I feel it is important to reflect on the events this week. It has been a bloody and terrifying start to 2015 and one that will remain with people for a long time. Recent days have been shocking and brutal and my thoughts are with all those who have been affected by what has happened.
Being able to write about events and thoughts has been a part of my life from being very young. I used to write my thoughts and feelings in a diary and wrote poetry like any good confused teenager. As I got older I started to want to be a journalist. I went to university studied philosophy and discussed ideas, and started to get my writing published in the university newspaper and other newspapers if I could manage it.
Freedom of speech is something that I have held as a key part of my life. When I started work as a journalist it was the core of my existence. I found news and wrote stories about events every day. I never once questioned whether I should be allowed to write articles, whether I should censor what I write and I didn’t really worry that stories would upset people. As most reporters come to accept there will be people who don’t like what you write and often they will tell you.
Being able to write this blog is not something that I have ever really spent time considering. The technology exists and it allows me to detail my thoughts, discuss events, share ideas about a whole manner of things in modern life. I write my views and while I don’t set out to upset or cause offence I know that people may disagree with my points. That is something I like. The chance to have a good discussion about different views and opinions. It is something that has been at the heart of my views of a civilised society. People discuss, share ideas, and either agree or disagree about the views. It is often said ‘we will have to agree to disagree’, and we move on with respect.
This week has been a difficult one. It has made me reflect on what I do every day. It has made me question whether I am still able to write and publish my views. Should I continue? Do I want to continue in a world where such violent events can take place because of differing views and opinions?
I have thought a lot over the last 48 hours about freedom of speech, the ability to make maximum use of the new technology to discuss ideas, and what role censorship plays in modern society. I have my views and I don’t expect everyone to agree with them. I do want to live in a society where people can openly discuss differing opinions without resorting to violence. I do want to live in a society where we respect each other, our different views and recognise our right to life. I do want to live in a society where people can have freedom of speech.
Je suis Charlie.