Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Terror in Paris

Romanian cartoonist Pavel Constanin's homage to Charlie Hebdo 12 staff killed in the attack in Paris. Published at Daryl Cagle.

Controversial cartoons of Charlie Hebdo

Following yesterday's two terrorist attacks targeting civilians namely the police: a suicide bombing in tourist district of Istanbul by an english speaking terrorist and terror attack on 37 Yemeni police in the capital Sanaa, Paris has now suffered its own terror attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. This is the second time Hebdo has been attacked. In 2011, a fire bomb destroyed the CH's office after satirical drawings of Prophet Muhammad were published following the victory of an Islamist party in Tunisia. The then prophet cartoon publication came in the aftermath of the 2011 revolutions across North Africa and the Levant. Charlie Hebdo has also satirized politicians, world leaders and other current events but the newspaper has drawn the most ire for caricaturing Prophet Muhammad and radical Islam or the likes of ISIS. The strong reactions against Charlie Hebdo's satire proves that the pen is mightier than the sword.

Unfortunately, security, satire and popularity among French readers couldn't save the newspaper from the afternoon's horror. At 11am Paris time, three masked gunmen entered the office and shot dead 12 staff members including the editor Charlie Charbonnier. Paris police responded instantly surrounding the area and shot back at the gunmen. Unfortunately, a police officer was shot dead and three gunmen were able to flee the area and disappear in the city. Bystanders in nearby buildings took videos of the shooting as it happened. Many ordinary people across Europe are showing their solidarity and sympathy with Paris. Many leaders and even the United Nations Security general Ban Ki Moon have condemned the terror attack and shown their full support to France. The international reaction to the terror attacks and solidarity with Istanbul and Sanaa were less spontaneous and mute.

Charlie Hebdo's long history with Islam and provocations 

The accolades for freedom of press, democracy and civilization and respect for journalists' rights have been pouring across the airwaves and in the media. The Front Nationale and right wing organizations have been quiet for the most part. Many french people are receiving support from across the world and have gathered in the Place Republic to show solidarity with the victims of the terror attack. Chanting "Je suis Charlies," people are holding a vigil guarded by the police. Meanwhile in London, Prime Minister David Cameron is meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel on official visit to discuss with Cameron on Britain's EU membership and reforms. Cameron and Merkel have equally condemned the attack and Cameron has repeated anxiously that Britain's terror alert is already at severe and the highest level it can go is critical. He hinted if need be it would be raised to critical. It appears that PEDGIDA and anti-Islam German protesters' fears have come true.

Germany: Berliners lay flowers at French embassy

PS: Afternoon in Paris means nighttime in the Americas. Most Americans (North and South America) were asleep when the attack happened. Many were waking up to the horror and shock.  

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