40 heads of state gathered in France after the Charlie Hebdo attack. Obama and the U.S. took a lot of heat for not attending, even tho it was later pointed out that the “photo op” took place on a heavily guarded empty street. The world leaders were NOT leading the rally by any stretch of the imagination.
It was pointed out that many of the rally “leaders” did not have stellar records when it came to journalists. Many had detained/imprisoned/assaulted and dare I say…killed….journalists. But they showed up in force to rally round Paris. Free press. Good press. Je Suis Hypocrite (I am hypocrite) indeed!
Obama was slammed from many quarters for not going, or sending a delegate or delegation. So it got me to thinking……did other countries come to a rally in the U.S. after 9/11? Or after the Boston Marathon Massacre? Which is more comparable, I think. I don’t recall a world wide rally of leaders coming. I could be wrong, I know that many world leaders paid their respects to us after 9/11 and condemned terrorism, and that France was first. In retrospect, I’m sure that Obama wishes he had gone, or sent a delegation. A Texas politician actually compared Obama to Hitler….to which he subsequently apologized for, of course.
Meanwhile, this was Charlie Hebdo’s new cover 2 days after the killings, which included 4 cartoonists.
With this cover, we wanted to show that at any given moment, we have the right to do anything, to redo anything, and to use our characters the way we want to. Mohammed has become a character, in spite of himself, a character in the news, because there are people who speak on his behalf. This is a cover aimed at intelligent people, who are much more numerous than you think, whether they’re atheists, Catholics, Muslims…
A Charlie Hebdo columnist, Zineb El Rhazoui, told the BBC that the staff didn’t want to show hatred towards the terrorists responsible for the massacre. She urged Muslims to accept the humor.
Well. I am not sure how I feel about all this. This was indeed a terrible tragedy. Many people compare it to our 9/11. I don’t think it is measurable in that way. I do think it shows that terrorism is everywhere. I do think it makes me afraid. Very afraid.
And while some may say that the magazine is very brave to continue their style of satire, I would think it’s like poking a bear.