It is difficult to remain silent or indifferent to the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Wednesday (January 7). As a veteran journalist, I add my condemnation to this act of violence and what it stands for.
The deadly attack on the magazine’s offices left 12 people dead and 11 injured. Among those killed is the magazine's editor, a caretaker and a visitor when masked men armed with assault rifles stormed the Charlie Hebdo offices during an editorial meeting. Two policemen were killed on the street outside as the gunmen made their escape by car.
Witnesses say the gunmen shouted "We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad" and "We killed Charlie Hebdo", as well as "God is Great" in Arabic.
While French police hunt for the attackers, France and indeed the world have united to mourn, decry and condemn such acts of cowardice and violence in the name of religion.
France will observe a minute’s silence at midday (3 pm UAE time) today, Thursday and the bells of Notre Dame in Paris will toll for the victims and all they stood for: freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom!
The victims are:
|Photo from the BBC|
- Charlie Hebdo editor and cartoonist Stephane "Charb" Charbonnier, 47, who had been living under police protection since receiving death threats.
- Cartoonists Jean "Cabu" Cabut, 76, Bernard "Tignous" Verlhac, 57, Georges Wolinski, 80, and Philippe Honore, 73
- Economist and regular magazine columnist Bernard Maris, 68, known to readers as Uncle Bernard
- Mustapha Ourrad, proof-reader
- lsa Cayat, psychoanalyst and columnist, the only woman killed
- Michel Renaud, who was visiting from the city of Clermont-Ferrand
- Frederic Boisseau, 42, caretaker, who was in the reception area at the time of the attack
- Police officers Franck Brinsolaro, who acted as Charb's bodyguard, and Ahmed Merabet, 42, who was shot dead while on the ground.
May they rest in peace and may their families and friends have courage to bear this tragedy. But the work of their pens will live on.
The pen is always stronger than the gun!