Charlie Hebdo: Hands Reaching Over Rifts

Posted: January 7, 2015 in Media

German journalist Daniel Bröckerhoff, stunned over the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices, posted his initial thoughts:

Attacks happen every day in the world. Iraq, Afghanistan, yesterday Istanbul, today Yemen. Always far enough away, that you can think: “That has nothing to do with us.” And then our little world suddenly collapses and we stare at the screen in shock. 

I don’t understand people who do such things. I’ll never understand. I don’t want to understand.

And even if it sounds trite: I’m shocked and paralyzed. The attackers have achieved their goal, at least in that sense.

I’m completely at a loss as to what you can do against these people. Violence begets violence begets violence. An endless spiral.

Can you stay peaceful and cool-headed, when others are trying to attain their objectives through violence? This question is the genesis of many lessons, sacred and secular. Yet so often utopian.

This attack comes at the worst time. In Germany, we have demonstrations by PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West). In France, Houellebeqc publishes a book that plays on fears of Islam. In Syria and Iraq, an “Islamic State” takes charge.

The rifts grow deeper. Are made deeper. What sticks with me right now: to hope and plead, that we don’t allow ourselves to be split. Because that is what such attacks are meant to do. But a hand can reach over every rift.


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