Je Suis Charlie

The pen is mightier than the sword,
Or so we’re led to think;
When victims, far too young, may be
Immortalized in ink
Cold comfort for the families
When all is said and done—
“The pen is mightier than the sword”
That’s why they used a gun.

The long view’s where the war is won
Or so it’s often said
And years from now, we’ll likely say
That ink has conquered lead
Yes, years from now we well may say
The gain was worth the cost
But pain and grief are present tense…
A dozen lives are lost.

Yes, in the long run the cartoons have won. Damn, though, “in the long run” is cold comfort. At my comfortable distance, it’s already overwhelming; I don’t think I have any idea what Parisians feel, let alone the friends and family of those killed.

I do know who I disagree with. Bill Donohue of the Catholic League indulges in some victim-blaming:

“While some Muslims today object to any depiction of the Prophet, others do not,” he continued. “Moreover, visual representations of him are not proscribed by the Koran. What unites Muslims in their anger against Charlie Hebdo is the vulgar manner in which Muhammad has been portrayed. What they object to is being intentionally insulted over the course of many years. On this aspect, I am in total agreement with them.”

And the inflamed boils over at Fox News, who climb up on the dead bodies to shout that this is a reason that real Americans should be arming themselves:

“But we are being hunted,” co-host Harris Faulkner said. “These guys make it very clear when they entered that newspaper’s offices, we are being hunted. So, how would you like for us to be protected?”

“I think that the best thing Americans can do is arm themselves,” Montgomery argued.

“Me too!” Bolling exclaimed.

“Can we do a high five?” Fox News host Shannon Bream asked, prompting Montgomery to make a high five motion in the air.

I know I’ve seen worse. I’ve also seen better. In particular, political cartoonists are mourning the deaths of four of their own, in their own way. Of that particular collection, I think my favorite is David Pope’s. I am not familiar with his cartoons, but this one is obviously a very quickly drawn observation, and it is still perfect. Some are over-the-top, but understandably so. Sadly, some are from years ago, which I suppose underscores what I hinted at in verse… And I just realized that Leonard Wibberly’s “The Mouse That Roared” said it first: Though the pen is mightier than the sword, the sword speaks louder and stronger at any given moment.

Ok, looking through those cartoons again, and they are starting to get a bit blurry. Signing off–what are the best and worst you have seen?


  1. says

    The conservative gun nuts, who are smacking their lips at the prospect of using this terrible tragedy to further their gun nuttery, are truly, irredeemably loathsome.

  2. StevoR says

    @ Kausik Datta : So much of this latest horrible chapter of history and lives ruined is loathsome. A lot of people will struggle with it , some for the rest of their lives. Some may never get over it. My condolences to all those involved and all those in pain from this and so much like this. I don’t know what more to say .. just horrendous,

    Je suis Charlie Hebdo aussi.

    PS.. Link to latest news I gather updated regularly maybe here :

  3. StevoR says

    The sword can cut for now.
    The pen lasts. The words do not die.
    The people do.
    The words have power
    The sword cannot kill.

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