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.

I am Charlie

I am Charlie

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.”


Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier, the editor of Charlie Hebdo, was 47 when he was mercilessly gunned down by barbaric religiously- inspired terrorists.

Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier, the editor of Charlie Hebdo, was 47 when he was mercilessly gunned down by barbaric, religiously- inspired terrorists.

These are the four cartoonists who were slaughtered:

The cartoonists who were slaughtered (Credit Guido Fawkes Blog)

The cartoonists who were slaughtered (Credit Guido Fawkes Blog)

he cartoonists who were slaughtered (Credit Guido Fawkes Blog)

The cartoonists who were slaughtered (Credit Guido Fawkes Blog)

This is what they died for:

updated2crop-150x76-e1397767575227 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.

Names of the slain (Credit Itele )

Names of the slain (Credit Itele )

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?”


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  “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:

More cartoons:

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

Let’s Hear it for (Charlie) Hebdo
Extremists Attack Charlie Hebdo and Golgotha
Freedom of Speech – No Ifs No Buts
How do You Solve a ‘Problem’ like Charlie H?
Intouchables Touches the ‘Handi-Ignorants’
A Siren Call for Secularism: How Those who Label France ‘Burqaphobic’ Miss the Point

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7 Responses to In Defence of Liberté and Free Speech – France is Charlie Hebdo – We Are All Charlie Hebdo

  1. Hem Raj Jain January 8, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Instead of shedding crocodile tears over killing of French journalists, India should take the lead in solving Jihadi problem
    Time to call the bluff that presently practiced Islam is a religion of peace and harmony (ii)- India of PM Modi under influence of Sangh Parivar can be coaxed to take the lead to become ‘Vishva Guru’ (World’s en-lightener) by solving ISIS / Jihadi problem (iii)- Better if India involves SAARC in this mission as it will establish leadership of India in SAARC
    Notwithstanding the attempt of a misguided section of media [to rationalize the terrorist attack by Jihadis on French satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ on Wednesday (in which 12 persons including 10 journalists) were killed by saying that this killing was the result of repeated caricature of Islam by this magazine], this condemnable terrorist attack involves two major issues / global problems. First the freedom of expression and second the menace of Jihad which is disturbing the peace and harmony of entire mankind. People should not be surprised if India takes the lead or rather should take the lead in solving these problems as explained below :-  

    (1)-  In modern world freedom of expression has acquired wider meaning. Nowadays so many expressions which were considered seditious, harmful etc are considered no more so. When controversy erupted over allegedly a blasphemous video (produced in USA) on Prophet Muhammad, demonstrations took place by Muslims all over the world in which hundreds of Muslims were killed. At that time US President Obama was right in refusing to ban this video by saying at UN in 2012 that – “At a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete”. Obama further said that – “Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views, even views that we profoundly disagree with.  We do not do so because we support hateful speech, but because our founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views and practice their own faith may be threatened.  We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can quickly become a tool to silence critics and oppress minorities.”

    (2)- Media first reported that Al-Queda carried out this Wednesday terrorist attack in Paris and then reported that ISIS took the responsibility. But it hardly matters because they are two sides of the same coin namely  ‘the Jihadi mindset’. Notwithstanding the attempt of Muslims all over the world to fool the people that Jihad has different (laudable)  meaning in Islam, if entire mankind does not do anything to eliminate this ‘modern version of Jihad’ then it may be too late.

    (3)- No doubt any body who ever came in contact with Quran (the basis of Islam) knows that it is capable of preparing its practitioners competent enough to deal with the problems & issues of this and other world. But it is time to call the bluff of Muslims all over the world that the Islam (as PRESENTLY BEING PRACTICED under un-creative and non-modernizing clergy) is a religion of peace and harmony. Therefore rest of the world should not listen to laments of Muslims and should try to discipline this Jihadi mindset which finds its breeding and sustaining ground among the wider and so-called peace-loving Muslim population all over the world.

    (4)- Whether Muslims like it or not but – if they could spread Islam in different parts of the world with the power of sword and with huge bloodshed and killings and with unspeakable atrocities on so-called ‘Qafirs’ (the non-believers)- then there is no reason why rest of the world should not discipline Jihadi promoting and sustaining Muslims all over the world through UNEC and mostly mild use of sanctioned physical coercion by UNPKF.

    (5)- But now it is evident that said 2012 UN speech was merely a professorial speech of Obama because he still remain in delusional mode where he naively believes that this Jihadi mindset (manifested in ISIS phenomenon too) can be eliminated without boots on ground in Syria and Iraq. The role of other veto powers in this matter is less said the better. Therefore India (with ~ 250 million Muslim population) of PM Modi under influence of Sangh Parivar can be coaxed to take the lead to become ‘Vishva Guru’ (World’s en-lightener, which Sangh Parivar namely VHP, RSS, BJP etc is never tired of saying and aspiring) by solving ISIS phenomenon. It will be better if India involves SAARC (which has ~ 700 million Muslims) in this mission which will go a long way in assuring Muslims all over the world about impartiality of this ‘UN’s Jihadi elimination mission’.

    (6)- India should tell UN that it will provide military / para – military (for UN Peace  Keeping Force, UNPKF) and civilian (for assisting UN Election Commission, UNEC) personnel in order to carry out elections in Syria and Iraq after preparing voter lists after getting all the displaced persons / refugees in their respective countries (under a constitution on the basis of Federal, Secular, democratic, Republic, Human rights & capital friendly, globalization with rule of legislated laws). Though so many personnel may not be required but if India could provide ~ 2 million people to Britishers during World War I & II each then there is no reason why present India of ~ 1.25 Billion population (or ~ 1.75 Billion population of SAARC under Indian leadership) can not provide ~ 10 million people to UN  (if needed for bringing peace and succor to Syria & Iraq and to any other troubled country in NAME).  

    (7)- India understands the fact that for the last 30 years India could not get its leadership established in SAARC for the simple reason that India could not satisfy Pakistan on Kashmir issue. Now both India and Pakistan being nuclear power, the solution of Kashmir issue by retrieving POK militarily by India is simply not possible. Therefore by taking the lead in solving Jihadi problem from all over the world (first by mission in NAME especially in Syria and Iraq) by providing people to UN as mentioned above, India ultimately will be able to solve Kashmir problem also, which will usher entire (may be formally unified) SAARC region in unprecedented peace, prosperity and harmony.
    It is hoped that remaining mankind will coax India (especially Sangh Parivar which is always very eager to be so coaxed) in order to constrain Government India to take the lead in solving Jihadi problem from all over the world by contributing people from India (and preferably from SAARC under Indian leadership) to UNPKF and UNEC, as mentioned above.

    Hem Raj Jain (Author of ‘Betrayal of Americanism’)
    Bengaluru, (Karnataka) India

  2. Secular Vegan January 8, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    A good article and thanks for posting the Nick Cohen link.

  3. Chales D Becker January 10, 2015 at 1:22 am

    My Heart felt sadness and sorrow for your loss in recent days and for showing U.S. {us} once again that we learned a good lesson from you the great people of France . Again and Again that you have fought with us and for us in strength and courage throughout HIstory. THANK YOU ,FRANCE, for showing the WORLD EXACTLY HOW TO DEAL WITH THIS TYPE OF TERRIBLE ACT AND HOW TO SWIFTLY TO DEAL WITH TERRORISTS. I APPLAUD YOUR SWIFT JUSTICE AS IT NEEDED TO BE. I FEEL A DEBT TO YOU FOR ALL YOUR RESOLVE. VIVE LA FRANCE.

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