Yes, today I am a leftist.
Unidentified terrorists killed 12 people and injured seven in an assault on the Paris office of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo earlier today. Gunmen armed with assault rifles shouted "'we have avenged the prophet" and "Allahu akbar," or God is greatest, as they stormed the headquarters of the magazine that has in the past published irreverent cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed and the emir of the Islamic State.
Just before noon, two gunmen with Kalashnikovs exited a black car and forced an employee of the magazine to let them into the building in central Paris. Once inside, witnesses say that the assailants deliberately targeted journalists, killing the publication's editor and killing or wounding a number of cartoonists.
Two policemen were also killed in the attack, with video posted online showing the assailants wounding one officer and then executing him in the street as he raised his hands in submission. The attackers then entered a black getaway car and fled the scene before moving to a stolen car. The jihadists are still at large [but reportedly now identified].
What is Charlie Hebdo? The left-wing French magazine has a long history of causing controversy with its satirical material. (More here.)
Known as “Charb,” the slain chief editor Stephane Charbonie (above) “has long been a fierce defender of the magazine's right to publish material that some people might find offensive,” responding to death threats in 2012 after printing nude cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed:
Responses have been worldwide, some resolute.
And here, by contrast, was the Associated Press this morning:
Arguing for Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s principle of “spreading the risk,” The Spectator argued “All news outlets should publish cartoons of Mohammed simultaneously. But of course they won't.”
And today, as journalists around the world "bravely" voice support for
#CharlieHebdo, academic Will Antonin suggests folk ask them for their piece calling on their own universities and media to publish the Muhammad cartoons.
Yes, with rare exceptions …
Unfortunately, yes, it’s already about the appeasement of evil.
It’s a strange war indeed when cartoonists and satirists are in the front line.
A good time then to be reminded by Salman Rushdie that …
“Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism,
satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.”
- Salman Rushdie today
… and a very necessary time to raise the satirical flag high: