The past few days in Paris have been filled with fear as the people mourned the death of their dear ones killed in the terrorist targeting of the Paris offices of satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Two masked gunmen, who were later identified as brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, attacked the magazine’s office and shouted “we have avenged the Prophet Muhammad” after the shootings. They were killed by the French security services after a stand-off north of Paris. Around 12 people were killed in the massacre consisting of five of Charlie Hebdo’s top cartoonists, including the Editor. Around 10, 000 troops have been deployed across France after the attacks with huge demonstrations in Paris. Even as the magazine has been critisised for the highly offensive cartoons of the prophet, the world denounced the attacks with thousands expressing solidarity with the victims. Attempts are also being made to lay the blames on the religion of love, peace and equality.
But the scenario is getting worse day by day. The magazine has planned to retaliate with a ‘counter attack’. Survivors of the massacre have been working on this week’s issue from the offices of another French newspaper, Liberation, and the new edition reportedly will be created “only by people from Charlie Hebdo”. This week’s edition of the satirical magazine will carry a cartoon depicting the prophet on its cover, holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign and above it are the words “All is forgiven”. Three million copies of the special edition are being printed to be released in 25 countries in 16 languages due to the ‘increased demand’. Only 60, 000 copies are printed normally.
It is not the first time the 44 year old magazine is attracting the fury of the Muslims worldwide. The circulation rates were low with magazine finding it difficult to sell even half of the usual 60, 000 copies. They found a way to improve the rates by creating caricatures of the prophet that would attract attention of the devout Muslims who believe it forbidden to portray the prophet in any kind of way. In 2006, the magazine republished the Danish cartoon lampooning the prophet after which they received death threats. It also triggered violent clashes in some countries. Despite the warnings they continued their run. In 2011, another cartoon of the prophet was published and the offices of the weekly were firebombed.
In what the media termed as the largest rally in the history of France, one million people demonstrated expressing their solidarity with Charlie Hebdo raising their voice for the freedom of expression. The magazine fearlessly carries out the retaliatory attacks and executes journalism that is despicable with the backing of such people. The “exclusive” cartoon depicting an old man with a beard and a turban were carried by “Washington Post” and “The Guardian” alike and is a plain endorsement of the Charlie Hebdo’s attempts. The magazine has vowed to uphold its tradition of ridiculing religions, politicians, celebrities, news events and also Islamic extremists. The cartoons have often been provocative and irreverent deliberately triggering the madness of the extremists. Pictorial assaults for lambasting people and their ideologies and assaulting with a sword are one and same thing. There should be an end to both.