Last week's horrific attacks by Islamist radicals in France galvanized the world. Within hours of the murders of 12 people at the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, "Je Suis Charlie" became a worldwide meme. I received calls and emails suggesting that the Flyer should post images of Charlie Hebdo covers in solidarity with our fellow journalists.
Charlie Hebdo covers are racist, misogynistic, homophobic, anti-Catholic, anti-Muslim, and anti-Semitic; some are just sophomoric and lewd. Though no one should have died for printing them, I felt no need to republish them. Nor would I have republished images from a Westboro Baptist Church publication, if some of their members had been murdered by political opponents.
Just because you support someone's right to say something doesn't mean you have to repeat their message.
France's police and military responded admirably to the attacks, quickly tracking down and killing those responsible. In the following week, millions of French citizens, including thousands of Muslims, marched and rallied against Islamist terrorism.
As France worked through its 9/11-like moment, mourning its dead and rekindling a sense of national unity and pride, we in the U.S. were back to divisive politics as usual. Critics railed against the Obama administration for not sending either the president himself or a high-ranking official to the march in Paris. Administration officials admitted that they made a mistake in not doing so.
Talk-show commandos revved their engines, and the airwaves were quickly filled with recriminations and attacks on the president. Overnight, the focus in U.S. political circles turned from fighting terrorism and supporting free speech to lobbing dung at each other.
It's all so stupid and petty and predictable and tiresome.
Four days before the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram roared into a Nigerian village and massacred 2,000 men, women, and children.
They chased their helpless victims through the bush on motorcycles; they hunted people down in their houses; they slaughtered so many innocents that bodies are still scattered on the ground as you read this, 12 days later.
No one noticed.
Oh, there were a few perfunctory articles. But there were no rallies protesting the unspeakable evil that had been done in the name of Allah. World leaders did not journey to Abuja to show solidarity with a country that had been hit with one of the worst terrorist attacks since 9/11. No pundits or talk-show politicos raged at the president for not showing proper support for a country that is being destroyed by Islamist terrorists.
"Je Suis Nigeria"? Not happening.
We don't have time to worry about every terrorist attack, after all. Besides, we're too busy attacking ourselves.