WRITTEN BY: SAM LOWE
The last 72 hours have seen three police officers murdered on duty in the French capital. This follows a year in which many police officers have been murdered protecting the public. In June 2014, three Royal Canadian Mounted Police constables of the Codiac Detachment were slain by a gunman in Moncton, New Brunswick. 42 US peace officers as well as 5 service dogs have been fatally shot in cold blood in the last twelve months. Constable Neil Doyle of Merseyside Police too has been murdered whilst off duty, it is believed because his assailants realised he was a police officer. While the Charlie Hebdo publication captures much of the attention, and has engulfed social media with the debate around freedom of speech, and others have adopted the slogan Je Suis Ahmed, in honour of Ahmed Merabet, one of the three French Police officers – one of whom, Clarissa Jean-Philippe, had been a Paris Municipal Police Officer for less than two weeks – killed in the two Parisian attacks, an inspiration to many as he was a Muslim officer who lost his life protecting the office of Charlie Hebdo.
This man’s sacrifice is one for which he should, and will, be commemorated as a hero. But equally, before Ahmed Merabet, Franck Brinsolaro and Clarissa Jean-Philippe were members of any religion, or race, or class, even before they were French, these heroes were blue. The police are a figure of public distrust all too often, and this is highly justified all too often. It is, however, at times like these that it is pertinent to overlook, however temporarily, the small minority of officers who forget themselves and have disappointed their public and their colleagues, and remember their millions of brothers and sisters who come running toward what everyone else will run from. This has been exemplified by the bravery shown in Friday’s twin raids by the national authorities of France. Officers neutralised the three hostage takers, and secured the release of the remaining hostages both in Dammartin-en-Goele and in Porte De Vincennes.
While wondering about the role of satire in our nation’s press, the role of religion in the 21st Century, the identity of perpetrators and their characteristics and their motives, and whatever your conclusions are about these matters, never forget to reflect upon the ultimate sacrifice in just the last 30 days of murdered Officers Merabet, Brinsolaro and Jean-Philippe, Constable Doyle of Merseyside Police, Officer Stewart of Flagstaff, AZ Police Dept., and Officers Liu and Ramos of the NYPD, all of whom join the many fallen servants of peace and order. Je Suis Ahmed. Je Suis Franck. Je Suis Clarissa. Et je suis bleu.
The UoB Linguist Magazine
Guild of Students,
University of Birmingham