Charlie Hebdo - A Sad Day

Posted: 12 Jan 2015 by James McLaren

As lawyers, we value the rule of law.  Imbedded in that fundamental concept, we treasure, protect, and embrace freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of thought.

On January 8, 2015, IAML Founding Fellow Alain Cornec of Paris France, wrote the following to the IAML Fellowship:

Twelve journalists and others from "Charlie Hebdo", a Paris newspaper, were murdered yesterday in a terrorist attack. They were killed for their cartoons. A friend of ours was killed. The others had been part of our lives for half a century.

Today is a day of national mourning in France.

Condolence and support come from the IAML, especially from the US. Apart from the size, it is our 9/11. Freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of thought are essential to us.

Thank you for your support and warmth.

Alain Cornec

On behalf of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, its Officers, Board Members and Staff, and each of our 1600 Fellows across the country, I offer our condolences and support to our friends and colleagues of the IAML, and to the victims, their families, and to the many others affected by this senseless violence. 

Jerry Nissenbaum, our former President and Fellow from Massachusetts, and founding member of the IAML, has graciously allowed me to share his message and response to Alain Cornec, which is included here: 

Alain, my friend.

We have known each other since the mid 1980's. We and those who came together to form the IAML in 1986 had a vision: to create a place where lawyers skilled in international family law could meet and exchange ideas. We wanted to establish a network to facilitate consulting with each other and, if need be, to be able to refer clients.

From the outset, we immediately knew that those we met would be our life-long friends.  We were friends back then who could rely upon each other, a bond that has, over the years, become stronger.

Now, you, your city, your country and most of the others in this world mourn the loss of life of those who used pencils, crayons, and ink to shine a new, often whimsical or satiric light on all kinds of topics.  But they did more. They wrote children's books and produced other art work. They steadfastly, even after their office was fire-bombed a few years ago, furthered freedom of speech. They educated. They made others examine their respective positions and views. Education is fundamental road which, when travelled, makes the world a safer place for all.

Throughout history, those who seek to squelch such conduct, who claim their way of practicing a religion is the only right way, have used brute force to kill people, destroy their homes, and wipe them from the face of the earth.  The hope of such brutes, whatever may be their claimed basis for acting out this way, is to leave no signpost saying: "This is where liberty, freedom of speech, and respect for all lives shall never die!" History also promotes confidence that such acts will not stop those in Paris or anywhere else from carrying on.

If one believes in a God, as I do, we know this:  We can never know God's plan.  We do not know why it seems those who do evil are so often able to entice and encourage others to do evil. You and I and our colleagues stand as one against such conduct.  We do not and cannot know why so many people do not have enough food, water, or shelter. But we all believe we have a strong ethical approach to life, family, work, and respect for all others because this furthers freedom of speech and education. We also believe that such a road will, if not in our lifetimes, eventually bring peace to all.

The greatest show of love and respect for the loss of your dear friends is to mourn; and then to go forward, refusing to let your friends' goals be shouted or shot down.  We in the IAML are all with you now and as we all go forward.

As so many around the world have already said:  “We all are France!"

Madeline and I pray it is God's will to bless and protect you, your family, and friends; and to grant you and them peace now and forever more.

Jerry Nissenbaum, Boston, MA USA



James T. McLaren
American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

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