18 Jan 2015

Charlie Hebdo, France and Pakistan

The Extremist Attack

On 7th January, all the world watched astonished on TV a black Citroen C3 driving up to Charlie Hebdo building, stopping out there while two masked gunmen, dressed in black and armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles got out and entered into the Charlie’s building. Several shots were fired in and soon after, it’s possible to see these two men also  opening fire to a police car and, brutally executing a police officer on the sidewalk.

Witnesses said they had heard the gunmen shouting "We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad" and "God is Great" in Arabic, that’s to say, it was easy to learn that they were Muslims.

Rapidly, the French police released pictures of two suspects, the Kouachi brothers, and started an unprecedented manhunt across the country. Soon after, the brothers were surrounded in the outskirts of Paris. In this meantime, a policewoman was shot dead, in Montrouge. As for the police, this attack had connection with the first one.

As if it was not enough, another gunman took several people hostage at a kosher supermarket at Porte de Vincennes in the east of Paris. Police also quickly surrounded the building, and once again, all the attacks were linked one another.

The outcome of all those three events is well known: 12 killed in the Charlie Hebdo attack, several hostages killed at the kosher supermarket and all three extremists got killed by the police.

Why has it happened? Who’s Charlie Hebdo?

Charlie Hebso is satirical newspaper featuring cartoons, reports, polemics, and jokes. The publication describes itself as “strongly anti-racist, anti-religious, and left-wing.

According to its former editor Stéphane Charbonnier, who was among the dead at the Charlie building, the magazine's editorial viewpoint reflects "all components of left wing pluralism, and even abstainers".

On 2nd November 2011, the newspaper's office was fire-bombed and its website was hacked. The attacks were presumed to be linked to its decision to rename a special edition "Charia Hebdo", with Muhammad listed as the "editor-in-chief".

Muhammad, the Prophet

It’s well known around the world that Muslims worship Muhammad. He is something like a “Saint” for them; also, it is not allowed to publish any drawing or picture of him, as they deem Muhammad as a sacred figure. Even so, Charlie’s cartoonists did not care about it  and, in name of the “freedom of speech”, they kept publishing ‘disrespectful’ cartoons of the Muslims’ prophet.

All Eyes on France

The extremist attack on French soil immediately brought up attention of the world to this country. Less than 20 people - unfortunately - had died, but sensationalism had already been spread out from all corners of the Earth. Some called “the 9/11 of France”, “France is under attack”, “the Symbol of Freedom has been hit”, etc.
Less than a week of those sad events, a march took place on the streets of Paris and millions of people came to the streets holding placards where one could read “JE SUIS CHARLIE” (I am Charlie). 

It was very emotional.

Pakistan x France

On 16th December 2014, less than a month of the coward attack on Chalie Hebdo building, the Taliban assaulted on a crowded school in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing 145 people — 132 of them uniformed schoolchildren. 

During an eight-hour rampage at the Army Public School and Degree College, a team of nine gunmen stormed through the corridors and assembly hall, firing at random and throwing grenades. Some of the students at the school were lined up and slaughtered with shots to the head. Others were gunned down as they cowered under their desks, or forced to watch as their teachers were riddled with bullets.

The school turned into a battleground when commandos from the army’s elite Special Services Group moved in. As the battle for control spread across the school, cornered Taliban detonated their suicide vests, killing several children.

The children had not drawn any picture of Muhammad, the Prophet; they had not provoked other’s religions; they were only studying - and it's a sin for the Taliban. Nevertheless, nobody went to the streets chanting words to support Pakistani people. After all, it had happened in Pakistan where violence is part of a daily basis... 132 children? It’s ok. It’s in Pakistan, not France. 

What I’m trying to say is how the media is well used to influence what we think.

In both situations, civilians have paid with their lives in reason of the ignorance and radicalism of extremists who kill in name of Allah. In France, about 20 adults lost their lives; in Pakistan 132 children had the same fate, apart from the adults. So, why the media did not give the same attention to the events at Peshawar School? Well..., nobody goes to Pakistan. It’s a sad reality. As for France, besides being a touristic place, there’s no Taliban in there.

Freedom of Speech x Respect

After the events in France, an issue was came to my mind: Has Charlie Hebdo the right of ‘attacking’ other people with pens and pencils? Who is radical: the extremists carrying their guns or the cartoonists drawing their pics? It looks no one will stop ‘attacking’ each other, then I consider both radicals.

Freedom of speech doesn’t mean writing or saying what ones want. To everything we do here on Earth, there’s always a consequence. If somebody provoke me on the streets, it’s almost certain I will retaliate (unless the defiant is bigger than me). 

Charlie Hebdo exacerbated the use of freedom of speech and paid a high price for this. It looks like it will not stop provoking Muslims as well as it looks like terrorist attacks will not end on French soil.

It’s a shame. 
Civilians may pay with their lives for the radicalism of cartoonists and radicalism of extremists.

All of them are wrong, but they think on the contrary.
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