What should we learn from the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris?

My grandfather was a subscriber to CharlieHebdo and most of the cartoonists was in TV shows I watched as a kid.

In the 60 ‘s, their original job was to paint the absurd and ugly portrait of France - with lots of drunkards jokes about sex and religion in the back. Their main mission was to remind everyone that France was the country of Petain, Le Pen and tons of guys that were immensely stupid and proud of their cheese and baguette. The journal acted like a reminder of the ridicule of this nation that is always trying so hard to get everyone “civilized “ while being just a bunch of a drunk guys starving for more nasty girls.

My grandfather was fond of Charlie Hebdo because he could read it with his friends at the bar and laugh together about the dirty jokes. Tits, asses, ridiculous priests, stupid politicians : Charlie Hebdo was meant to be read with a huge pot of red wine.

Personally, I stopped reading it around 2004-5 because it has lost its charm. Following the pace of the new media, CH had became more reactive to the global media agenda. Most of the content were jokes and reactions on the latest TV news. They were now dealing with all sort of issues from all over the world.

Instead of portraying the meanest details about daily reality in France, the journal was now making not-so-clever comments about anything, drowning itself in the endless media flow. Doing that, they pushed themselves towards more stereotypes, as they were now drawing about things that were after all unfamiliar. It was not about making a crude social satire of French society anymore.

At that point they started to have threats regarding racism, anti-semitism, anti-muslims accusations, etc. Before it will have been only a few politicians feeling insulted, or some local priests getting mad. Now it was some remote guys in some far countries that were supposedly angry. This was handled so poorly that in 2005 Charlie Hebdo even republished some racist drawings of Muhammad from a Danish newspaper. At that point I said to myself that I won ‘t read it anymore.

Today all the founders are dead plus half of the team. People are fighting to get a new issue while no one really cared about it for years. I am asking myself how those guys can continue to publish, how this sort of humor can last after so much stupid nonsense in a week.

Maybe they should just get back to talk about all was is wrong with France and the West, and let the Islamists in the Middle East be for some time. After all, the guys with guns were from Paris and they learned everything in the schools, streets and jails of France. The biggest menace is not on freedom of speech. Saying whatever comes to our mind on whatever subject produces mostly very bad results, right? They should be a “duty to think “ bound with this concept of freedom of speech.

The real threat now is on kids in France or US or China or wherever they are left alone, treated like crap, excluded and forbidden to live a normal life. We make new terrorists everyday by being so ignorant of all the suffering around, by seeking for remote enemies instead of looking in a mirror, by washing our hands in saying “je suis Charlie “ while ignoring that it also means “I am part of all this mess “.

This text was originally published in quora.

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