Where's Charlie when you really need him?
The justifiably traumatized people of France have adopted the slogan "Je Suis Charlie" as a national expression of solidarity with the slain cartoonist, Charlie Hebdo, and other victims of the recent attacks by Islamic terrorists in and around Paris.
I share the outrage of the French People.
With ironic symbolism, "Je Suis Charlie" evokes the memory of another famous "Charlie" in French History, Charles Martel, whose Frankish forces defeated the advancing army of the Umayyad Caliphate at the Battle of Tours (also known as the Battle of Poitiers), in October, 732. This was after the Moors had advanced northeastward, up the Iberian Peninsula, over the Pyrenees Mountains, and across Aquitane, now southwestern France.
The whole Moorish-Frankish "thing" has been ongoing for more than a millennium; at least, since the 700s. The gun battles between Islamic terrorists and French special forces that played out in and around the French capital week were like the Battle of Tours, rejoined. Christians and Muslims slugging it out, with Jews getting caught in the middle, this time, at a market.
So, here's an historical twist: The victorious nickname for Charles Martel was "Martellus," as in "the Hammer." Can you guess another famously victorious "Hammer?" His name was Judah Maccabee ("The Hammerer"), the Judean priest and military commander who defeated the Seleucids, during the Maccabean Revolt against Hellenism, 167-160 BCE.
Whether the French recognize the historical irony or not, their cry of solidarity, "Je Suis Charlie," is also a battle cry. The French need to be like Charles Martel, and the Jews of France, like Judah Maccabee.