But I am not Charlie. I cannot be Charlie as an Indian woman who has seen the sheer arrogance of Western rationalism in my own university. I cannot be Charlie because the freedom to dissent is never the same as the freedom to create racist caricatures from a position of relative privilege and power.

Which is why, as I mourn the horrific violence, I must also stand guard against the poverty of the good-vs-evil discourse. The slain are seldom unproblematic heroes. This however neither justifies their suffering nor for a second makes it okay to blame them for it. It simply means that we have to practice that same difficult freedom of reiterating unpleasant details and guard ourselves against the myth of martyrdom.

Dipsikha Thakur: Je ne suis pas Charlie (Fly Girls of Cambridge)


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