Why I am NOT Charlie Hebdo ~ by Omar Ghraieb, Gaza


one of these people

Gaza, January, If you haven’t heard about the “Paris attacks” you probably have been living in a parallel universe. And if you did, then you probably didn’t hear about the police officer Ahmad Merabet, a Muslim, who died while trying to defend Charlie Hebdo even though they were insulting his religion.

#JesuisCharlie hashtag took over the world and the cyber sphere, people from around the world rushed to show their support to Charlie and ofcourse took a chance to attack Muslims spewing all kinds of profanities and racial commentary. A campaign to #KillAllMuslims was launched by those who support Charlie, ironically. They think violence is the answer to violence. How ignorant can people be is beyond me.

Muslims, as usual, rushed to declare their innocence by trending the #NotinMyName hashtag that is trending often since Islam and Muslims are constantly under the microscope.

I am not Charlie, nor did I participate in the #JeSuisCharlie phenomena. I also didn’t participate in the “Not in my name” campaign as a Muslim. Why you ask? I will tell you.

Lets me start by saying that the world doesn’t think all lives equally matter. I condemn Paris attacks. Yes, I think of Charlie as a racist who manipulates Satire into insulting religions to get his few minutes of fame and become a hero. However, I don’t believe that violence is the solution and I condemn Paris attacks. Killing 12 people doesn’t help, did it ever? No. It never did. Islam never asked us to kill in its name. ISIS are already doing enough to deform Islam and make it look like a religion that is based on terrorism, we don’t need to add to that. Even if the world denies me of all freedoms, I still strongly believe in them and support them.

Murders, killings and crimes are committed every day by people from different nationalities, backgrounds and religions but they are never labeled or narrowed down to a certain race or religion unless they are Black, Arab or Muslim. If you are all three, then you will probably be a suspect even if you did nothing and happened to be passing by an incident.

I will not defend myself or my religion simply because not every individual represents their nationality or religion. Some people are stupid and they do mistakes. Stupidity and terrorism have no religion. So blame the person not their background. And judge yourself before you judge others because you are not perfect and if you feel like all Muslims should be killed because two Muslims committed a crime, then you are no better.

I am perplexed by a world that is so biased. Where were those who defended rights, freedoms and journalism when Israel was blowing Gaza up killing children and journalists? Where were they when Muslims were going through mass killings in Burma? Or is the European blood more worthy than other blood? Or are freedoms exclusive to Europe only and shouldn’t be defended everywhere else as well? Or are Muslims and Islam easy targets and speaking up against Israel is a taboo?

I stood with Paris against the attacks even though Paris didn’t stand by me or Gaza. They tried hard to oppress and prevent protests in our support when Israel was burning Gaza and the government stood still. Yet, I am the one who need to be defending myself as a Muslim? Why? And how is that fair?

I am not Charlie. Je Suis pas Charlie. Je Suis Gaza, Je Suis Muslim, Je Suis Palestinien, Je Suis Palestine and Je Suis Ahmed. I am Gaza, I am Muslim, I am Palestinian, I am Palestine , I am Ahmed and that doesn’t mean I am a terrorist. I will not defend myself because I did nothing. I stood by Paris yet France only recently and symbolically recognized Palestine. So for the past 26 years of my life I didn’t exist in France’s eyes. Yet I support Paris. Because I am a human being, a Muslim, Arab and Palestinian. I don’t condone the killing of innocent people and I support all freedoms and equality, yup, believe it or not. My dream is ultimate freedom and equality.

I will never be like Charlie but I would definitely look forward of being equal to Charlie. When I feel like my life matters, my blood is worthy, when I live in an equal world that will stand by me like I am willing to stand by it. When the world recognizes that I exist and gives me my rights. When people defend all innocent people the same. I will be Charlie when I find any authenticity in what he does and in the world we live in.

From Gaza with dreams of peace and equality,
Omar Ghraieb

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