Τρίτη, 13 Ιανουαρίου 2015

I'm Charlie, I’m Ahmed, I am Justine...and I'm afraid!



 Justine Frangouli-Argyris


I heard the news surrounding the mass killing of the 12 journalists at “Charlie Hebdo” in Paris early Wednesday from a friend who is working in the “City of Light" this year. “The capital is paralyzed by fear," he said, after Islamist extremists had struck the heart of French freedom of expression by attacking the renowned satirical weekly newspaper.

 

I arose with an anxiety that quickly spread to all the muscles of my body and mind. Earlier this year, the radical fundamentalist group, ISIS, had warned it would attack all the countries partaking in the fight against its guerrillas in the Middle East which have been brutally beheading Western hostages on camera in an effort to spread their message of terror and death.

 

Before I came to realize what was happening, a third jihadist had killed a female police officer the following day in Paris. And, during the subsequent massive manhunt for the three terrorists, I saw pictures of those held hostage in a Jewish grocery being murdered.  I was shocked, not knowing for whom or for what to mourn.

 

For the exceptional cartoonists who fell victim to Islamic fundamentalism?

 

For the savage blow to democracy and freedom of expression in the press?

 

For Ahmed Merabet, the Muslim policeman who was mercilessly gunned down in cold blood?

 

For the hostages in the Jewish grocery store who fell victim to a growing religious-political war?

 

For the young Muslim radicals who were born and raised in France but became subservient to the teachings of ISIS and Al-Qaeda?

 

For the inability of the French secret service to keep an eye on the extremists who had recently returned from a stint in Syria, making them perfect potential terrorist candidates?

 

For Western society which is unable to integrate immigrants coming from Muslim countries, incapable of making them proud citizens of the Western world?

 

For the Muslims who freely choose to migrate to the West but allow a hatred for Western society to fester in them?

 

For the world’s major power brokers in whose interests our innocence is being sacrificed?

 

For myself, Justine, who matures, day by day, discovering the horrible face of fear?

 

For our children who are learning to fear Muslims and be suspicious of them?

 

For the gap that the jihadist attacks have opened between the Muslims and the other populations of the West?

 

For the consigning to oblivion of the slogan "make love, not war?"

 

For the hatred that deepens daily between Muslims and other religious cultures?

 

A week after the dramatic attacks in Paris, while the world surged through the streets to show a common will against the terror that sows terror, I'm feeling sorry and afraid.

 

I am not pacified by the demonstrations of solidarity towards Charlie Hebdo and the French people. I am not reassured by the hand-to-hand march of Western and Eastern leaders last Sunday in Paris. I'm feeling sorry and afraid.

 

I feel sorry for the heroes of Charlie Hebdo who lay pointlessly dead at the hands of youths in a zealous frenzy.

 

I feel sorry for Ahmed who could not be saved by the fact that he was a Muslim himself.

 

I am afraid for Justine in the West who respects the East but cannot defend its actions any longer.

 

A week after the deadly terrorist attacks, I feel sorry and I feel fear. These two emotional states have been planted deep inside me, first with the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, then with the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and, finally, with the savage killings in Paris as I awoke last Wednesday. From now on, I know that I will be living with sorrow for what has occurred and with fear for what is going to happen!