Thursday, January 8, 2015

I am not Charlie

I am unable to remember his name. However hard I try, I fail. But I vividly remember the determination on his face. We were all eight years old, not a time when convictions has gained a strong hold on us. Neither has the evil ego injected its venomous roots in our mind. He was calm and unflinching. Of course, this calm determination triggered the rage in all of us.

I am unable to remember how it all started. I remember he was standing by the window. Somebody asked him a question. He refused to answer. That somebody poked him with words and threatened him with a belligerent stance to evoke a response. But he refused to answer. Neither did he move. As silly as it may sound, the next attempt was to displace him from where he was standing. He refused to. Gradually, more and more people came to the aid of somebody including me. All of us wanted to defeat his spirit. When we pushed him around, he held on to the windowsill.

I am unable to remember how that ended. Were we able to displace him? There were many of us. So it should have been easy. Or did he let go of the windowsill for a moment that gained us a momentary victory and then grabbed the windowsill again? If he held on to the windowsill despite the pressure, then it sounds poetic. If he did let lose his grip on his windowsill to retain it back, then it sounds believable. In both cases, justice was served.

I am still unable to remember his name. Although I was only eight years old, I clearly remember this day. Even when faced with a bunch of bullies, he was determined not to give in. I may not remember the date but the day. The day was the lowest point of my life. There are many of this kind, but that day takes the cake. The day also is the day when I realized I was a coward. There is no fun in being a coward. Who glorifies a coward? Who wants to be a coward, living in fear?

I have given up on trying to remember his name. Today, I can give him a new name. Charlie Hebdo. He is Charlie. I am the coward who can't tolerate individuality. I am the coward who can't tolerate expression. I am the coward who can't tolerate opinion. I am not Charlie. Je ne suis pas Charlie. He is Charlie. I also realize I am not alone. There are many of us. I do not have to fear that I will be singled out. I am surrounded by my kind. I am secure. At the same time, I am also curious. Will Charlie be able to regain the grip on the windowsill this time?

Tags: Musings, Charlie Hebdo, Coward

14 comments:

  1. A unique take on the happening, well written.

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  2. Nona this is brilliant. And courageous.

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    1. Thank you.

      I don't consider myself as courageous.

      At the same time, it is awe-inspiring to learn about courageous people. It also hurts when these courageous meet violent end. Although I am not a fan of offending religious sentiments, we live in a society where we can express our views. Some of these views may be different. It helps in our growth as it enables us to see all the sides of an argument or a belief. When people resort to violence, it instills fear in the rest and hence these radically different views are killed before even they gather enough momentum to be spoken out aloud. This consequence is bad. Where will we be without conflicting ideologies, philosophies and views?

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  3. Brilliantly put. I think violence would never be able stop creativity...it would never get its victory over freedom of speech and expression. Becasue as we know,'ideas are bulletproof'.

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    1. Freedom of speech is very important. But with these kinds of attack, how many are going to exercise this freedom? If we have the freedom but are fearful about the consequences when we exercise it, it ends out to be counterproductive.

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  4. This is a very insightful and poetic post. I love the subtle way you make your point.

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    1. Thank you. I am sure there are people who are trying to drill this point by shouting on top of their lungs. I also understand anyone, who reads this article, is intelligent enough to put two and two together in order to arrive at the conclusion. So it is better to conserve energy and refrain from shouting.

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