by JOANNA ZEGARRA
Charlie Hebdo is a French satirical magazine that is no stranger to controversy. But very recently, a supposedly offensive depiction of the Muslim prophet Muhammad in a cartoon, has offended readers enough to incite violence and tragedy. On Wednesday, January seventh, there was a massacre on the office of the magazine in Paris. Twelve members of the staff were shot and killed by Muslim extremists. On Friday the ninth, the men responsible for the attack were found and killed by authorities.
On Wednesday, French President Francois Hollande released this statement: “France is today facing a shock, the shock of a terror attack, because this is a terrorist attack without a doubt, against a publication that was threatened several times and that was protected. In these moments we have to form a block to show we are a united country. We know how to react appropriately, with firmness, but always with the concern for national unity.”
The citizens of Paris and journalists and publishesr alike are reacting in shock over the violence, but also standing their ground in their right to their freedom of press.
Journalist Laurent Leger defends the magazine he writes for, saying they don’t publish anything to provoke offense of anger. “The aim is to laugh,” Leger says. “We want to laugh at the extremists-every extremist. They can be Muslim, Jewish, Catholic. Everyone can be religious, but extremist thoughts and acts we cannot accept.”
The action they plan to take is to be mindful of the potential dangers of satire, but not to stop doing what they do.
“In France, we always have the right to write and draw. And if some people are not happy with this, they can sue us and we can defend ourselves. That’s democracy,” Leger said. “You don’t throw bombs, you discuss, you debate. But you don’t act violently. We have to stand and resist pressure from extremism.”