This week’s news was dominated by the 7 January 2015 massacre in Paris France, where 12 people were killed at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The terror attack resulted in millions of people internationally rallying in support of those wounded and killed at the newspaper, as well as the victims of related attacks at Montrouge and the Kosher Supermarket.
“Je Suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) became the slogan adopted by supporters of free speech and freedom of expression – it popped up everywhere, in cartoons, hand-made placards and stickers, displayed on mobile phones at vigils, and on numerous websites.
A couple of days ago, via Facebook, we came across the Je Suis Charlie Unity Run for Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité, an international run of support scheduled for 11 January – an initiative we had little hesitation to support.
So together with some friends we set about designing and creating t-shirts for our Sunday run, lending a sense of reality to the virtual event. For the run itself, we decided the best way to express our support through running would be to run one of our favourite local trails – somehow running a nature trail gives a feeling of freedom that just cannot be matched by a plod on a cement pavement.
At the time of writing, almost 1000 people from across the world have joined the virtual run, committing to run sometime during the day, to show their support, not just for the immediate victims of the Paris massacre, but for freedom of the press, speech, and expression in general. Knowing that we were sharing our run, even just in spirit, with so many others who value these core freedoms, made it quite a special experience.