The 9-11 of the Press; a Dark Day in Paris

Freedom of the press, ironically, is not free, and eight journalists, among others, paid the ultimate price Wednesday in what’s being touted everywhere as the “9-11 of the press.”  In the heart of Paris, two masked gunmen claiming to be Yemeni al Qaida burst into the headquarters of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and gunned down editor and lead cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier, who used the pen name Charb, along with his police bodyguard, three other celebrated cartoonists, a columnist and economist who wrote under the name “Oncle Bernard” a visitor and a janitor.  At the end of the bloodbath, 12 lay dead and 11 others wounded, four of them critically.

One police officer, first wounded outside the building and then shot in the head by the retreating gunmen as he lay helpless on the ground, was a Muslim.

Notorious for publishing cartoons that unapologetically poked fun at Islam and other religions as well as political figures, Charlie Hebdo and its staff were champions of free speech, even after their offices were firebombed in 2011.  Journalists and cartoonists the world over are taking up the fight in the aftermath of the brutal massacre, putting pen to paper and responding with outrage and defiance.  Here are some of my favorites:


My apologies for not getting all the publication credits in, but I think the cartoonists will understand.

It’s said that leaders of al Qaida, after the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center, echoed the sentiments of the Emperor of Japan post Pearl Harbor, that all they had done was awaken a sleeping giant.  You have no idea.

All over Europe last night people converged on city squares everywhere, to show solidarity with the slain cartoonists and journalists.  Carrying signs saying “I am Charlie” in French, they vowed to keep alive the stricken magazine, whose weekly print run of 60,000 copies is being bumped up to a cool million for next week’s issue.  Radio France, Le Monde and France Televisions are banding together to help the publication continue.

Charlie Hebdo killings Paris

Just one more cartoon, food for thought:


Okay, maybe just ONE more, and sorry for the profanity…

Steve Bell 08.01.15


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