Being Charlie 2

Safety plan on the street after the fire of th...

Safety plan on the street after the fire of the offices of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo, November 2 2011, 62 boulevard Davout, Paris, France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The attack on Wednesday, against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, which seemed to be directed by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula “as revenge for the honour” of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, while authorities hunted the suspects Wednesday, shock and mourning spread across Paris and the rest of France, a country with an estimated 5 million Muslims. In September 2013, Inspire Magazine, put out by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, published a “wanted” poster naming nine people whom Muslims should kill given the chance; editor and cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier was among the nine.
Later in the same day brought already lots of people together in several cities in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

In case the killers wanted to scare the French they did not succeed. According to some, the whole purpose of the CIA-Mossad-NATO Operation Gladio was to scare the citizens of France and Europe.

France having a long, troubled relationship with its Arab immigrants and a more recent history of unrest among young native-born Muslims, was wiser than the killers and did not direct itself against the Muslim community. Several Muslims were not afraid to show their disgust already the same day as the terror attack had taken place. They too are, like the other French, Belgians and Dutch aware that the growing concern about young men and women returning to Europe after joining jihadist activity in the Middle East could be a serious reality were we should look at for the protection for those who prefer to live in the European society.

The Western society with its modern technology and internet had its weapon of the social media straight at hand. Already from the afternoon in several cities in France and Belgium people started to gather spontaneously at un-organised meetings.
As thousands of Parisians took to the streets in spontaneous and defiant demonstrations of unity, also at other places people took up placards with the text  “Je Suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) in reference to the magazine. In Brussels, Rotterdam and Amsterdam we could also could see some signs “I am Muslim – I am Charlie”. Lots of people held high a pen as a sign of the right to write and giving also the sign that in the west we do prefer to have the pen or pencil as our weapon, to say, to bring over and to convince others of our means and of our wants. After sunset candles were lighted and at the Place de la Republique, they crammed themselves up onto the monument in the middle of the square and chanted “Charlie! Liberty!” Candles, posters and signs covered the three statues representing Liberty, Equality and Fraternity — the bedrock of French values.

At the Place de La Républic, ´Legalité, Liberté et Fraternité -  Liberty, Equality and Fraternity charlie Hebdo cartoonists by Nono

At the Place de La Républic, ´Legalité, Liberté et Fraternité – Liberty, Equality and Fraternity charlie Hebdo cartoonists by Nono

The terrorists clearly had shot in our tummy, got deep in our heart, damaging (but not killing) our leg of unity and limbs of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, with the stronghold of freedom of expression and freedom of speech but also of the freedom of religion or freedom of belief and freedom of thought.

of the New Yorker wrote:

Western societies are not, even now, the paradise of skepticism and rationalism that they believe themselves to be. The West is a variegated space, in which both freedom of thought and tightly regulated speech exist, and in which disavowals of deadly violence happen at the same time as clandestine torture. But, at moments when Western societies consider themselves under attack, the discourse is quickly dominated by an ahistorical fantasy of long-suffering serenity and fortitude in the face of provocation.

According to my knowledge the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo has not only taken particular joy in flouting the Islamic ban on depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. It’s done more than that, including taking on political targets, as well as Christian and Jewish ones. Illustrations such as this have been cited as evidence of Charlie Hebdos willingness to offend everyone.

Charlie Hebdo mocked with many religious groups, nobody was saved for criticism

Charlie Hebdo mocked with many religious groups, nobody was saved for criticism

The New Yorker printed:

This week’s events took place against the backdrop of France’s ugly colonial history, its sizable Muslim population, and the suppression, in the name of secularism, of some Islamic cultural expressions, such as the hijab. Blacks have hardly had it easier in Charlie Hebdo: one of the magazine’s cartoons depicts the Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira, who is of Guianese origin, as a monkey (naturally, the defense is that a violently racist image was being used to satirize racism); another portrays Obama with the black-Sambo imagery familiar from Jim Crow-era illustrations. {Unmournable bodies}

Now we could notice that some who liked to undermine our society had tried to kill our freedom. We can only hope those jihadists shall not be able to assassinate our freedom. “La Liberté” is written to high on our ensign. This standard had to be taken high up in the air, showing those fundamentalists that in our regions everybody should have the right to express themselves the way they want, and should be allowed to let others know that they are against or for something, even when the majority may have other ideas. We do want to live in a society where people may express themselves freely, making it possible that some might be stamped against the shins. All people wanting to come to live in Europe should know that we only want to tolerate people who accept that everybody has the right to speak, dress and behave in reasons of decency in respect to the freedom of others of the community. In case persons did not like what the press prints they all have the freedom to react with their wits of the pen. No body would mind a counter-reaction. In Europe lots of Christians also have seen the same arrogance and the same insulting texts and cartoons they got from Charlie Hebdo as well as of Islamic magazines. In case we would have reacted on certain sayings or pictures certain Muslim magazines printed we would already have had a great intifada or religious war going on.

I liked very much the Kalashnikov opposite the many pencils cartoon and the widely shared illustration, by Lucille Clerc, of a broken pencil regenerating itself as two sharpened pencils. The Europeans may have been broken but we are able to continue to grow and to allow our voice been heard more often and stronger.

Reaction at the terror attack on the 2015 Charlie Hebdo - cartoon by Lucille Clerc

Reaction at the terror attack on the 2015 Charlie Hebdo – cartoon by Lucille Clerc

“It is possible to defend the right to obscene and racist speech without promoting or sponsoring the content of that speech.”

writes in the New Yorker and continues:

It is possible to approve of sacrilege without endorsing racism. And it is possible to consider Islamophobia immoral without wishing it illegal. Moments of grief neither rob us of our complexity nor absolve us of the responsibility of making distinctions.

When we look in the past:

The A.C.L.U. got it right in defending a neo-Nazi group that, in 1978, sought to march through Skokie, Illinois. The extreme offensiveness of the marchers, absent a particular threat of violence, was not and should not be illegal. But no sensible person takes a defense of those First Amendment rights as a defense of Nazi beliefs. The Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were not mere gadflies, not simple martyrs to the right to offend: they were ideologues. Just because one condemns their brutal murders doesn’t mean one must condone their ideology.

Everyone should be aware of the willingness of the weekly to offend everyone.

Contrary to what the New Yorker author writes the scale, intensity, and manner of the solidarity that we are seeing for the victims of the Paris killings, does not indicate how easy it is in Western societies to focus on radical Islamism as the real, or the only, enemy. I do not think and I am happy that the focus of all present at those meeting on the streets and television studios was not on Islam and in several cases even not on Muslim fundamentalism, but on freedom of Press.

Wednesday an attempt was made to murder the press. The people gathering had no attention at all, like the American journalist insinuates to keep us from paying proper attention to other, ongoing, instances of horrific carnage around the world:

abductions and killings in Mexico, hundreds of children (and more than a dozen journalists) killed in Gaza by Israel last year, internecine massacres in the Central African Republic, and so on. {Unmournable bodies}

He may think that

little of our grief is extended to the numerous Muslim victims of their attacks, whether in Yemen or Nigeria — in both of which there were deadly massacres this week — or in Saudi Arabia, where, among many violations of human rights, the punishment for journalists who “insult Islam” is flogging. We may not be able to attend to each outrage in every corner of the world, but we should at least pause to consider how it is that mainstream opinion so quickly decides that certain violent deaths are more meaningful, and more worthy of commemoration, than others. {Unmournable bodies}

In this instance it was the freedom of expression that was under attack. It was also that what secures that we get the news from all over the world in a free, nearly uncensored, not too much propagandised way, making us hearing it from both sides and not only from one involved group.

Olivier Jack Melnick writes:

This is not the first wake-up call that France has received but it would appear that tolerance, multiculturalism and political correctness keep pushing the snooze button over and over again. Today, France was tested regarding freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Will the country that championed satirical literature – taking it back all the way to the days of Marie-Antoinette – flex under pressure from the extremists? Hard to say quite yet, but if France doesn’t take a stand, today will be remembered as much more than the “Charlie Hebdo Massacre”, it will be remembered as the day that freedom died.

As many as 12 people were killed when alleged Islamists armed Kalashnikovs and a rocket-launcher opened fire in the offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Wednesday 7 January 2015 over the caricature of Prophet Mohammad. Cartoon: Manoj Kureel  is a Guest Contributor at Niti Central

As many as 12 people were killed when alleged Islamists armed Kalashnikovs and a rocket-launcher opened fire in the offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Wednesday 7 January 2015 over the caricature of Prophet Mohammad. Cartoon: Manoj Kureel is a Guest Contributor at Niti Central


Preceding articles:

ISIL will find no safe haven

to be continued with a.o.:

Being Charlie 3

Being Charlie 4

Being Charlie 5

Being Charlie 6

Where do we stand in the backdrop of Charlie Hebdo Massacre ?

Charlie Hebdo, offensive satire and why ‘Freedom of Speech’ needs more discussion


  1. Islamic Terrorist Attack on Charlie Hebdo Magazine Office in Paris kills 12 employees
  2. Charlie Hebdo carnage in Paris should be a wake-up call
  3. Confusion as French Hunt Magazine Attack Suspects
  4. Unmournable Bodies
  5. Mayor: Charlie Hebdo attackers dead
  6. France: Raids kill 3 suspects, including 2 wanted in Charlie Hebdo attack
  • Danish newspaper once targeted for Prophet Muhammad cartoons reacts to Paris attack (
    When Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten was targeted in 2005 for printing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, Charlie Hebdo reprinted them. Jyllands-Posten’s foreign editor and “The Tyranny of Silence” author Flemming Rose spoke to “CBS This Morning” by Skype to comment on the recent terror attack against Charlie Hebdo.
  • Why CBC News hasn’t shown Prophet Muhammad caricatures (
    In the wake of the deadly attack on the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo, many have asked why CBC News has not shown the caricatures of Prophet Muhammad that were published by the satirical newspaper.Andrew Nichols interviews David Studer, CBC’s director of journalistic standards and practices, about the decision not to show the images.​
  • Cleric admonishes Muslims to imbibe, practise Prophet Muhammad’s teachings (
    The Chief Imam of the National Mosque, Abuja, Sheikh Danmasaro Musa, has admonished Islamic faithful to imbibe and practise the teachings of Prophet Muhammad and his apostles.
    Musa gave the charge in a special sermon marking this year’s Maulud Nabiyyi in Abuja on Friday.
    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government declared Dec. 2 public holiday to commemorate the birth of Prophet Muhammad.
    He also enjoined parents to impart the true knowledge of Islam, particularly that of peace, love, care and respect, to their children.The cleric reminded the faithful that Prophet Muhammad preached peace, love, care, tolerance, as well as respect for elders and leaders in the society.
  • Mutharika urges Malawians to emulate Prophet Muhammed: Joins Ziyara Parade (
  • Zardari for following Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) teachings (
    “Today we rejoice on the birthday of Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and also pray for inner light to imbibe the spirit of his message and follow his teachings,” said the former president in a message on the occasion.
    “The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) brought a message of peace, love, compassion and humility. He preached tolerance and understanding exhorting also to fight injustice and oppression. His message transcends boundaries of geography, ages and climes and homage is paid to him everywhere and at all times. The need for imbibing these virtues universally is as great today as it was at any time before. Today we bow our heads in reverence to imbibe the true spirit of his teachings to illumine our path and transform our lives.
  • Sunni Endowment launches celebration on Prophet Muhammad birthday anniversary (
    The Sunni Endowment launched a celebration on the Prophet Muhammad Anniversary (PBUH) on Saturday.The celebration is attended by clergymen, key officials including the head of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council, Ammar al-Hakim, and the Speaker, Saleem al-Jobouri, as well as Minister of Electricity, Qasim al-Fahdawi.
  • Pictured: Thousands of Muslims gather in the streets of Mumbai in a colourful celebration of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (

    Muslims around the world are celebrating the Prophet’s birthday, which falls annually in the Rabi’ al-awwal month of the Hijri Islamic Calendar.

    Sunni Muslims mark the Prophet’s birthday on the 12th day of the Islamic month of Rabi’ al-awwal, which in 2015 falls on 2nd and 3rd of January, while Shi’a Muslims observe it on the 17th.

  • China media: Paris attack condemned (
    Papers in China condemn the attack on the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which killed 12 people, while raising questions over freedom of the press in the West.
  • Reflections on the Birthday of Prophet Muhammad! (
    On the other hand, an overwhelming number of those who do not believe in the sacredness of the Prophet’s mission do so, on account of the conduct of the believers! They are, figuratively speaking, judging the product by its salesmen, without even trying it! They have not made sufficient effort to come close…

About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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