The Power of Discourse

On Wednesday, January 7, 12 French citizens were killed in an attack on “Charlie Hebdo,” a satirical newspaper, in Paris. Many of the victims were journalists or cartoonists. The attack has incited widespread anger and fear and has raised questions about free speech and cultural sensitivity around the world.

“At Andover, we aspire to face up to events that have the potential to divide us, whether they happen within our community or in the world at large – to avoid being caught up only in the ‘Andover Bubble,’” Head of School John Palfrey wrote in an email to the Andover student body after the events in Ferguson, MO., last fall. The attacks in Paris and the ensuing reactions are such an event — they have divided us in class discussions and on social media, in Paresky Commons and at yoga practice. Many of us are grappling with establishing our opinions and values, but still remain underinformed.

We believe in the power of discourse and in education through meaningful dialogue. The events in Paris pertain to culture and societal values, and it is difficult to think of the unwarranted murder of these journalists and cartoonists without thinking of the nearly 160 reporters and photographers who have been killed while doing their jobs since 2011. We hope to see more opportunities on campus, such as a forum, to collectively further our understanding of recent events and their implications on free speech and other fundamental rights.

_These editorials represent the views of _The Phillipian _Editorial Board CXXXVII._