Wednesday, January 7, 2015

We Are Charlie Hebdo

"100 lashes if you don't die of laughter!"
Terrorists killed at least 12 people, including policemen and cartoonists, at the offices of French satirical magazine newspaper Charlie Hebdo (loosely translated as "Charlie Weekly") this morning.

The cartoonists assassinated were Jean "Cabu" Cabut, Georges Wolinski, Bernad "Tignous" Verlhac, and editor Stéphane Charbonnier, who signed his cartoons "Charb."

In 2006, Charlie Hebdo had reprinted the caricatures of Mohammed that had appeared in the Dutch magazine Jyllands-Posten and added a few of their own. The cover at right was from a 2011 issue whose conceit was that Muslims had taken over the magazine that week. Islamic terrorists responded by fire bombing the offices. Charlie Hebdo responded in turn with a cover showing a stereotypical Moslem and one of their own cartoonists deep in a wet, sloppy kiss.

Charlie Hebdo was an equal opportunity offender, running scandalous cartoons about not only politicians and celebrities, but also the Catholic church, Jews, and Muslims which would never get past an editor in the United States. One cover showed a Nazi SS guard and an Orthodox Jew deep in yet another wet, sloppy kiss. Other cartoons have depicted the Pope having sex, with and without condoms, and various other lewd and scatological acts. Another depicted the Holy Trinity as a three-way. Charlie Hebdo is not so much Punch as it is Hustler with fewer photographs.

"Still no attack in France."
"Wait! We can send best wishes till
the end of January."
The magazine newspaper has been under guard by police due to the continued threats against it, but has refused to back down. Charb recently drew a poke in the eye of  the terrorists with the cartoon at right. (This must have been drawn before a series of attacks in December in Joue-les-Tours, Dijon and Nantes.)

Centuries ago, Christianity was mired in its Dark Ages while Islam was alive with intellectual activity, science and art -- and, yes, satire. After attacks from rural, anti-intellectual barbarians from East (and from the ascending West), Islam sunk into its own Dark Ages, which these terrorists hope to spread around the world.

Nous sommes tous Charlie Hebdo.

We are all Charlie Hebdo.

Update: The American Association of Editorial Cartoonists has issued its condemnation of the attack: "Cartoonists and journalists around the world should be permitted to express themselves freely without fear of reprisal. These types of attacks only serve to illustrate how important the free spirit of cartoon commentary is, and how cartoonists make a difference in helping to expose hypocrisy."

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