Since the January 7th terrorist attack in Paris on the weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo, I’ve been thinking about the broader implications on our freedom of speech. If words can cause humans to act in such a barbaric fashion, there is cause for alarm due to potentially similar violence actions. These men used the satirical content that Charlie Hebdo produced to justify their actions against the ideas and writers of the weekly magazine. Their actions that day would leave 12 people killed, 11 injured and were a catalyst other violent actions in France in the following days.
We cannot allow ourselves to use an irrational manner of justification against content that we don’t agree with. In my mind, it’s simple: speak your voice, support your opinion and let others respond in their own peaceful manner.
For over a year now, I’ve facilitated the publication of your opinions and I’ve seen how words can affect others. Along the way, I’ve even published some of my own articles that have generated differing opinions. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from this is that we cannot stop sharing, commenting on and discussing each other’s opinions. We must move past the sneaking doubt that the cowardly attack on Charlie Hebdo has placed on our collective critical process.
all many DePauw students attended the DePauw Dialogue to have a day of conversation with each other about some of the issues on our campus. It was humbling to be able to cover such a historic event as a journalist for The DePauw newspaper. It’s events like these that we need to have more of. It’s the conversations between each other that aren’t always comfortable which we need to have more of. It’s the conscious caring for our classmates that we need to promote a culture of. In doing so, the campus will come together as one instead of being divided by our various perceptions of each other.
I’ve come to the conclusion that we are privileged to attend a university in which there are so many outlets for the voices of students, faculty and friends in the community. However, not all students use these outlets for the correct reasons. Instead of insulting each other on Yik-Yak, we should be coming together to fix the problems we are presented with as a campus.
We need to make this campus comfortable for every single student, faculty and community member that is a part of it. We need to appreciate the privilege that we have to share our opinion with the world and we need to use this privilege for the right reasons. I promise you that I will do all in my power to promote diverse, meaningful and peaceful conversations in the pages of this newspaper and across other organizations on our campus.
Do not let drastic actions of the few represent the values of the many. For we live in a world where your opinion can be widely shared and now is the time to do so. Speak freely and let your voice be heard.