Excuse my French.
I'll admit I rushed to publish a 'Je suis Charlie' status on Facebook in outrage at the shootings last week. Then I very nearly posted another 'Je suis Ahmed' status. Then I saw that there was even a 'Je suis policier' status doing the rounds. And that made me think - hang on, is that the same policiers who I have witnessed routinely harassing young people of North African descent on the street of Paris? Or the paramilitary thugs of the CRS?
Maybe we should all think a bit more carefully about some of this stuff:
There are inspiring demonstrations in London and Paris today. Displaying feelings of outrage at bigotry; and feelings of unity across communities; and fear of an anti-Muslim backlash. But also displaying political opportunism on the part of leaders like Netanyahu who want to promote anything but unity.
I am hearing a lot of genuine confusion amongst the liberal-minded:
When does ridiculing religion turn into racism?
Just because you have a right to do something does it mean that you should?
Can we really talk about freedom of speech in an unequal society with a gulf between minorities and the dominant culture?
Fair enough. These things can and must be discussed - but it's also worth remembering that the only real answer to these horrors is a radical one, and it has been around for a while: 'Workers of all lands unite - you have a world to win.'