"Je Suis Charlie" - white letters on black background.
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Je Suis Charlie

"Je Suis Charlie" - white letters on black background.
“Je Suis Charlie” – white letters on black background.

The slaying of twelve people, many of them journalists, at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical French newspaper in Paris, has come as a psychic sucker punch to me this week. It is hard enough for writers and artists to fight the general negativity of society and their own self doubts in order to find their voices and speak their truths within their work. The threat of violence, let alone actual violence, can be enough to silence those voices for a good long time. I should know, having dealt with a personal threat online a number of years ago over I blog post I wrote. It is horrifying to know that people who make such threats aren’t always just blowing hot air and steam. Sometimes they will carry out their threats and silence a writer or artist for good.

As a writer who has pissed people off with my words, I empathize with the rallying cry, “Je suis Charlie!”

I am also heartened by the outpouring of support from around the world for Charlie Hebdo and the right to the freedom of expression.  May we all have the courage to continue to lift our voices through our creative endeavors.