There is not much more that I can say directly to the horrifying January 7th incident at the Paris office of the Charlie Hebdo publication that took 12 lives that likely hasn’t already been said or written elsewhere. It has been heartening, though, to see the strong and loud response around the world, not from leaders, but from millions of people who chose not to remain silent in the face of the attempts of brutal intimidation of terrorists.
It is in tribute to that defiance, freedom of expression, and the spirit of sharp political and social satire Charlie Hebdo represented that I post here a clip of Charlie Chaplin’s magnificent closing speech from the Great Dictator. The 1940 film was the first talkie by the silent movie star in which he played a Jewish barber attempting to evade persecution by a ruthless regime led by a Hitler-like dictator he uncannily resembles. In the final scene, Chaplin’s barber, mistaken for the dictator, is asked to speak to his army.
Such amazing words from a man who had been known for his silence on the silver screen for so many years. The global response to this tragic event shows we are all capable of being so profound when we choose to be quiet no more.