Reactions to the attacks at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris have been quite impressive over the past week. I’ve read many stories and OpEds, tweets and Facebook posts. I’ve swung through a range of emotions and I’ve contemplated two specific tweets probably far longer than I should.
One is relatively easy; I just happen to think it is a classy move.
— Flying Kangaroo (@FlynKangaroo) January 8, 2015
The other one, however, I’m a bit less comfortable with.
— Ruben L. Oppenheimer (@RLOppenheimer) January 7, 2015
I suppose that’s part of the point. Still, I’m not so sure just how “right” it is.
And then there’s the NYTimes OpEd about the incident which belittles the work of Charlie Hebdo a bit. Not such that it condones the attacks or even gets anywhere close to that. But it does suggest that the satirists are sitting at the “kids’ table” in the world of reasonable discourse, that they are “not granted complete respectability, but they are heard because in their unguided missile manner, they sometimes say necessary things that no one else is saying.”
As for me, I mostly just shake my head in a mix of confusion and frustration. We live in a challenging time in so many ways. I travel the world in large part to explore and experience different cultures and learn from them. But I also cannot help but wonder about some of them. Tolerance and respect are tightly intertwined. One need not agree with another to respect their viewpoint. And certainly violence is not the correct reaction in any scenario.
And yet I still struggle to reconcile internally what I see as the intended goal of many religious doctrines and how they are implemented in real life. And not only by fringe groups but by large swaths of populations. I struggle with that a lot. So I continue to travel, to explore, to wander. In hopes that maybe it will make more sense next time, that people will make more sense to me eventually.
Or at least that I’ll have some fun in the adventures along the way.
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