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Sunday's rally in France, with over three million people nationwide, a million-and-a-half of them in Paris, was important. But it still misses the biggest point of all.

Je suis Earth

Okay, yes, CNN's Christiane Amanpour did make one important point that American journalists have missed, because they don't get it.

In Europe, there is a tradition of irreverent journalism, and people expect it. Their media routinely trivializes any nation's ruler or leader based on who is being a dimwit; and they can just as easily be sacrilegious toward Christians or Jews or Muslims in equal or unequal measure, based on what's happening on the world stage.

Americans understand the first part of that from the Daily Show or Colbert. But even years ago, when we got a taste of the second part in Monty Python's "Life of Brian," some Americans responded with outrage.

Amanpour's point? "Europeans are not willing to give that up."

CNN covered the story that France does have its particular issues. There is a big Muslim population based on the years of French colonialism in Africa and the Middle East. (Think of the movie, "Casablanca" and the French Foreign Legion in the desert.)

And despite the French prime minister's statement that "There is no France without French Jews," antisemitism in France in recent years continues to frighten many French Jews into leaving the country - France, with the largest Jewish and the largest Muslim populations in Europe.

Further, to CNN's credit, their coverage of the massive rally in Paris explored obvious implications of these issues.

Irshad Manji, a Muslim woman activist for meaningful, sustainable peace and understanding, asserted, "A full-on commitment to free expression" and "an uncompromising stand against bullying and persecution" must become a unified value, everywhere. She noted among the "Je suis Charlie" signs is one carried by a young Muslim girl that reads, "Je suis Jouie - I am a Jew."

Manji advocates that in addition to "public school cultural days where you share one another's food, you learn to ask, what do we do to promote fairness and opportunity for everybody?"

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"A new generation is capable and ready for pluralism," said Manji.


Let's hope. But...

The theme on the Sunday shows elsewhere on tv, even when they sought some positive message to include, was fixated on one idea:

"THE central issue of our time is young Muslim extremism."

No. It's not. And let's not delude ourselves into ignoring what could kill us all.

Because if global climate change continues unchecked, it will continue to accelerate.

And "100-Year Storms" happening every few years, and prolonged drought on breadbasket croplands, and salt water intrusion into river deltas, and collapse of fisheries, and innundation of settled coastal regions where most of the Earth's human population resides?

THOSE things will cause unwanted migrations on an unimagined scale. Then it will all be about simple survival, regardless of what language anyone speaks or the detailed dogma of their religion.

So. Want to carry a sign? It's time for us to carry the ultimate solidarity sign, and to become informed activists demanding action so that all our other arguments about culture and economics and fairness and opportunity can still be possible.


That sign is: "Je suis Earth."

Larry Wines