Charlie Hebdo – in sympathy and solidarity

The news from Paris today is deeply shocking. There are twelve people who are reported dead and four reported injured by the attack at the offices of satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. Four cartoonists and the editor-in-chief of the magazine are reported to be among the dead. We express our sincere sympathy to those who have lost loved ones and those affected by the tragedy. We also express our solidarity with the French people and Charlie Hebdo magazine in standing for free speech and against such mindless acts.

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29 Comments

  • David Faggiani 7th Jan '15 - 2:43pm

    Agreed, such an awful event. Solidarity and Free Speech forever.

  • stuart moran 7th Jan '15 - 3:35pm

    shocking! agree totally with the sentiments expressed

  • Jayne Mansfield 7th Jan '15 - 4:09pm

    It is not really shocking at all though, is it? The cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo have lived with threats from extremists that they would be murdered since 2011 when they created and published cartoons. Since then, there has been a chilling inevitability that this would be the outcome.

    They were very brave people, and I hope that it leads to a renewed belief that freedom of expression, whether one is offended by it or otherwise, is precious and must be defended.

  • stuart moran 7th Jan '15 - 4:14pm

    Jayne

    Yes – perhaps not shocking defined as surprising but you still hope that things like this will not come to pass and when they do it causes a sense of shock

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Jan '15 - 5:13pm

    Dear readers, the first thing I want to say is that nobody should use today’s attack as a justification to support Pegida or any other anti Muslim group. It seems that some journalists use free speech to insert “suspected Islamist attack” wherever they feel like it, even if they don’t have evidence. It shouldn’t be banned, but they should be criticised.

    Secondly, condemnation alone is not good enough. I am as defiant as anyone, but defiance shouldn’t mean we do not look for plotters and stop them in the process.

  • I trust all liberals will agree that the killing of people for expressing their opinions is the utter antithesis of even the mildest notions of personal liberty.

    I hope it will also be understood that assassination should not be confounded with vigorous dissent and dispute over views, and that entire communities should not be stigmatised for the actions of a few murderers.

  • stuart moran 7th Jan '15 - 9:17pm

    nvelope2003

    I suggest you listen to this video and be ashamed for your post

  • stuart moran 7th Jan '15 - 9:29pm

    and for those of you who read a bit of French this is an emotional piece from Libération. This paper had strong links with Charlie Hebdo – both of them being on the left of the spectrum

    We will see the best (and possibly worst) of that great country across the Channel in the coming days

    http://www.liberation.fr/societe/2015/01/07/charlie-vivra_1175771

    JE SUIS CHARLIE

  • Every right-thinking news publication in the free world should respond in the very best way possible, by covering its front page with the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo – *including* the ones of Mohammed.

  • Only heard about this late evening, Awful news. My heart goes out to the victims, their families , their friends and the people of France. The only remotely heartening thing is that the coverage is asserting the importance, and value of free speech in the face attack from weak minded fringe political groups and religious fruitcakes.

  • As it has been said only a minority of Russians supported the Cheka and the Communists yet up to 60 miilion were murdered between 1918 and 1956, only a minority of Germans supported the Nazis yet 14 millions were murdered in the camps, only a minority of Japanese supported the military yet 12 million Asians died, only a minority of Chinese supported the Communists yet 70 million were murdered. If the majority of muslims are peaceful, it is time they publicly criticise and protest against those who support a theology of violence against those who mock and ridicule their religion. There can be no religion of peace if it’s followers support acts of violence who mock and ridicule it. If people do not like living in a society where there religion is mocked they can leave. Many of the Pilgrim’s who went to America in 1622 did so because they dislike the religious tolerance in England. There is freedom of movement .

  • Allum Bokhari 8th Jan '15 - 12:16pm

    MBoy

    Agreed absolutely. To quote someone on my Twitter feed, “instead of a minute’s silence, let’s respond by observing a life of unconditional free speech.”

    I’ve been very disappointed with the unwillingness of British publications to reprint the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Newspapers on the content have been much braver:
    https://twitter.com/wblau/status/552935323119140865
    https://twitter.com/BERLINER_KURIER/status/553147357156900864

    This may be premature as some UK outlets may change their stance over the coming days, but it would just send the worst possible message if the rest of the media once again leaves it up to a few small publications to take the risk. It makes it look as if intimidation actually works.

    There is currently a Change.org petition calling on editors to print the cartoons, if anyone’s interested:
    https://www.change.org/p/editors-and-journalists-around-the-world-publish-charlie-hebdo-s-mohammed-cartoons-in-solidarity-with-the-victims-of-censorship-and-violence?recruiter=199088976&utm_campaign=twitter_link_action_box&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=share_petition

  • jedibeeftrix 8th Jan '15 - 12:25pm

    @ allum – “Agreed absolutely. To quote someone on my Twitter feed, “instead of a minute’s silence, let’s respond by observing a life of unconditional free speech.”

    We can have that once we scrap all the incitement to ‘x’ hatred laws.

    Not before.

  • nvelope2003 8th Jan '15 - 3:30pm

    Stuart Moran: I have listened but the video does not deal with the real issue. If an insensitive man torments his wife every day with cruel and possibly untrue taunts and she finally snaps and kills him, I suspect that many on this site would sympathise with her whilst deploring murder.
    The French have a guilt complex because of the outrages committed during the Revolution which caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of mostly innocent people so that fanatics could impose their perverse ideas on the population whether they wanted it or not. Lenin did the same. In the end the people had enough of it and got rid of their tormentors.

    I live in a Muslim area – what do you think would happen if I put a rude cartoon of the Prophet in my window ? Would I still get a Christmas card from my kindly neighbour ?

    Of course I regret the deaths of the editor and his staff as I do those of the hundreds of thousands of Muslims killed as a result of Western interference in their countries and the many Muslims killed in France or humiliated daily and I ask Charlie who thinks they should move – where do you think they should go – Palestine ?
    When I was young I enjoyed the works of Voltaire and the satirists of the 1960s but when I grew up (something which does not seem to happen any more, apparently) I realised there was another side to this and indeed had already suspected it before then. The atmosphere of 18th Century Europe was rather different from today’s world.

    When everybody takes the same view then I find there is something wrong. The outcry over this murder is like that of the Nazis when a Jewish refugee was accused of killing the German Ambassador in Paris. A persecuted man and his persecutors’ representative.

    I am all in favour of an informed or even an uninformed dialogue with other religions or belief systems but insulting people is not the way nor is this assumption that only the West has all the answers, because it is only too obvious that they have not. Normal people do not antagonise their neighbours whether they like them or not. We are not talking here about friendly banter but outright hatred for another culture, but then the French are rather good at that from the Dreyfus affair to the movement of Jews to the extermination camps just 75 years ago and they did not even have to do it ! What about the thousands of Jews who are planning to go to Israel because of those nice friendly French neighbours who cannot stop wrecking their grave yards ?

    What happened to those alleged Republican virtues. Clearly they never really existed for most people – not even in satirical magazines which seem to exude hatred of everybody and any idea they do not like.

    I am not ashamed to write this but I do regret the violence that has been the result of great provocation and the violence that will no doubt ensue.

  • nvelope:

    You have just compared the killers of the Charlie Hebdo journalists to abused wives and to Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The problem is that you do not observe the absurdity of these comparisons. No one who was offended by Charlie Hebdo had to read it; it was, in fact, a small weekly with a circulation of about 30-50,000 (that is, it was read by less than one in a thousand citizens of France), and not the kind of thing that one would randomly pick up just to read the news. No Muslim in France was ‘tormented’ by it and probably most of them were, up to now, unaware of its existence.

    But the most important thing you are missing is that satire is not equivalent to assault. Satire is not equivalent to murder. Satire is not even equivalent to verbal abuse. Satire may be stupid or crude or even vile, but it is also impersonal. Nobody has to take it seriously or even pay attention to it. The only people who are seriously disturbed by satire are those who suspect that the satire exposes something true about them that they’d rather keep hidden.

  • stuart moran 8th Jan '15 - 4:57pm

    nvelope

    wow – I cannot believe some of the comparisons and leaps in logic you have made there

    The cartoonists were offensive, they tried to offend – just like I am offended when I hear Katie Hopkins talking, or Anne Coulter, Karl Rove and many others who I profoundly disagree with

    As I said above I think they pushed the boundary but even if the occasionally crossed it I do not believe anything they said could be construed as being a capital offence

    Remember, in your initial post, you tried to say that they were responsible for their own deaths – just like the raped woman was ‘asking for it’ when dressing in a short skirt. That is what people have reacted to – not the fact you found the cartoons offensive!

    Jedi,

    ‘Incitement to hatred’ should be linked to inciting people to commit violent acts – this indeed is a crime. I am uncomfortable though that it is sometimes used just to stop people being offensive about people beliefs (political or religious).

  • nvelope2003 8th Jan '15 - 5:38pm

    David-1 You are being disingenuous. There is a climate of hostility to Muslims in France and although very few people read this magazine the sort of views it espouses are only too well known. No doubt most Muslims just shrug off this sort of thing as what they would expect from an ignorant and prejudiced people but some do get upset and a handful of extremists have taken things too far.
    The comparison with the abused wife was meant to show what might happen if you go too far in being nasty to other people’s feelings. People are not robots as secularists seem to think – at least until some of them get killed by those they have enraged beyond endurance. I was comparing the Jewish refugee to the people who are daily insulted by French people who hate them, not to murderers.

    Satire may not be taken seriously by some people but others are upset. I have spent a lot of time in Muslim countries and even those who are not very religious get angry when they see their faith mocked and insulted by European atheists – the more so when they perceive them to be a load of drunken, immoral heathens which many of them are.

    I support freedom of speech but not deliberate insults or abuse when there is no need for it. I do not think many people have any idea what those who are not like themselves have to put up with and it is about time they tried to find out . This terrible murder might just be the start of that process.

  • stuart moran 8th Jan '15 - 5:49pm

    Personally I don’t care if they get upset by satire…..satire is a weapon against the powerful and religions are far more powerful than a small French magazine!

    I see you are also advocating that this violent act should see people modifying what they say and do – marvellous!

    Do you think that being an atheist mocking a religion should be a capital offence because that seems to be what you are saying

  • nvelope:

    I am not sure whether you are demanding that governments censor speech that one or another ideological community may choose to treat as offensive, or whether you want writers to self-censor for fear of violent reprisals. In neither case, however, are you entitled to claim that you “support freedom of speech”; you don’t.

    You also don’t seem to realise that you benefit from the speech protections which you’d like to see curbed. In your 3:30 comment you directed ‘deliberate insults or abuse’ at both Jacobins and Leninists. As I recall, neither of those groups were particularly thick-skinned, and both were apt to retaliate with violence. Shouldn’t you have censored your own comments to avoid provocation? Aren’t you just taking advantage of the fact that the state protects your free speech from angry leftists?

    Or are only extremist Wahhabism and Salafism to be protected from speech? Where is the government to draw the line? Should society protect pacifistic and non-violent religious and ideological communities from insulting speech too — in which case an argument based on ‘provocation’ is illogical — or is the point to reward threats and murder by providing extra protections to those groups that are most violent, on the reasoning that the squeaky wheel gets the grease? If so then the state ends up encouraging a competition between ideological groups to be as violent as possible, so as to gain the most protection and favour.

  • Please, British newspapers and magazines – get together and ALL print a copy of that cartoon to show solidarity in the name of free speech.

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th Jan '15 - 6:53pm

    nvelope2003

    I have spent a lot of time in Muslim countries and even those who are not very religious get angry when they see their faith mocked and insulted by European atheists

    Yes, and I get angry with many of the things said and done in those countries. People like you are all take, take take, and no give.

    I happen to be a Catholic, and my religion regularly comes under the sort of silly attack and mockery that most people now are afraid to make of Islam, either through the liberal guilt complex or for fear of what has happened in Paris. Well, my religion did some horrible things historically, but thankfully, it does not do that sort of thing any more. It wasn’t the sort of kid glove no criticism treatment you are asking for here that changed things. No, it was quite the opposite.

  • Nvelope2003.
    Why should secular atheist be upset about hurting the feelings of the religious any more than the religious are upset by hurting the feelings of secular atheist.? Secular atheist don’t claim the religious are going to burn in hell or any of the stuff regularly trotted out by the religious. And by the way I lived a Muslim area of Leicester for 10 years,

  • Helen Tedcastle 8th Jan '15 - 7:13pm

    nvelope2003

    Although I agree with you that muslims in France are a marginalised and disenfranchised group, I’m with Matthew Huntbach that one cannot condone a terrorist act of violence upon a bunch of secularists, simply for drawing a few cartoons.

    Catholicism has also been mocked by the same paper and the best response is not to bother reading it or read it with the aim of informing oneself of opposing viewpoints – albeit that some are in distinctly bad taste and often miss the point.

    One cannot sympathise with muslims in France – and at the same time – imply a ‘just deserts’ consequence upon French satirists, because of the social policies of the French state.

    The pen has to be/is mightier than the sword.

  • Helen Tedcastle 8th Jan '15 - 7:32pm

    Correction to my previous comment: ‘just deserts’ should in fact read ‘just desserts’…

  • nvelope2003 8th Jan '15 - 9:14pm

    I have never said that the Muslim or any other religion should not be criticised and I detest those who pick out bits from religious texts and use them out of context to maintain some cruel and wicked position just as atheists often do in order to ridicule Christianity or other religions. I tried to read some of Dawkins work but found it so silly I gave up but in the UK we are used to that sort of thing from that sort of person so we take no notice of it.

    I never said I supported the murderers of those journalists, just that if you provoke people unnecessarily then you cannot be too surprised if someone overreacts. However I wanted to take the opportunity to point out there was a wider issue here which needed to be examined. I do not think it was just a matter of a few cartoons but why upset people when there is no need to do so to make the points you think need to be made?

    I would not normally tease the secularists but since they have made so much of their hatred of religion, especially the Muslim one now that they think they have won the battle over Christianity, I thought it might be useful to remind them that they are not immune from criticism themselves. Funny how you can dish it out but you cannot take it.

    Of course there are many things wrong in Muslim countries just as there are in secular ones (or Christian ones, if there are still any left). Just for the record I was brought up as a Methodist, possibly the least dogmatic of the Christian churches. I cannot find it in my heart to hate anyone although sometimes human behaviour can be a cause for despair but we must soldier on even though the Great Powers will continue to persecute those who stand in the way of their greed for even more of the earth’s resources than they already have and foolish people will play along with that.

    Perhaps the most absurd thing I heard was the suggestion that Muslims put out their own cartoons when that is just what their religion does not permit. Like the Jews and the Calvinist Christians they are not allowed to make images of living things. (Thou shalt not make for thyself any graven image……)

  • stuart moran 8th Jan '15 - 9:35pm

    nvelope2003

    I do not ‘hate’ religion I just find it nonsense…..if I was in Saudi Arabia, or even the USA, I may have more reason to hate it but I live in a secular country (almost) and can ignore it most of the time

    I am also absolutely opposed to persecution of anyone who is of faith, nor at the same time granting them particular privileges

    The problem with your argument is conflating two things. The cartoonists were well known for satirising religion and had been threatened before. As far as I know they had not been a party to any of the wars or drone killings but you seem to be happy to call their murder an overreaction. I call it cowardly and pathetic – they attacked these people because they were a soft target and were also happy to slaughter a policeman in cold blood. Don’t try to describe these acts as an ‘overreaction’

    They also shouted ‘God is Good’ whilst committing these crimes – surely that is a bigger affront to their religion – and it is a point many muslims have made to day – many of whom are far more forthright in their condemnation than you are

    Last two points – ‘why unnecessarily upset people’ is a phrase you use – I would ask that why should I be worried about doing so? These cartoonists thought that it was necessary to do in order to get their point across – I looked at the cartoons, none are racially motivated so I don’t see why they should be censored. I don’t have to buy the magazine

    Last point – I am going to say the final paragraph made me laugh out loud. If people believe these things in this day an age based on a mythical ‘commandment’ made to an illiterate tribe in a desert thousands of years ago then they deserve to be mocked and ridiculed……..just like the guy who believes the earth is flat and the earth was created in 7 days (oppose forgot that was a metaphor and should be measured in God Days). Doesn’t mean I hate them though or want thenm to be stopped from believing it

  • nvelope2003 9th Jan '15 - 11:33am

    The reason for the ban on images is to stop people worshipping idols or other material things such as modern people do. The Jews were not illiterate – if they were there would be no Torah or Bible or Koran. Human nature has not changed. The Holy Books were written before modern knowledge about the world and its origins were known and tried to explain things in terms which would be understood at that time. To ridicule ancient people is just as silly as laughing at people who did not have computers or electric lights as recently as 10 years ago, and many still do not have those things. Most modern people live in a dream world. I heard someone claim on BBC radio that there were no people alive who did not have an indoor lavatory. Well my family did not have one until the mid fifties and the BBC were inundated with people saying the same thing. Every day I hear things on the BBC which are wrong but given as facts and not challenged at least as far as I know. I have heard people interviewed on radio who were told that they were out of time when they queried the latest absurd statement. What do they teach people in schools these days ? And all this nonsense is swallowed whole by those who claim to be so modern and progressive. It almost makes me weep.

    No one has to buy any magazine or listen to the radio but they do and the ideas flowing from those organs soon permeate into the wider world as you must surely be aware. Perhaps I have lived too long.

  • nvelope2003 9th Jan '15 - 6:11pm

    Matthew Huntbach: It was not nasty cartoons of the Pope or the cardinals which changed the Catholic Church but the desertion of its flock, either to indifference or to Evangelical sects.

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