Cowardly killings that took place yesterday in Paris triggered absolute shock and horror in me. As someone who lived in France for almost a year, it was surreal to see the video which was replayed over and over again on all the news stations.
Amid the initial reaction, I remembered a book I read in my teenage years. The book is called “Name of the rose” by Umberto Eco (and I highly recommend it). The reason why it came to mind was that the people that died in the book were also killed in the name of “comedy.” Laughter. Ridicule. As a teen, I couldn’t fully understand it. How is laughter so powerful? Is it really this powerful?
As I grew up, laughter is the only thing one has left. It is a cure for everything and without it, world is horrific and scary.
William of Baskerville: My venerable brother, there are many books that speak of comedy. Why does this one fill you with such fear?
Jorge de Burgos: Because it’s by Aristotle.
William of Baskerville: [Chasing after Jorge who runs with the Second Book of Poetics by Aristotle intending to destroy it] But what is so alarming about laughter?
Jorge de Burgos: Laughter kills fear, and without fear there can be no faith because without fear of the Devil, there is no more need of God.
William of Baskerville: But you will not eliminate laughter by eliminating that book.
(excerpt from the Name of the Rose)
There will always be cowards, murderers, terrorists who think they can kill the freedom. Freedom of laughter. Freedom of ridicule. Freedom of life. But we have to fight them back. #JesuisCharlie #CharlieHebdo