Power Of Symbols · Uncategorized

Why I Am Not Saying “Je Suis Charlie”

I cannot say “Je Suis Charlie.” This is not meant to be mean spirited or disrespectful. By not saying it, I am paying utmost respect to my fellow writers and artists who paid for their calling with their lives.

All I can do is stand humbled by the thought, “What would I do?” What would I do in the face of a threat on my life because of what I believed? Would I have the courage of those writers, editors, publishers and cartoonists?

Think about what you're saying with this serious meme.
What are we really saying with this serious meme?

“Je Suis Charlie” is a great sentiment, sincerely held and believed. Right now it’s comforting many people and helping them feel strong in the face of this horrific crime. I know how important that is in the face of such personal, professional, and national tragedy. Serious memes like this or others like “Boston Strong” capture our imagination and unite us.

But for me, this is a time of reflection. Do I have that kind of courage? Would I stand strong in the face of such an existential threat?

Honestly, I don’t know. So far, I have not had to make that choice: my art or my life. I’ve not had to make an even more important choice of Jesus or my life.

I will respect my God given gifts–and the memory of my fellow artists–by challenging myself to aspire to the highest reaches of my art.

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3 thoughts on “Why I Am Not Saying “Je Suis Charlie”

  1. Good thoughts. I will say here that I wasn’t dealing with the content of those cartoons. I’ve considered whether I would be so generous if Hebdo were ridiculing Jesus. Jesus could’ve shut down those who mocked him and he didn’t. Maybe that’s our answer. Thanks to you both for posting!

  2. So beautifully said, Lora. I think we all wrestle with that terrible possibility–whether or not we will be required to stand up for our principles in the face of death; and if and when that happens, whether or not we will have the courage to do so. Do we really know what we would do until the time arrives? And where do we draw the line? How would I feel if Jesus were depicted in an insulting way? Is it right to diminish the faith of others, and to insult what is precious to them? Of course, the image of Jesus has been diminished in books and art, and I would never even think of resorting to violence about it. And I believe freedom of speech is essential, so to fight for it is right. But I hope to fight smart. Jesus says to be as wise as serpents and as peaceful as doves. Am I wise to spit in the face of a viper that I could walk away from? Am I peaceful if I jab sticks in a tiger? Will I be a willing martyr if someone destroys my art, my house or possessions? I don’t think so. But what if my faith in Jesus is at stake? That’s different to me. My prayer is that God will send his Holy Spirit to strengthen me for whatever happens.

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