Paris Terror: Everything You Should Know About Charlie Hebdo Shooting
Cartoonist Last Drawing Joked About Absence Of Terror Attack
Today saw a horrific tragedy take place, we hoped that we would go into 2015 with new a newfound optimism putting last years events behind us. But today has been a stark reminder that we still live in a hateful and violent world. The shift into 2015 has meant nothing.
Ending 2014 with events like the Sydney Siege was a low, but the attack that took place this morning (7 Jan) has left the world speechless. Three armed men armed with shotguns and machine guns entered the offices of satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo and opened fire.
The assault left 12 dead, and around 10 severely wounded, reports indicate that at least 50 shots were fired. Four of Frances best-known satirical cartoonists were killed in the attack including the papers editor Stéphane ‘Charb’ Charbonnier, and cartoonist's Georges Wolinski, Jean ‘Cabu’ Cabut and Bernard 'Tignous' Verlhac. And two police officers.
Charbonnier was on Islamic extremist groups most wanted list for his cartoons, although no group has been identified or taken credit so far it is assumed that the attack is in relation to this. When the shooters left the scene in a black Citroën, eyewitnesses said one of the gunmen shouted "The Prophet is avenged." CCTV footage also captured the men shouting "Allahu Akbar."
It has made clear from the way the men operated that they had advanced military training. Frances AFP news agency have stated that the men may be armed with at least one rocket launcher as well, currently Paris has raised its terror alert to the highest level and a manhunt is underway to capture the men.
Cartoonist Corinne "Coco" Rey told the French newspaper L'Humanite that the attack lasted five minutes. She added that the attackers "spoke perfect French [and] claimed to be from al-Qaeda". But why would al-Quaeda go to such lengths to kill one man and the people who work at a satire paper?
The paper has a long history of controversy, targeting celebrities and political leaders alike in satirical cartoons and debates. They reached new levels of controversy when they published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. As a result their offices were firebombed in 2011 and Charbonnier has been under police protection ever since.
Charbonnier said in 2012: “Muhammad isn't sacred to me. I don't blame Muslims for not laughing at our drawings. I live under French law. I don't live under Quranic law.
The freedom of the press, is that a provocation? I'm not asking strict Muslims to read Charlie Hebdo, just like I wouldn't go to a mosque to listen to speeches that go against everything I believe."
Despite the nature of the cartoons this reaction is grossly out of proportion – and that is an understatement. These kind of attacks are things that you cannot understand as they are irrational hate crimes. Although there is a motive to be angry and the paper what happened today (Jan 7) was abhorrent.
Bismillah. 1 of Charlie Hebdo's cartoons inciting violence & terrorism -> "Quran is crap, it doesn't stop bullets" -> pic.twitter.com/nARKiBiJPP— Media Studies Center (@Censored31) January 7, 2015
Charlie Hebdo's editor-in-chief Gerard Biard was in London at the time of the attacks, he said; "I don't understand how people can attack a newspaper with heavy weapons. A newspaper is not a weapon of war."
The last part of that quote raises an interesting debate - that newspapers are not a weapon. Newspapers manipulate public discourse and make people accept war and violence. That acceptance is far more damaging.
Ian Hislop, Private Eye editor said; "I am appalled and shocked by this horrific attack - a murderous attack on free speech in the heart of Europe. I offer my condolences to the families and friends of those killed - the cartoonists, journalists and those who were trying to protect them. They paid a very high price for exercising their comic liberty. Very little seems funny today."
R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/LTWtIqIsue— Nayo Titzin (@Nayo_Titzin) January 7, 2015
Below is one of the last images that Stéphane ‘Charb’ Charbonnier drew, one last act of rebellion. The image was published this morning in the January issue. The translation is "Still no terrorist attack in France wait! We have till the end of January to give our wishes."
Tonight live at 8PM GMT on the Richie Allen show Ken O'Keefe will be on to chat about today's big story, the murders of 12 people in and around the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris today. Ken is a former US marine. He's a human rights activist and journalist who regularly contributes to RT and Press TV among others.
Dr Alex Scott-Samuel is a senior lecturer in public health at the University of Liverpool. He'll be on to chat about Britain's legacy of privatization, austerity and why the worst off in society continue to lose their homes and possessions, while the top 1% get richer and richer. Listen to it live at 8PM GMT by clicking HERE.