I am a sign. I represent helplessness and herd-think. I substitute symbols for real action on the ground. I feel a part of things when I see others holding up similar signs. It’s a good feeling.
My biggest problem is what message to display, because by choosing one message, it might appear that I am rejecting other messages, and that is a huge dilemma. If I write, “Je Suis Charlie,” for instance, it means I am choosing that particular message over, “Je Suis Juif,” or, Je Suis Policier,” or “Je Suis Deuil.”
It’s really my biggest dilemma. I wish I could be ten signs, twenty signs!
“I’ll ride with you!”
“I am Mohammed.”
“I am anything you think I should be at any given point.”
The best thing about being a sign is that it lets you, the sign-holder, off the hook. You don’t have to actually do anything about the tragedy that is unfolding in your midst. You’ve already done it by holding me in your hand.
Because you have me, a sign, you don’t have to formulate a plan of action, or shrug that you don’t have one and can’t think one up.
Because you have me, a sign, you don’t have to deal with all this talk about Islam. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it the religion of peace or is it the religion of death? Are the violent ones the many or the few?
It really doesn’t matter.
What matters is that in your hand is a sign with a meaningful message.
For instance, “Never Again.”
That’s a really good one, if a bit worn from overuse.