“We feel at the Charlie Hebdo team that we need to forgive”
By Terry Miller
While the global newsroom and its collective community, condemns the murders of the French journalists, editor and cartoonists of the popular satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo as well as the murder of two French policemen- newsmen and women worldwide vow to continue the ever-present struggle for a free press, proving that indeed the pen is mightier than the sword.
Tribute cartoons to the journalists at Charlie Hebdo compare pencils with guns, writers with fighters – it’s also why many demonstrators are holding pens and pencils in the air. Many of the cartoons assert that “the pen is mightier than the sword”.
The English words “The pen is mightier than the sword” were first written by novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839, in his historical play Cardinal Richelieu.
Richelieu, chief minister to King Louis XIII, discovers a plot to kill him, but as a priest he is unable to take up arms against his enemy.
Acts of violence directed at journalists are sadly not new but they appear more targeted now.
Visual Artists Guild of New York said “The right of the freedom of speech and expression is the life blood not only of artists, it is the very foundation of a civil society. Indeed, the very survival of individuals depends on having the freedom of information and the freedom of the press.
Visual Artists Guild stands in solidarity with the staffs of Charlie Hebdo, the people of France and all journalists around the world.”
While the world watched in horror of the senseless killings, other observers were perhaps more
Realistic such as a Russian colleague, Sergie Strhad who had this to say when I asked his thoughts on Paris:
“As for French attacks, well, of course, they are condemned in Russia, which has its own record of waging its own war on terror.
“However, I believe the reaction is not that strong and unequivocal, it would be exaggeration to call it mass outrage, voiced by authorities and ordinary folks .
“Sorry to say that, the reaction is quite muted. Sleepy Moscow is still in the grip of two-week New year booze with heavy snowfall paralyzing traffic this weekend and making people to think first of all of what is going on at their doorstep, not in Paris – a place from some other distant reality. Gloomy Russia under its mildly sinful winter sky is mostly preoccupied with its own full plate of problems, like devaluation of ruble, threats of recession and war in Ukraine and growingly suffocating Western sanctions.
“The other reason is information and propaganda war with the West, with its own logic, its own inertia and rules of the game. When something bad is happening to your opponent, if not enemy, well, this is not something that will make you totally devastated, don’t you think?
“And don’t forget endless war of words on double standards in the war on terror, which Russia is waging with the West from the times of wars in once breakaway Chechnya. So, today some would not lose the chance to lecture the West one more time: look, guys, from that mess you have only to blame yourselves, your government, your irresponsible media, your rotten values on multiculturalism. Thanks God, we have responsible media that will never publish cartoons and finally – our most valuable asset – President Putin, the most influential leader in the world!
“By the way, Putin, who made his presidency on the war on terror refrained from going to Paris this Sunday, sending his foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. Telling detail, isn’t it?”
A colleague, Philippe Tual from Paris, Normandie in Rouen in France offered this poem post the Paris attacks:
I don’t know when or who
This chaos won’t stop
When who where
I feel sad and lonely
I don’t feel
It ‘s just a little bit too late
The dominical demonstration
Will see politicals
I prefer people
But elections are coming soon
It’s a joke
This day gonna view
Guns all over the planet
I ‘m not
Who never buy a paper
Or never read it
I just want to do my job
And talk to you
I write the book
An unprecedented press run of 3 million of copies of Charlie Hebdo was published Wednesday in Paris- in honor of the murdered colleagues. The cover depicts Prophet Muhammad.
A record 3 million copies will be printed, in 16 languages, after the massacre triggered a worldwide debate on free speech and brought more than 4 million people on to the streets of France.
The eight-page edition went to the presses on Monday night, according to Libération, the newspaper that offered Charlie Hebdo staff temporary working space following the attack.
The cover cartoon was drawn by the weekly’s cartoonist Luz, who survived the massacre because he allegedly overslept.
According to The Guardian of London, The prophet has been a frequent target of Charlie Hebdo, whose editor, Stéphane Charbonnier, was undeterred by death threats for depicting his visual image in a manner certain to offend many Muslims. Devout Muslims regard any depictions of Muhammad, or other prophets including Moses or Abraham, as heresy. Asked to explain the magazine’s front cover, which features a cartoon of a crying Muhammad holding a “Je suis Charlie” sign under the heading Tout est Pardonne “All is forgiven”, Rhazoui said: “We feel that we have to forgive what happened. I think those who have been killed, if they would have been able to have a coffee today with the terrorists and just talk to ask them why have they done this … We feel at the Charlie Hebdo team that we need to forgive.”