Thursday, January 8, 2015

Je Suis Charlie

Due to the horrific killings in Paris at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, Americans will have learned a little French. Having domiciled with a Frenchman for decades, I learned a wee bit of this hard-to-learn language.

Without the guidance of my expert, I am going to venture recklessly into a linguistic analysis. There is a nuance in the phrase "Je suis Charlie," which translates literally as "I am Charlie." Technically, to introduce oneself by name, one would say, "Je m'appelle Charlie." 

Thus, when the native French speaker says "Je suis Charlie," it has a deeper ontological meaning: Charlie and I are one and the same being. What happens to Charlie happens to me in an interdependent universe.

As language follows consciousness and vice-versa, this phrase accurately reflects a new world order: we stand together as human beings, not tribal/religious identities that see "others" as disposable. 

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