I don’t think I’m brave enough to “je suis Charlie.” Saying the words is easy. Tweeting them? Easy. But living them? Living that sort of courage and ferocity is terrifying…at least to me.
One late, late night during my junior year of college, I threw out a new nickname for my roommate. “P’cheesie” I called her, nominally short for “parcheesi,” which is ridiculous because I have played that game in my life, much less with my best friend. Bu the name stuck. It spread. “Panda,” we called her boyfriend, my best guy (space) friend. That nickname was far more apt. He’s a big guy, not tall but cuddly in a bear-ish sort of way. And me? They called me Pips. Short for Pipsqueak. So you see, I’m really not a “je suis Charlie” sort of gal.
But—but!—I wish I was. I first read Voltaire in high school, right after I saw Candide on PBS. “I disapprove what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Which was apparently coined by the Frenchman’s biographer, Evelyn Beatrice Hall. No matter (though I must say, in the week or so following the Charlie Hebdo slayings, I’ve seen a lot of Very Important News People attribute it to V. Time to learn more about Ms. Hall, I think).
So, what am I saying? Forgive me readers, for I like a good ramble, and this is my diary, so I shall ramble if I like. What I mean to say is that today, I am not of the same ilk as the men and women who are so definite in their opinions and their words and drawings. Not now, not yet. But I do wish to be, and I think (maybe) that I am growing and evolving and hardening my resolve even as I write this. Perhaps tomorrow, I will be “je suis Charlie.” Perhaps the next day. But for this particular second—mark the clock, it is 3:42 p.m. EST by my watch—I shall think it and work to believe it and (I think therefore I am—did Descartes even say that one? Must check his biography) someday…someday I shall live it.