed Boston – because that was my home.
Today, our home was attacked. I don’t mean France. I don’t mean Paris. I don’t mean Charlie Hebdo. I mean our freedom of expression. Ours.
A group of lowlives attacked and killed at least twelve people at the offices of a satirical magazine for no other reason than they disliked its sense of humor. They believed that their religion trumped anyone’s right to mock it. They believed that their umbrage meant that they had the right to take the life of 12 people who participated in mocking it.
And therein proved that their interpretation of their religion was entirely, utterly, without merit, and worthy of being mocked.
I do not single out Islam as worthy of disdain and mockery. I feel that way about all Abrahamic religions — and I would likely feel that way about all other religions, if I learned enough about them. If you want to practice your religion, by all means, go right ahead. You can believe in a flying spaghetti monster, or a zombie Jesus, or anything else you like.
And dammit, I have the right to mock you for it.
Not because I am right. I may be dead wrong. I fully accept that if I ever die, I could be called before some supreme being who will be utterly fucking pissed at me — and if he exists, he damn well should.
Because I mock him. I mock his followers. I mock lots of things.
As we should be able to.
Does that bother you?
Are your beliefs so fragile, so meaningless, so utterly without merit, that they cannot stand in opposition to mine?
If your supreme being is so weak that it requires you to commit acts of violence against other people because they mock him, then your supreme being is not worthy of any respect at all — let alone immunity from mockery.
If your God or your prophet can not take being mocked, then fuck your god. Fuck your prophet.
Against this backdrop, we now have Charlie Hebdo. I do not use the term “hero” loosely. But, Charlie Hebdo has been bombed before. Those who worked there knew the risks. They accepted them. And today, 12 of them died because they believed in something far more important than any fairy tale.
They believed in freedom of expression.
“Hero” is the right word.
We are only the sum of our thoughts. If the powerful or the fanatical can stop us from expressing them through coercion or violence, we are less human. We all achieve less for being here for the brief time that we get to exist on this rock.
When we got attacked on 9/11, we responded by changing who we were. We responded by curtailing our own liberties, all in the false name of “security.”
But there are worse things than being killed by a terrorist.
Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief, Stephane Charbonnier once said: “I would prefer to die standing than to live on my knees.” Today, he died standing.
He died standing for something.
He died standing for freedom of expression.
I very much doubt that these lowlives’ friends will follow up and come for us. But, as every slave stood and said “I am Spartacus,” we now stand and say “Nous Sommes Charlie.”
The correct reaction to terrorism is to do exactly the opposite of what the terrorists want you to do.
I would not normally re-publish these pieces of art. I don’t particularly care for them. But, if these terrorists wanted to take that right away from us by making us afraid, they have sorely failed in their attempt.
When I decided to publish this post, and Charlie Hebdo covers mocking Islam, I wanted to do it on behalf of my law firm. We believe deeply in freedom of expression. However, I realized that doing so would raise the possibility of someone coming to the office to do us harm.
So I decided that I would not do so unless everyone in the firm agreed. I had the vote taken outside of my presence, so that nobody would fear any retribution if they disagreed.
I am tear-jerkingly proud to say that not a single person affiliated with Randazza Legal Group objected.
With that, I give you what these barbarians tried to take from us.
Fuck your prophet.
Nous Sommes Charlie.
If you would like to sign your name to this post, I invite you to.
If you have a problem with this, I’m sitting here at 3625 South Town Center Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89135, I have guns, and I am a fucking cockroach – meaning you can’t kill me. I’ve crashed motorcycles, I’ve fallen from buildings, I’ve been hit with a shotgun blast, I’ve even had a parachute malfunction.
As Papillon said, “I’m still here, you bastards.”
So bring it.
I have a 9mm slug with your name on it.
great post. agree 100%. that said, i’d like to hear more about the malfunctioning parachute.
Thanks, I think this is your best post to date.
Je suis Charlie.
I proudly sign my name to this post, and, in small measure, screw my courage to the sticking place.
As the editor-in-chief of a young, but up-and-coming satirical and humor website in the South, all I have to say is Nous Sommes Charlie and fuck you!
The Rocket Wrangler
Je suis Charlie!
As Marc noted, he did not want to know if anyone in our office objected to this post, so he tasked me with talking to everyone. I am proud to say that, not only were there no objections, there was no hesitation. I am blessed to work with people who are passionate about what they do and are not afraid to stand for something.
Je suis Charlie.
Well done Marc!! I’ll be waiting in ND
Je suis Charlie. As an editor/publisher of a small town semiweekly newspaper I frequently hear complaints and threats about how we “better not” publish something. Thankfully, it has never devolved into the bitter sacrifice my colleagues in Paris made.
I am not in the same league, nowhere near, as Charlie Hebdo, but I will gladly sign my name to this post.
Je suis Charlie. Larry Madden, Barrister and Solicitor, Canada
Ok, I am not Randazza. I am extraordinarily wimpy. I stand with this post.
Bring it, you goat-fucking shit-lickers.
Perfect. You nailed it.
From – predominantly Muslim – South Thailand, and on behalf of myself, my Muslim boyfriend, and my many Muslim friends here who live peacefully and harmoniously each and every day in a multicultural, religiously plural community, we say “Fuck You!” to the cowards in Paris who defiled liberty, humanity AND Islam with their barbaric acts. We stand with Charlie Hebdo.
Dropped the mic! This made my day.
Fantastic Post Marc
Evren Seven here. I know that sounds like a fake name, but look it up on the USPTO employee directory. Elie over at ATL thought I had made up an entire online persona until he saw my license. Anyway, I’m heading to Vegas first weekend of May. Wouldn’t mind meeting you for a drink. It’ll be the middle of a bachelor party, so I’ll already be shitty.
Je suis Charlie!
I’m John R. Mayne, a Northern California prosecutor.
Je Suis Charlie.
Proud and happy to know you Marc.
A book I wrote was once seized by the Director of Public Prosecutions in the UK. The publisher was imprisoned for four months. If I had still been living in England, I could have been punished similarly.
Trivial compared with being killed, obviously. And I see Islamic fundamentalists as the biggest enemies of most forms of liberty right now. But they are not the only ones.
Marco- good post.
Je Suis Charlie.
Good post. Keep your powder dry.
Je Suis Charlie.
Je suis Charlie.
Signing as J. Arlo Mullinix.
Long live free speech, may it lead us back to reason.
Nous sommes Charlie
[…] Why should they? […]
Signing my name to Marc’s post. Proud to be in such good company.
the brave creators of charlie he do died heroes but perhaps not for the Islamic cause. now it seems the killers left behind fake ids. the ‘evil doers’ may be Islamic extremists, but any number of groups would like to cause trouble and push countries into actions of the type we demonstrated after 9/11
Town of Somerset, New York. Niagara County. Across the lake from Toronto. 45 miles NE of Buffalo. My shingle is out front. Can’t miss it. Come get me. Fous toi!
Je suis Charlie.
Well said Mr. Randazza, well said.
My view on this is somewhat more sympathetic to those who are not publishing the images, but I support those who would publish them in protest.
The only proper censorship is self-censorship. Exercising the right to free speech includes being free to not speak. The heckler’s veto and death threats are anathema.
The images constitute blasphemy in Islam, as much is clear. The proper Islamic response to it, however, is not to look at the images. Homosexuality is against Islamic law; so, don’t participate in homosexuality if it offends you. Eating pork is against Islamic law; so don’t eat pork if it offends you. Knowing that others are eating BLTs on toast bearing the image of Muhammed while having gay sex does not give you the right to kill them for it. Just don’t do it. If I want to do one or more of those things, it is my personal liberty.
Many, however, are lambasting major media companies for saying they stand with Charlie Hebdo while simultaneously self censoring. This, I disagree with. If someone is killed by a nutjob for being gay, Wolf Blitzer can condemn it without having to sleep with Anderson Cooper live. It is perfectly acceptable to say that you do not wish to offend viewers/readers/listeners through what they would deem blasphemy while at the same time condemning those who would take it upon themselves to murder blasphemers. It may be courageous to republish the offending images, but choosing not to republish does not automatically equate to cowardice. CNN has a different audience than this blog (except when Marc is a guest columnist) and has different commercial considerations. CNN and others may be hypocritical, publishing Piss Christ but not the Charlie Hebdo images, but that is a business decision and an editorial decision they are free to make. If you support Charlie Hebdo’s right to speak, you must also support the right of CNN et al to not speak.
I personally would never have published these images before the attack. But, I think that if you make your living from freedom of expression, as all these media outlets do, this was a direct attack on you. The proper response is to publish them.
I guess if one chooses not to, I can live with that. What I find abhorrent is blurring the images if you republish them.
I think blurring is a decent compromise, once you’ve taken the anti-blasphemy position. It allows you to generally show what they look like, so your audience could be better clued in if they search for an unblurred image. It also provides context without having to show the whole thing. The blurring doesn’t cover anything viewers or readers need to see to better inform their opinions. Just as you were not inclined to print before, there is no journalistic reason to print after. A report on a congressman’s leaked sexting photos need not show his wang to get the story across. Similarly, they do not need to stand up and say “we hereby commit blasphemy” to say “we have the right to commit blasphemy and how dare anyone kill us for it”.
Surely there is a GREATER need to publish unblurred images after this event–to demonstrate a refusal to be intimidated. This should always be the kind of response to an attempt at intimidation by force.
That is why we have outlets such as The Legal Satyricon, with an audience that demands such publication. Mass market media does not have the same audience or the same mission.
That’s a stupid statement. Mass Market media? I guess you’re probably for ‘free speech zones.’ and let me guess, you also believe in fairy tales from 2000 years ago?
Free speech zones are problematic. I am talking about self-censorship. My religious beliefs are irrelevant to a conversation about choosing not to intentionally offend.
Thank you for lending some sanity to the discussion.
Jesus fucking Muhammed with a red hot poker, our views are 180 from each other.
The point of this is to honor him, not to piss at each other.
Je suis Charlie! -“et je vais arrêter mon comportement ajustement fondée sur d’autres croyances des gens dans la magie drôle .”
“The images constitute blasphemy in Islam, as much is clear”
Clear? who cares what is considered blasphemy in any religion.
Denis Lemon was found guilty of “blasphemous libel” for his fantasy about homosexual acts with Jesus. “He was fined £500 and sentenced to nine months imprisonment suspended. It had been “touch and go”, said the judge, whether he would actually send Denis Lemon to jail.” This happened in the United Kingdom. Evidently some people still cared a lot about blasphemy in 1977, when the case was heard. Maybe they still do.
Uh, of course, you are talking about a religious state. I don’t live in a religious state. I applaud Denis Lemon.
You might be interested to know that some blasphemy laws remain on the books: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter272/Section36
As to your point, many people find blasphemy of their own religion or of others to be offensive. They care. If you respect your fellow man or woman, then it is polite to not intentionally offend if such can be avoided. One can disagree with Charlie Hebdo’s intent to offend by committing what many would deem blasphemy while still defending their right to nonetheless do it. Responding to the attack does not require perpetuation of the blasphemy, just as I argued the above, responding to the murder of a gay person for being gay does not require engaging in sodomy.
We must work towards ridding these anarchic laws concerning “blasphemy” which perpetuate the idea that free speech isn’t always protected.
“In Germany, blasphemy is covered by Article 166 of the Strafgesetzbuch, the German criminal law. If a deed is capable of disturbing the public peace, blasphemy is actionable. The article reads as follows:
§ 166 Defamation of religious denominations, religious societies and World view associations(1) Whoever publicly or by dissemination of writings (§ 11 par. 3) defames, in a manner suitable to disturb the public peace, the substance of the religious or world view conviction of others, shall be fined or imprisoned for up to three years.(2) Whoever publicly or by dissemination of writings (§ 11 par. 3) defames, in a manner suitable to disturb the public peace, a church established in Germany or other religious society or world view association, or their institutions orcustoms, shall be punished likewise.
In 2006, the application of this article received much media attention when a Manfred van H. (also known as “Mahavo”) was prosecuted for blasphemy for distributing rolls of toilet paper with the words “Koran, the Holy Koran” stamped on them”. (From Wikipedia)
Avoiding offending people who are easily offended would make comedy a very small art form. Personally, if I find something offensive, I consider it my obligation to avoid it. This is one of the small prices to pay for protecting other people’s freedom of speech. It would be inconceivable to me to suggest that someone should “politely” refrain from offending me.
That is a lofty sentiment …until someone calls your wife a whore, or tells the township that you son gives great blowjobs behind the bleachers for five bucks. Then a baseball bat will be called into play, as you beat their head in for their stupid free speech.
Free Speech can have a price. Just tell the biggest baddest dude in a biker bar that you just had sex with his old lady. I doubt the ACLU will accept your Free Speech Rights case, after your intensive recovery in the hospital, on the grounds that you have to be the most stupid person on the planet.
I agree that you just might get your ass kicked for the wrong kind of speech. I see a distinction between a personal affront to one person, provoking them to violence, and an act designed to try and intimidate the world from criticizing ideas.
Still, most civilized people would say that both are wrong, but I wouldn’t be doing “I am Bubba” if Bubba got his ass beat down in a biker bar.
Thank you. I have difficulty drawing the line between free speech and outright ignoring the “No!” of another. Someone will, predictably, get pissed. As they say in the hood, “There won’t BE nuttin if you don’t START nuttin.” I think there is jello room for some modicum of respect up in here.
I don’t care and I don’t care that they care. Fairy tales are for children. They need to grow up and get a little logic.
As a scholar and professor of American Visual Culture who deals with controversial art and topics, I simply say:
Je suis Charlie.
My wife is French. As a somewhat awkward American learning the language was difficult, Fortunate for me my Father-in-law had stacks of these cartoons.For the next few years every visit to France was full of these comics and great conversations about what they meant to the French people.Were they sometimes vile? Of course, but the message was clear. As you so well stated, “If your God or your prophet can not take being mocked, then fuck your god. Fuck your prophet”. Seeing my wife crying, and the reactions of friends and family in France breaks my heart. “I lost a part of my childhood”, said my wife.Can you imagine if Schultz,Trudeau,Oliphant and Peters were all murdered on the same day? For drawing? For mocking? I see the response to this and it is clear that the civilized world appreciates these heroes. The outpouring of support for basic human rights has been astounding.
Nous sommes Charlie
Je suis Charlie.
Come at me bros
Very well said. I applaud.
“Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief, Stephane Charbonnier once said: “I would prefer to die standing than to live on my knees.” Today, he died standing.
He died standing for something.
He died standing for freedom of expression.”
This morning on the french radio station France Inter, Patrick Pelloux, who was a close collaborrator of Charlie Hebdo who also is a emergency physician, and was the first to arrive on the scene, said this, and I am fairly certain he is right:
“I am pretty sure Charb (Stephane Charbonnier) actually literally stood up and give them a middle finger when they executed him”.
I am certain of this.
I did lose a part of my childhood yesterday as well like your wife erobirdbrain.
Je suis Charlie, Fuck you
Je suis Charlie
Chris Ryan, PE
My name is Matt Sanchez, and I approve this @!#&$ message.
Nous Sommes Charlie
Fuck these guys, and anyone else opposed to free speech.
Brilliant Post, as yooj. Signed. Man Charlie Hastam.
Brilliant piece. The attack was cowardly, and as much as it sounds like a platitude, it was an attack against everyone who believes in free speech and true freedom of (and from) religion.
And the shotgun and parachute stories have to be told!!!!
(I should link to the “Raising Arizona” clip with Cage giving his prison address because when I read your post, that was what popped in to my mind)
Je suis Charlie. AND–there are more ways to discourage free expression than murder. American society is getting too comfortable with many of them, such as campus speech codes: goo.gl/e5hHDD
Allez Charlie Hebdo!
[…] is for this reason that I reluctantly did not sign on to Marc Randazza’s “We are Charlie Hebdo” post. I understand what he’s doing — Randazza is a Kung-Fu master of “Fuck you” […]
Hillsboro, Oregon. If they bring their bitch asses to my town I’ll let my WIFE shoot them and see how they like that. Je suis Charlie.
[…] I see the other side in this argument. The idea: try to censor by violence, and lovers of free speech overwhelm the would be censors […]
As a society built on good ideas, free expression is our very soul. I’m elated that Marc, Charlie Ebdo, and many others have the courage to stand up for what is sacred to *us*. je suis avec vous!
I agree, except that we do have the worrisome notion of civility” within polite society. I am not willng to die for someone else s potty humor.
“Polite society” doesn’t have to read the magazine. CH is imposing nothing on society, it is just expressing a viewpoint (that you may find “potty humor”).
On the other hand, the attackers are telling society, “You better never *say* this, or else…” They are imposing their values on the wider society with violence. How can we even give an inch in accepting this kind of cultural bullying?