#15 Hashtag Activism : Text, Context, Subtext

From Skitch

Charlie Hebdo and the Paris Attacks – everything that can be passionately, intelligently, funnily, fanatically SAID, WRITTEN and ILLUSTRATED about this has long been done.

Several times over, in many languages, on all media platforms.

Yet, NO ONE I’ve read so far has laughed in the face of those who, for all their insightful, meticulously-researched views, MISSED THE WHOLE POINT OF THE SLOGAN !

They’ve banged on about “absolutely, totally and completely condemning the brutal murders…..” while also reflecting that Charlie Hebdo was into a kind of irreverent, provocative  “satire” most societies would balk at….after all, Freedom Of Speech should be exercised responsibly in a world where diverse groups MUST find a peaceful way to co-exist…..just because the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were mercilessly shot, doesn’t make the satire any “good” or “right’ …..therefore, while condemning the act of violence with all our hearts, we CANNOT HONESTLY IDENTIFY WITH #JeSuisCharlie….because I am NOT Charlie….here’s why ( and another 1000,000 words followed )


But don’t knock the slogan, for crying out LOUD, because it’s clearly an ethos you’re unable to grasp. Or you are choosing not to!

Please watch this clip below. ( And here’s the context )

SPARTACUS  : Stanley Kubrick ( Director ) Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Lawrence Olivier…

“A Roman general stands before his captured slaves and demands that they turn over Spartacus, or else all of them will be executed. Upon hearing this, Spartacus stands up and says “I am Spartacus.” However, the loyalty of his friends is so great that each of them stands forward in succession, shouting “I am Spartacus!” until the shouts dissolve into a cacophony…” – Urban Dictionary

You see a tear fall from his left eye and it tells you everything you need to know about friendship, loyalty and SOLIDARITY.

‘I AM SPARTACUS” has since become a chant,  a phrase in Western culture which denotes SOLIDARITY, most often used with a sort of cheeky humour but in this case, borrowed from the film to represent solidarity with those who fell to a hail of bullets while at work.

Those who subscribe to  #JeSiusCharlie ( I am Charlie ) are NOT NECESSARILY saying – yes, we thought the cartoons were brilliant….we’d have done the same, how dare these ‘migrants’ take offence, after all this is France….Freedom of Speech, the Western World and all that…


Perhaps there IS a microscopic section saying JUST THAT ( the 60,000 subscribers of Charlie Hebdo maybe ? )  but in my humble opinion, MOST people embracing the #JeSuisCharlie sentiment are uniting against these brain-dead, trigger-happy Jihadists who think gunning down people is the solution to anything! They’re proudly displaying #JeSuisCharlie in DEFIANCE, as if to say – ok, so you think your purpose was served by that senseless act of killing, then go on… kill me too, and me, and me, and me…..

THAT’S WHAT #JeSuisCharlie is about. The sense of unity and brotherhood oozing from those three words is both moving and overpowering. It cuts across race, religion, colour and creed – it is about people saying – KILLING IS NOT THE ANSWER!

In an Indian context ( and a lighter vein ) think of it as a “mere paas ma hai” or “bahut yaarana lagta hai”

NO Indian will need an explanation for those dialogues! Whenever and wherever they are uttered, we’d ALL be able to grasp the context, however frivolous, deep or obscure. The connotation is not always literal!
Anyone condemning the murder but saying, I AM NOT CHARLIE because I don’t agree with the “satire”, is just furnishing us with proof of their idiocy.

As Europe converges in Paris later today for a Peace March ( about a million expected ) I know I will root for every #JeSuisCharlie I see and vehemently support what those words symbolize.

To anyone who scoffs at the slogan, I have three words – Go watch Spartacus! ( you may ignore the button on your remote that says SUBTITLE, but you may need one which says SUBTEXT )



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