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I am not Charlie Hebdo. The Kouachi brothers are not Islam.

Je Suis Charlie sign

Signs reading “Je suis Charlie” or “I am Charlie” have sprung up in demonstrations offline and online around the world in the wake of a shooting in which two brothers shot and killed 12 people working for the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo.  The meaning intended by carriers of the “Je Suis Charlie” sign varies, making the “Je Suis Charlie” message ambivalent.

England’s Terrier” wrote using the phase this afternoon that “I think every newspaper in the free world should print those Cartoons.. and show Defiance to Islam.. .”  England’s Terrier describes himself as a “leader of the Blue Hand international movement against Islam and Political Correctness.” That description is wildly inflated; the “Blue Hand international movement” appears to be little more than a Twitter hashtag occupied by England’s Terrier and a few of his chums associated with UKIP, the far-right anti-immigrant UK Independence Party in Great Britain.  Still, UKIP is a real political force in Britain that has been gaining parliamentary seats in recent elections, and UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage taken to the airwaves to simultaneously declare “Je Suis Charlie” and that the attack against Charlie Hebdo is the outcome of unfortunate religious tolerance and multiculturalism.  Self-described “lifelong conservative” Jane OrthoA is more direct: “Sad it took the mass execution of cartoonist to get the media to acknowledge we are under attack.”

But we are not under attack, and in that sense I AM NOT CHARLIE.  The cartoonists who exercised free speech are dead because of it, and I AM NOT DEAD.  To declare that “Je Suis Charlie” in the sense that “Je Suis Mort” or “Je Suis La Victime” is a the self-aggrandizing act of drama queens and demagogues.  The brothers Kouachi killed 12 people, yes.  The act was dastardly, yes.  But that is 12 people out of 7.2 billion people on the planet.  12 dead people out of 7.2 billion people on the planet is no reason for utterly safe people in the UK and US to run around as if there were pieces of shrapnel literally headed their way.  To say “I am Charlie” as a way of affecting injury is also to trivialize the difference between myself — NOT DEAD — and the brave Charlie Hebdo journalists, who ARE DEAD AND WHO KNEW THEY MIGHT DIE.   I honor the courage of those who worked for Charlie Hebdo to express their ideas while receiving death threats.  I scoff at the couch-cushion outrage artists who seek to seize the mantle of victimhood in order to wage righteous retribution when they are not actually victims.

The Kouachi brothers are also not Islam.  In their brief messages above Jane OrthoA and England’s Terrier are not only declaring herself a victim of attack when they are not… they are supposing into imagined existence some monolithic Islam that is carrying out attacks.  It just isn’t so.  There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.  2 of them just carried out an attack on Charlie Hebdo.  1,599,999,997 of them did not.  Would it be any more reasonable to declare that when Christian terrorists in the Central African Republic slaughter Muslims, all of Christendom is engaged in an attack on Islam?  Of course not.  Those Christian terrorists do not equal Christianity.  The Kouchi brothers do not equal Islam.

It is only in one sense that I believe I MUST BE CHARLIE, and that is by doing one thing Charlie Hebdo did, perhaps doing it better, perhaps doing it worse, but really, sincerely trying: it is my responsibility to continue openly examining religious ideas and mentioning fault where I find it, just as we ought to do with ideas in general.  If everyone does it, extremists won’t be able to stop it through intimidation.  As Pete Seeger might have put it, die Gedanken müssen sind frei:



28 thoughts on “I am not Charlie Hebdo. The Kouachi brothers are not Islam.”

  1. WyldCherry says:

    I find fault with most of the “ideas” in your post in general. It’s simply inane, idealistic, incohesive mumblings. I don’t see any valid reasons that almost any of the posts here do much to elevate the discussion and discourse of ideas. These seem to be mostly written as venting for your own amusement and are probably the result of a weak unsuccessful mind trying to validate itself.

  2. Jim Cook says:

    Well, you’re entitled to your opinion. Thanks for sharing.

  3. H. Munster says:

    Wow, you don’t get it at all. Je suis Charlie is a show a solidarity in the face of pure evil.
    The cartoonists are not dead because they exercised free speech. They are dead because they were murdered by cowardly Islamic radicals. That is a fact, not an opinion….
    The worldwide death cult must end.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      What is the relative size of the “worldwide death cult” compared to the number of people killed in traffic accidents? And actually, the brothers who carried out the killings weren’t exactly cowards — they had to know they’d likely be killed as a result of their actions.

      I despise what the Kouachi brothers did, which was indeed to intimidate people into shutting up. Let’s all refuse their squelching impulse by talking. But absolutist sloganeering led to our nation, staggering drunk on pumped-up righteousness, into the completely unproductive, massively deadly, budget-busting wars of the 21st century in the Middle East. Let’s not go sloganeering again.

      1. H. Munster says:

        They were definitely cowards. Just because they ” knew they’d likely die ” does not make them cowards. I really don’t understand your comparison to traffic accidents, it is a pointless comparison. Murder is intentional, an accident is completely different. Are you proposing we ban automobiles? Modern civilization would cease to exist without transportation, people would starve to death on a mass scale from lack of food without transportation. Your logic is flawed and arbitrary.
        BTW, islamic terrorism has caused thousands over the years and destroyed millions of lives, and you dismiss this comparing it to traffic accidents and aspirin overdoses. You should examine yourself closely, and seek psychiatric help.

        1. Jim Cook says:

          What is your definition of a coward?
          How is intentional death different from death that we can predict will occur?
          Has Islamic terrorism really destroyed millions of lives?

          I don’t believe it has. I believe there are many more human-caused deaths from other causes than from Islamic terrorism. I don’t propose we ban automobiles. I propose we take a deep breath and assess the true scale of Islamic terrorism in comparison to other human-caused sources of death. I propose we consider the strategy behind terrorism, which is to cause a society to do itself damage by instilling fear-based reactions in it. I don’t believe those proposals are insane.

          1. H. Munster says:

            My definition of coward is psycho zealots murdering defenseless people in cold blood wearing flak jackets with automatic weapons, all for a false death cult religion that rewards such cowardly acts with the promise of 40 virgins. A coward is someone who is so enraged by an image of their child rapist false prophet that they kill without conscience.
            What is your definition of coward? Heres one… How about a Marxist who blindly attacks companies that employ billions and provide useful products that make life better for everyone?

          2. Jim Cook says:

            My definition of “coward,” in contrast, is that of the dictionary. The Collins English dictionary, to be specific: “a person who shrinks from or avoids danger, pain, or difficulty.”

          3. H. Munster says:

            Truthfully, please tell us how you can think that a murderous pig is anything but a coward? Your adherence to a strict definition reveals that you are incapable of complex thought. Cowardess has many forms, any bully or thug is a coward, because they have a psychological need to hurt others who cannot defend themselves. This is why all terrorists are miserable sad little cowards. They hide their shameful plans and actions, and prey on those with no defense. For example, No islamist would walk into a rough pub, unarmed, and start a fight with the biggest guy there, proclaiming Allah and as that idiocy. No, they would instead, sneak attack a school, or a newspaper, or any other soft target. Because, fundamentally, terrorists are scared weak cowardly pigs.
            You have a really twisted website, you promote failed liberal ideas, which will come back to haunt you and everyone who thinks like you.

          4. H. Munster says:

            Also, if you take the dictionary meaning with strict dogma, then the opposite of cowardice would be courageous. ,so, the definition of a courageous person would be “a person who seeks out danger, pain or difficulty.”
            Hmm, that sounds a lot like a masochist, like me for continuing to discuss this with you.

    2. WyldCherry says:

      The people in Paris were certainly subject to terrorism, by the basic definition of it. Isn’t the support of the Je suis Charlie a form of belonging/friendship, which is fairly high up the Maslow hierarchy of needs? Don’t they still teach that is sociology 101, or that passe now? (sorry to throw in more attempts at French)

  4. WyldCherry says:

    Hard to actually believe that you sincerely don’t support “sloganeering”. Just a very quick perusal of this web site obviously shows it is rife with it, from the recent P. Wood post above to all your t-shirts and buttons, and most of the propaganda you display all over here.

    It is obvious that the only “sloganeering” you don’t truly approve of is the branch that disagrees with your world view. Sad.

    1. J Clifford says:

      Name a slogan from the text of the article you refer to, WyldCherry:

      Where’s the slogan?

    2. Jim Cook says:

      Almost — the “sloganeering” I don’t approve of is sloganeering that is at odds with observable reality.

      “WMD”? Bullshit sloganeering.
      “We are all under attack”? Bullshit sloganeering.
      “Ben Carson Worked For Pyramid Scheme”? Actual, factual sloganeering.

      You’re ultimately in charge of how you feel, happy 🙂 or sad 🙁 . We’ll keep on doing what we do — and I welcome you calling me out when what I write is at odds with the facts — as long as you provide a specific, credible source to back up your critique.

  5. WyldCherry says:

    OK kiddies, seems like it is pretty easy to tweak your nerves and get the children upset.

    Well, jonny, it looks like your dopple pointed out what he at least identifies as “sloganeering” in the article. So argue with him. He just happens to find it acceptable, because it fits in with his world view, pretty much like you.

    As for other examples of sloganeering, it abounds here. I don’t have the time to list them all, but any of your buttons and t-shirts/bumper stickers are certainly sloganeering. But hey, those are all OK, because you did them, and you agree with them, right? Of course.

    Your “observable reality” is clouded and tainted, just like mine. It’s not an objective truth, that’s for sure.

    You “say” you want to not be squelched by “talking”, but that’s apparently false, when you attempt to crush someone’s sense of support for others in a tragedy by dismissing it. Je suis Charlie is one of the most heartfelt displays of support for those who have suffered a tragic event that I have seen in quite some time.
    It looks like you’re so afraid of an elevation of the awareness of the main causes of terrorism in the world that anything that might lead there is subjected to ridicule and derision. And that’s pathetic.

    I’ve heard it so often, I want to throw up when I hear some pundit say “we need to have a conversation about race/crime/laws/etc”. Usually they don’t want a real conversation-all they want is a chance to tell you how screwed up your views are. Conversations require two-way communication and actual listening. And very few actual people, it looks like you all are in that camp as well, want to actually listen to people with any views that differ from your own.

    Because YOUR view is reality. Oh, right, I got that.

    1. J Clifford says:

      Okay, Wyld. I asked you to provide one example of sloganeering in the article, and you can’t.

      Is it “sloganeering” for me to point out that you can’t back up your claims with evidence?

      A two-way conversation requires that both sides are grounded in reality and actually respond to each other. You aren’t bothering to respond to what we actually say, and you aren’t basing you claims in reality, Wyld. Instead, you’re quoting some theoretical group of people – other people than us.

      What do you expect us to do with this approach of yours?

      Let’s get back to the substance of this article, in an actual two-way discussion:

      – Do you disagree with the article’s contention that though Muslims are engaged in anti-Christian violence, Christians are also engaged in anti-Muslim violence?

      – Do you disagree with the article’s contention that the Muslim assailants in the Charlie Hebdo case are not representative of Muslims in general?

      If you disagree, what facts do you have to support your position?

    2. Jim says:

      There is a difference between world view and definition. Ben Carson has engaged in behavior that meets the definition of a pyramid scheme. “World view” has nothing to do with it.

      I’m not going to turn this into a taunt contest. You continue to be welcome to post here and share your opinions.

      1. WyldCherry says:

        Well look chief,
        “…mentioning fault where I find it, just as we ought to do with ideas in general. ..” That’s all I did; I said I found fault with your article in general.
        I’m not taunting anyone.

        And I think I’m in pretty safe territory of pointing out a case of the pot calling the kettle black, when you mention you don’t support sloganeering. This site is rife with it, and if you stand back and take an objective view, of course you would have to acknowledge that, as long as you are being intellectually honest and not lying to yourself.

        I have to laugh that jonny asked for an example of a slogan, and Jimmy provided him with one. And then he tries to obfuscate the whole discussion in another direction. So classic.

        And I did not dispute anything factual about the Ben Carson story, so why bring it up? Seriously though, I’m not supporting Ben Carson for President, nor do I think he would ever win. Everybody has probably done something stupid and regretful in their lives. I don’t think that any of the actual lawsuit points mention or accuse Dr. Carson of personally being involved in the misrepresentation of the product or the improper marketing. It looks like PBS took some money to produce a “special” that was a thinly-veiled infomercial for the product. Way to go, PBS.

        If being a pitchman for them is the worst thing you can come up with for him, then I disagree with the statement that “….makes him one of the last people Americans should elect to the White House in 2016….” That’s a lot of hyperbole. There’s lots more people that would be at the bottom of the list than him. He’s obviously very smart and accomplished. His accomplishments are pretty impressive, even though you dismiss them as being too narrow in scope. That’s rather condenscending, but of course only in my opinion. As I said, I in no way endorse him for President. He really has no chance and has not even announced it yet, so I wonder why waste so much breath on him?

        1. J Clifford says:

          Are you serious? You think that it’s no big deal to have a President of the United States involved in a pyramid scheme and medical fraud? You have the right to that opinion, I suppose, but I think it’s foolish, especially considering the trillions of dollars wasted with policies like the Iraq War, promoted by unscrupulous leaders who used the same kind of hucksters’ arguments employed by Ben Carson in his promotion of Mannatech.

  6. WyldCherry says:

    Oh, please stop.

    I DID point one out. Your pal already referenced it in his post. Can’t you read, or was making the connection from “…looks like your dopple pointed out what he at least identifies as “sloganeering” in the article….” too hard for you to figure?

    And if I use the definition of a slogan as a short, memorable phrase, such as is commonly used in advertising and politics, why I think
    “makes him one of the last people Americans should elect ” is one. That’s been used in many election campaigns.
    “…or just doesn’t care…. is another. Also this goes to intent, which you really have no factual data on whether Ben Carson “cares” or not.
    Here’s another I’ve often heard in campaigns: “….imagine the kind of risky policy choices he would make…”

    Your non sequitur babbling is really getting beyond belief, and frankly is just sophomoric and tiresome. No wonder this site gets little traffic or critical acclaim or mention.

  7. WyldCherry says:

    No, of course I’m not serious; I’m WyldCherry!

    Blah-blah on your statement. I’m not as worried about this compromising his leadership abilities as I would be other things. Like I said, everyone has baggage. I don’t think this is necessarily any worse than Obama’s shady real estate deal with Tony Rezko, a convicted felon. Was there provable evidence that he took various values (like 300K or 600K, I really don’t remember) of comp from Tony, with of course no promise of favors later? Yeah, sure. Did he collude with him/his wife/etc to buy two properties he could not afford, or was it “a boneheaded move” and totally, totally innocent, as he stated? I have my opinion, and it involves what a dead fish smells like.

    But would I think this action (of which I think he guilty, or responsible for a lapse in ethics to a very large degree) alone makes him “one of the last people” we should have elected to the WH? No, not so much. It stinks solid, but it’s kind of like his personal dealings, like Clinton’s or JFK’s affairs, or Bush’s drunk driving. It is a sad note on politics that I really don’t expect too much from any of them anymore.

    Technically, of course, this Mammatech place does not rise from the level of MLM to a pyramid scheme. They at least sell a real product, like Amway, which keeps them slightly on the right side of the pyramid law. It looks like their lawsuit was more about efficacy claims by sales agents than it was that you could only make money by recruiting other folks. That’s what makes it a true illegal pyramid scheme, and of course you knew that. I have some very wonderful business friends that make money selling energy from places like Stream Energy, which is also MLM. While I don’t condone any of these MLM concepts for myself, not everyone involved is a crook. Some just want to make personal money. I know that’s probably a crime to a rock-solid socialist, but that’s the way things work for people with big boy pants.

    Anyway, I explicitly said I did not endorse him for President, so I don’t know why I even care, except the babbling rants on here got me caring, at least for a few minutes. Now, I’m getting pretty much bored with your whole schpiel. Rest peacefully in obscurity.

    1. H. Munster says:

      Jim Cook, J Clifford, and Jim are apparently the same person. You have entered the seventh circle of hell run by Marxist stooges.

      1. J Clifford says:

        No, H. Jim and I are at all the same person. Jim’s wife is dying of cancer. Mine is not. Big difference. (

        Neither are we Marxist.

        We may be stooges, depending on what you mean by that.

        I do feel fairly certain that you are not Herman Munster.

        Speaking only for myself, I’d rather enter the seventh circle of hell than to enter any heaven run by the kind of bitter and nasty divine being described in the Christian Bible, Muslim Koran, or for that matter, any other holy book.

        You may not like Pete Seeger’s politics, but you must be an extremist if you dismiss his artistic talent just because of political issues.

        We don’t mind having you come here and speak out on issues that matter to you, but you should keep in mind that you end up making your right wing values look rather idiotic when you aren’t careful about the quality of what you write.

      2. WyldCherry says:

        Hi H.
        Did you really refer to yourself as “Herman”, or is that their assumption? I did use to work with a Harold Munster, so maybe that is you. As far as worrying about the quality of what you write, as long as you’re writing here, I would not be too worried about it.

        Where did you dig up that old staff page? I’m assuming Monk and Mother Davis are long gone now. I know that these guys are not the same person, but on this site people will go post multiple things under different fake names (go figure this Internet!), so you really never know for sure who is doing what. There are definitely fake names/identities used. Trust has to be earned, and is hard to gain back after it is easily lost. I don’t know why you would choose to mention someone’s wife is dying as a distinguishing characteristic; there’s a lot of other ways to say you two are different people, but I would give him a pass on that, as it obviously must be heavily weighing on his mind. That is truly a terrible thing, of which I am very sorrowed to hear.

        Of course, as far as this website goes, I think stooges is a pretty apt and funny choice of description. I am still eight or nine years old, so any mention of something that reminds me of The Three Stooges has to bring a smile to me.

        I read a lot about Pete Seeger’s alternative energy habits, so I’m more concerned with that than his politics. I’d say that their other post about Dr. Ben Carson being only aware of his little, narrow field (brain surgery) that the same should apply to most popular performance artists. In other words, stick to something you do well, or at least know about.

        You can debate Petey’s quality all you want. Music is a subject of taste, at least partly. Some people think Kanye West and Eminem are highly talented.

        Not too long ago, I started watching the TV series “Weeds”. I’ll bypass discussion of the show. At the beginning in the first couple seasons I think, they played “Little Boxes” by Malvina Reynolds. Now, for my taste, her voice is definitely like chalk on a blackboard. “..and there’s business executives….” Ouch, Ouch, Ouch!

        I got her point completely, but there’s a part of me that can’t stand the condescending attitudes of many of these “poets”, who criticize pleb society while they generally reap all the benefits of those “business executives” who provided the masses with their toys and stuff, not mention basic needs. I got that from a lot of my European friends as well, who mocked any Americans who lived in their trailer parks. Now, I am not a big fan of trailer parks either, but to someone who does not want to live in a high-rise “little box” of an apartment building, like so many of my European friends, they are still their own little castle. I know folks in Europe who have to have mortgages passed down to a second generation in order to be able to pay off the family home. There’s a lot of negative baggage associated with that mode as well.

        Anyway, later, the series used to use other artists playing the same inane song. One episode, I thought I recognized Pete Seegar’s voice in the opening credits, and I was right when I looked it up. I’m sure his politics were pretty much the same as Ms. Reynolds. Not to say I sure have not enjoyed some of his music, but he’s no Paul Rogers, that’s for sure, at least in the voice quality department.

        1. H. Munster says:

          I don’t dislike Pete Seegers music because he was a communist. I dislike him because he was a communist. I dislike his music because it is derivative, simplistic tripe ( and the lyrics are marxist inspired tripe. So, I guess that makes me a musical extremist. I don’t think most anyone really likes Pete Seeger’s music, but have to say they do if they run in progressive circles. As to Jim and J Clifford being the same person, At least you have tag teamed Wyldcherry. Also, trying to make me feel bad by pointing out that Jim’s wife is dying is really low. I dont know Jim, I dont know his wife. What does that have to do with the Charlie Hedbo massacre? What does a Pete Seeger video have to do with it? Talk about poor writing,,,,, jeez.

          1. J Clifford says:

            Derivative? It was folk music. That was the ENTIRE POINT!

            H, I could get a bruise slapping my forehead at this.

  8. H. Munster says:

    Pete Seeger was a Failed revolutionary communist stooge. His voice is like sandpaper. Awful excuse for a musician.

  9. Le père de Charlie says:

    baiser charlie hell’do ……..

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