I try every day not to be Charlie Hebdo.

Even though I’m a journalist myself, I don’t want any part in this Je Suis Charlie shit. Because while journalists shouldn’t have to live in fear of violence because of this week’s attack, Muslim people across Europe shouldn’t have to live in fear of violence because of the racist attitudes that Charlie Hebdo and other media outlets have been cultivating for years.

Not all violence is carried out in a hail of bullets – although there’s been plenty of that kind directed at Muslim communities too: arsons and stabbings and nail bombs and all the rest of it from white supremacists. But there’s also the silent, secret violence that makes race and ethnicity the tipping point in a hundred million decisions every day to deny someone housing, or financial aid, or the legal protections of an improved immigration status, or a job, or to follow someone around a shop, or put them up against a wall and frisk them. Little by little, that destroys lives and outright kills people too, but in a way that doesn’t warrant lurid headlines and front-page graphics. That’s the violence that Charlie Hebdo revels in: cartoons that depict Boko Haram’s hostages demanding child benefits. Because they’re Muslim, you see, so ____.

A dozen people are dead who didn’t deserve to die. Leave the mourning to their families and friends, or mourn their deaths as ordinary people. But fuck Charlie Hebdo.


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