In Defence of Liberté and Free Speech – France is Charlie Hebdo – We Are All Charlie Hebdo
The barbaric, bloody slaughter of 12 people during an attack on a Paris newspaper office by two Islamist gunmen has appalled France and united thousands in defence of prized national freedoms now attacked by unassimilated religious extremists.
The atrocity, which also left 11 people injured, sparked spontaneous and defiant mass gatherings in towns and cities around France, with tens of thousands of people waving pens and Je suis Charlie posters to show solidarity with the victims.
“On “9/11 we were all Americans today we are all Charlies” –demonstrator to TV reporter at mass rally in Paris hours after the atrocity.
President François Hollande called the massacre a “barbarous terrorist attack” while the former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, urged France to defend itself against a “war that has been declared on civilisation”.
Nicolas Sarkozy : “Une guerre est déclarée à la civilisation, qui a la responsabilité de se défendre.”
These are the four cartoonists who were slaughtered:
This is what they died for:
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) January 7, 2015
The complete list of the dead and injured has not yet been released but as of late Thursday January 7 and according to François Molins, Paris prosecutor in charge of the case, the following people were murdered in the outrage:
Stéphane ‘Charb’ Charbonnier, 47, Editor Charlie Hebdo;
Bernard Maris, 68, economist and a France Inter broadcaster;
Jean ‘Cabu’ Cabut 76, lead cartoonist;
Georges Wolinksi, 80, cartoonist;
Bernard ‘Tignous’ Verlhac, 58, cartoonist;
Philippe Honore, 73, cartoonist;
Michel Renaud, 69, founder of Rendez-vous du carnet de Voyage, at Clermont-Ferrand and a visitor at the meeting;
Elsa Cayat, 54, a psychoanalyst and columnist at the magazine — the only woman among the victims;
Mustapha Ourad, 60, a proof-reader, who had worked for the magazine for 15 years;
Frédéric Boisseau, 42, a maintenance man in the building;
Franck Brinsolaro, 49, a brigadier with the close protection unit assigned to guard Charb;
Ahmed Merabet, 42, a policeman based in the 11th arrondissement and mercilessly shot in the head in the street by the fanatics before they made their escape.
The names of those injured and hospitalised have yet to be released.
Reporting on the bloodbath, the New Yorker magazine came straight to the point with a strong condemnation of the West’s tolerance of religious extremism:
“The murders today in Paris are not a result of France’s failure to assimilate two generations of Muslim immigrants from its former colonies. They’re not about French military action against the Islamic State in the Middle East, or the American invasion of Iraq before that. They’re not part of some general wave of nihilistic violence in the economically depressed, socially atomized, morally hollow West—the Paris version of Newtown or Oslo. Least of all should they be “understood” as reactions to disrespect for religion on the part of irresponsible cartoonists.
“They are only the latest blows delivered by an ideology that has sought to achieve power through terror for decades. It’s the same ideology that sent Salman Rushdie into hiding for a decade under a death sentence for writing a novel, then killed his Japanese translator and tried to kill his Italian translator and Norwegian publisher. The ideology that murdered three thousand people in the U.S. on September 11, 2001. The one that butchered Theo van Gogh in the streets of Amsterdam, in 2004, for making a film. The one that has brought mass rape and slaughter to the cities and deserts of Syria and Iraq. That massacred a hundred and thirty-two children and thirteen adults in a school in Peshawar last month. That regularly kills so many Nigerians, especially young ones, that hardly anyone pays attention.
“Because the ideology is the product of a major world religion, a lot of painstaking pretzel logic goes into trying to explain what the violence does, or doesn’t, have to do with Islam. Some well-meaning people tiptoe around the Islamic connection, claiming that the carnage has nothing to do with faith, or that Islam is a religion of peace, or that, at most, the violence represents a “distortion” of a great religion. (After suicide bombings in Baghdad, I grew used to hearing Iraqis say, “No Muslim would do this.”) Others want to lay the blame entirely on the theological content of Islam, as if other religions are more inherently peaceful—a notion belied by history as well as scripture…”
Watch how the Charlie Hebdo Paris attacks unfolded:
Here is a Reuters video report:
A German paper courageously reprints all the satirical covers:
Newspaper coverage of Charlie Hebdo atrocity
Daily Telegraph London published this newsclip of the shootings:
“The cartoonists died for an idea. The killers are soldiers in a war against freedom of thought and speech, against tolerance, pluralism, and the right to offend—against everything decent in a democratic society. So we must all try to be Charlie, not just today but every day” – New Yorker
How cartoonists around world reacted:
Nick Cohen, a leftwing journalist writing in the UK’s venerable and conservative Spectator magazine summed up the self-evident truths that he says apply in the aftermath of this attack, as follows:
A religion is not a race. Sometimes, not always, it is a system of violent beliefs that claims the right to subjugate others – most notably its ‘own’ coerced adherents.
Undoubtedly there are white racists and Hindu nationalists who treat religion as a race and hate Muslims because they are Muslims. Principled people should fight, criticise and satirise them with the same force and for the same reasons they fight religious obscurantism.
Criticism of religion – including bawdy irreverent criticism— is a defence against oppressive power.
In our time, the most oppressive religious movements are variants on radical Islam. That may change. But for the present we must fight the enemies in front of us.
It is not ‘Islamophobic’ to satirise radical Islamists and their beliefs – the main targets of radical Islamists include other Muslims as well as Christians, Jews, Yazidis and secularists.
Even if in your confused liberal mind you think that it is, no one has the right to stop satire or criticism because they are offended.
No one has the right to kill those who offend them.
If they claim that right, they are the most deserving targets of satire and criticism imaginable.
And if you do not then satirise and criticise them because you are frightened of ending up like Charlie Hebdo’s dead journalists, or of taking a whipping in a PC backlash, how can you in conscience satirise left or right wing politicians you despise, or the evangelical Christians, Jewish fundamentalists, Catholic reactionaries, Russian orthodox Putinists you deplore?”
“I am Charlie” the twitter slogan trending worldwide:
Nicolas Sarkozy speaks of an attack on civilisation:
The day after:
Prime Minister Manuel Valls calls the tragedy an attack on liberty:
Cartoonists hit but still standing
We are all CharlieHebdo:
BBC report on French Muslims:
Police name suspects after an ID card was found in an abandoned get away vehicle:
Vine capture with gunmen shouting Allah Akbar:
The front cover of Marianne magazine:
A UK cartoon by Matt in the London-based Daily Telegraph:
A Muslim policeman died in the shootings:
Cartoonist calls for mass derision:
Journalism is not a crime:
Jesuischarlie a cartoon by Borque:
A photo of a pen – mightier than the sword:
A “We are not Stopping” cartoon:
I’d rather die standing – Charb:
Two French journalists tell why Charlie Hebdo matters and why the underlying issues are so vitally important:
Agnès Poirier: Now France faces a daily battle for Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité, “In the wake of the Paris massacre, the generous and inclusive tenets of the Republic should be rekindled”.
Charlie Hebdo attack: an assault on France’s truest expression of freedom.
Anne-Elisabeth Moutet writes : “Charlie Hebdo is the last true heir of the French revolutionary and republican traditions…Charlie was – and is – rude, obscene, irreverent, and anti-religious, as the last true heir of the French revolutionary and republican traditions. Voltaire lives in Charlie Hebdo – and Les Misérables’ little revolutionary Gavroche, too…A killing rampage at Charlie Hebdo hits at perhaps the truest expression of free speech in France: the magazine speaks with bitter humour, sarcasm, nihilism. The toxic accusation of Islamophobia – a loaded word that lets its wielders choose the terrain where they want to corner you, barring you from criticising an idea — didn’t stick to them, legally or otherwise, although there were countless attempts to make it do so.”
Story: Ken Pottinger
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