Title: #JeSuisCharlie: Challenges after the Charlie Hebdo shootings
Author: Carlos Sanvee, General Secretary, AAYMCA (Kenya)
Voices from the South E-Newsletter: January 2015
Following the gruesome and unjustifiable violence that rocked Paris earlier this month by Islamic extremists, global media attention and discourse quickly focused on the challenges related to extremism, freedom of expression, and the use of violence. Around the world, the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie (“I am Charlie”) become a visible symbol of solidarity with the victims of the attack, a phrase in support for free speech, and a rallying cry for freedom of self-expression in areas rocked by heartbreaking violence.
In response to the attacks in Paris, and without down playing the unacceptable crimes they were, two of our partners have chosen to reflect on some of the challenges the global community now faces. First, Carlos Sanvee of the African Alliance of YMCAs (Kenya), challenges the global community to also remember the gruesome acts of extremist groups outside of the Global North, challenging us in this case to also be in solidarity with the victims of the Nigerian village of Baga. Second, Ranjan Solomon of Badayl Alternatives (India) asks the question of the limits of freedom of expression: are we free to say whatever we want about the “other,” even if it is offensive and cruel intentioned? Their thoughts push us to more closely consider how we respond to injustices worldwide.