Je suis Charlie
Image via Wikipedia

Freedom is at the top of our most wanted list

by Matt Boren

A street magician in Syria was recently beheaded by Islamic State militants. They considered his magic, which was adored by children, to be slanderous to their God. And recently, as we all know, Al Qaeda trained militants murdered people in Paris, many of them famed artists whose brilliant, satirical cartoons were deemed, by those militants, slanderous to their God.

The people murdering artists and journalists and street magicians are the same people who walk through towns and behead everyone in their path, slaughter children, steal girls and sell them as sex slaves, line hundreds up only to put bullets in their heads. So, why wouldn’t those people try to silence anyone who opposes them or challenges their rock solid belief system? They want critical thinking and joy buried under the blood soaked soil they dream to build their true, Godly world on.

So to ask the question why seems almost foolish. We know their why. Logic and examination don’t apply to where things are now. Sure, we can all agree 9/11 and the subsequent downfall of the already very broken Middle East created what we have now – a Walking Dead-like zombie desert world where some people are so dark of heart or heartless they kill anyone in their path in the name of their God. We can argue those people want to destroy the West because they hate our freedom but it’s not only the West they gun down, it is anyone and everyone who haven’t signed their petition which, I can imagine, would read something like this: I hate and will destroy anyone and anything that doesn’t agree with everything we say, think and do.

As millions gathered to peacefully protest in Paris and throughout the free world, John Kerry said the world stood with the people of France “not just in anger and in outrage, but in solidarity and commitment to the cause of confronting extremism and in the cause that extremists fear so much and that has always united our countries: freedom.” Salman Rushdie said: “I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity.”

From the song “Me and Bobby McGee” the lyrics “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose” make more sense now than ever before. Without freedom of body, mind and spirit there is nothing. And when people have nothing, and I mean nothing in their hearts, they will do anything to make certain everyone suffers that same emptiness.

That satirical cartoonists are at the top of the bad people’s Most Wanted List is mind-bending. But here’s the thing – our minds are bending, yes, but they’re not breaking. They are bending, but pushing up, with the collective heave of every other freedom seeker in the world, against the gravity of war waging evil. They want to silence our speech and dry the ink from our pens. They want us to agree their mission is sound and right. They want us all to turn off the lights and live in the dark because it is in their darkness where nothing good can be seen. But we like the light and we know it’s an essential ingredient for life.

And we like life, and the essential ingredient for a good one is freedom – of body, mind and spirit. So, we will continue to speak and draw and write.

Mind-bending means causing changes to the mind or to behavior. I think we can agree what has happened has indeed caused changes to our minds and to our behavior. Only, not the changes they were counting on.

Je suis Charlie.

Matt Boren

About Matt Boren

Matt Boren grew up on the East Coast. He is a writer/actor currently living in Los Angeles. He danced to "My Prerogative" at his bar mitzvah where his theme was Hollywood.

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