Charlie Hebdo

Manila Bulletin, January 18, 2015 | Go to article overview

Charlie Hebdo


There are two sides to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, France. First, let me be clear. Murder can never be justified. Especially when those killed are defenseless. This piece is therefore not a justification for killing editors and cartoonists at the satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo (pronounced Sharlee Ebdo by the French). The killers, two of them (with a third who served as a lookout), have been identified as Muslims. Al Qaeda has claimed it sent the murderers to do their heinous act. Both gunmen, in their 30s, were themselves killed, while the third, a younger man, surrendered. Charlie Hebdo is a provocative weekly that, with its cartoons, ridicules personalities in politics, society in general, and, most particularly, in religion. It was the magazines persistent mockery of the prophet Mohammed that angered the killers of the magazines 10 editors and staff. Its also this ridiculing of Muslims and their religious beliefs and practices that has irked many Muslims around the world. The journalism trade around the world, as well as global personalities, have condemned the massacre. Ordinary French citizens have taken up the slogan Je suis Charlie (I am Charlie) as their rallying cry against the perpetrators and sympathizers of the kind of extremism committed by the killers in Paris. (Charlie Hebdo, which means Charlie Weekly, is named after the character Charlie Brown in the US comic-strip Peanuts.) This kind of savage killings is unjustifiable and unacceptable. Its abominable and condemnable. But theres a different perspective. The kinds of violent actions perpetrated over the recent past like the September 11, 2001, airplane crashings into New Yorks World Trade Center, the killing of the American ambassador in Libya, and several other attacks on Western targets dont take place in a void. Many of these actions have gained impetus among people who consider themselves as minorities whove suffered from oppression by the colonizing powers in the past. …

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