Today we are all Charlie. Its is all about us, together. Not them and us. Not us verses the Other. As politicians and commentators unite to condemn yesterday’s shocking attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo and free speech, Nigel Farage, as always, takes it to another level in his desperate attempt to gain popularity. In France the reaction has been one of togetherness, the feared backlash against muslims on the streets mainly failing to materialise. But Farage, oh Farage, he can’t help himself as he once again cranks up the headline grabbing, publicity feeding, xenophobic UKIP quote machine to deliver yet another divisive label. It is he, not the Other, that is a danger to our free society when he uses terms such as ‘fifth column’ to describe the threat radicalised islamic fundamentalists pose to us in the UK and when he suggests blaming the Charlie Hebdo terror attack by Islamist extremists on a “really rather gross policy of multiculturalism” in the west. This should be a time of unity, not of fear mongering. This is not a time for Farage, as much as he would like to think it is.
The way the Paris attack murderers win, the only way they can remove our freedoms is by encouraging those in power to respond with draconian measures that remove our liberties, question the successes multiculturalism has brought to the UK and to label the Other as our enemy within. They are not. They are a tiny, tiny minority who read the manual wrong when it came to interpreting the Koran. They are the minuscule, who, like other fundamentalists, be they deluded Christians murdering abortion doctors in America or religious bigots attacking gay rights campaigners in Africa, represent no one with an ounce of humanity. They are all legitimate satirical targets. And we must laugh them out of existence.
And we will do it together. Without the likes of Farage and his divisive comments. Without the hate. Because we are better than that. Because when our kids and grandkids ask us who lead our response to this trying time in history I want to be able to say Charlie, not Nigel. Because we are all Charlie.