Eight Months On and Even With €30mn in the Bank Charlie Hebdo Struggles to Survive

Eight months after Islamic extremists in Paris massacred 12 staff members at Charlie Hebdo, survivors at the magazine are struggling to keep the paper together despite reader support, a healthy bank account and new editorial offices.

Charlie Hebdo on sale in Paris: Cover of first post attack issue (Credit Twitter)

Charlie Hebdo on sale in Paris: Cover of first post attack issue (Credit Twitter)

The latest blow came with the announcement September 26 that artistic director Luz — who drew the cover cartoon of a weeping Mohammed saying “All is forgiven” the week after the attack — has resigned, while writer Patrick Pelloux, a medical emergency assistant, said he too would be departing “probably” in January, AP reported.

As the video above makes clear, one of the great achievements of the European Enlightenment was to push religion into the background effectively caging and muzzling it by way of satire, mockery and ridicule — Moliere’s play Tartuffe being a withering example. But today’s “Dark Age mentalities publishing hit lists and killing people” for exercising free speech are clearly having a devastating impact on free speech and on survivors of extremist attacks including those at Charlie Hebdo. This significant blow to fiercely defended Western freedoms has the deleterious effect of further emboldening Islamist free speech deniers.

Attacks like the one against Charlie Hebdo are becoming all too common. In the video above Ayn Rand Institute senior fellow Onkar Ghate discusses ways of defending freedom of speech in the face of these religious attacks.

In the video – Charlie Hebdo, the West and the Need to Ridicule Religion — (key points about Charlie Hebdo are found in the first 12 minutes) Onkar Ghate stresses that enlightenment freedoms are being progressively eroded by emboldened Islamists with the rot starting in November 1979, when a group of Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran taking more than 60 American hostage and humiliating America.

This continued with the outrageous 1989 fatwa on the life of author Salman Rushdie, and worsened with the massacre at Charlie Hebdo and subsequent attacks on a Danish free speech gathering in Copenhagen. The progression of events and the increasing “Dark Age” violence has generated appeasement in the West which acquiesces by accepting terms such as “Islamaphobia” — a word deliberately originated to make all rational discussion or mockery of the religion of Islam impossible — and introducing “hate speech” concepts designed to muzzle those supporting and speaking out for free speech.

Former offices of Charlie Hebdo at 44 rue de Turbigo, Paris (Credit David Monniaux /Wikipedia)

Former offices of Charlie Hebdo at 44 rue de Turbigo, Paris (Credit David Monniaux /Wikipedia)

Le Parisien reports that serious tensions continue to plague the magazine pitting the journalists – writers and cartoonists — against the editorial management. “The staff are united in demanding a collective rethinking of how the publisher has structured operations, in order to create a more collegial capital structure. ‘We oppose a handful of individuals taking total or partial control of the magazine with absolute disregard for those who actually write and create it,’ the dissident editorial group comprising journalist Zineb El-Rhazoui, cartoonist Luz and Patric Pelloux said recently. Today it is clear that things are not going well with disputes related to financial and editorial issues plaguing the magazine for months.”

Until the massacre Charlie Hebdo had consistently mocked all religions, including Mohammed. Luz the cartoonist who has just resigned drew the cover cartoon — a weeping Mohammed saying “All is forgiven” for the issue that followed the January 7 attack by Islamic murderers which left 12 people dead. A second attack two days later on a Kosher grocery store in Paris killed five others. All three gunmen died in clashes with police, the AP report said. Sales of the magazine rose dramatically after the January attack but Zineb el-Rhazoui told iTele TV channel the latest departures “are a sign of a ‘malaise’ at Charlie Hebdo”.

Je Suis Charlie (Some rights reserved by Abode of Chaos- Flickr)

Je Suis Charlie (Some rights reserved by Abode of Chaos- Flickr)

And in the latest twist to the disarray that followed the extremists actions of last winter, Charlie Hebdo is again under attack by people clearly ignorant of its history and its style of humour.

As Brendan O’Neill, the British contrarian editor of Spiked Magazine notes the “offencerati or nasty professional offence-takers that are legion in modern Europe” have again taken up arms against the magazine.

Writing in a piece for the website Reason he spelt out the “crime”: “(the mag) dared to publish two cartoons about the refugee crisis engulfing Europe. The cartoons aren’t remotely anti-refugee. In fact, they’re critical of Europe, not the foreigners trying to get here. One is a drawing of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian kid who washed up on a beach in Turkey. The cartoon shows his dead body alongside the caption ‘So close to his goal…’ and a sign on the beach that says: ‘Promotion! Two children’s menus for the price of one.’ To my eyes, this looks like a (pretty lame) criticism of European consumerism, the kind of lazy lefty platitude that Charlie Hebdo often indulges in. Big deal.

“The second cartoon is more provocative, and better. It shows Christ walking on water next to the words: ‘Proof that Europe is Christian. Christians walk on water—Muslim children sink.’ Only the most literally-minded could consider this an attack on Muslims. It’s quite obviously a stinging criticism of those hard right-wingers who insist Europe must remain a Christian continent and who might just think that drowned Muslim kids around our watery borders are a price worth paying to keep it so.

“But none of this matters to the offence-taking set, because their aim is not to understand, far less be tolerant—it is to take offence. Like vampires in desperate need of blood, the offencerati has an insatiable urge to feed its inner outrage machine, to devour some giver of grievance and spit him out the other end as a chastised, apologetic shadow of his former self….”

More on Charlie Hebdo here
and here (Click on the image for the report)

Charlie Hebdo and free speech - The Film

Charlie Hebdo and free speech – The Film

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