In early January, we watched as terrorist attacks plagued The fashion capitol of the world Paris, France. In retaliation of the Charlie Hebdo cartoon character portrayals of religious icons of Islam, & ISIS! This resulted not only in Charlie Hebdos employeed cartoonist to be killed, but a total of 12 in all to loose their lives. Days later a second terrorist attack resulting in 4 hostages killed in a kosher grocery store lead many to believe this was the start of jihad! Over 150,000 troops and special trained police have been dispatched about the city of Paris in order to protect its national monuments, and popular tourist attractions.
I happened to be in Paris during this tragic turn of events, and though American news broadcasters scrambled to find up to date information, filling the American airwaves with fear of a possible terrorist attack on the US citizens traveling abroad, and or on actual US soil. It was clear to me that there was an entirely different story unfolding in France. What the general population in American did not know was that this was a very targeted attack aimed soley at the cartoonist of Charlie Hebdo! Who was in fact a famed figure within the french culture. known as a childrens cartoonist for most of his career, before becoming a cartoonist for Charlie Hebdo! His harsh, callous, and even racially motivated depictions of many social, religious and political figures gained wide spread popularity in french culture, viewed as ” freedom of speech”. Though many of those targeted by this cartoonist chose not to acknowledge his characters, The Islamic culture and ISIS were not so amused. Since 2011 they warned the cartoonist to stop his offensive depictions of Mohammad, and other figures within Islamic religion.
The Islamic culture make up over 10% of the population in Paris! Many of their cultural habits and lifestyle have been the target of scrutiny within the french culture for years, resulting in widespread discrimination, unemployment, and racism. The Charlie Hebdo cartoonist refused to heed their warnings, continuing in his depictions… which caused Islamic extremist to view his continuation as, “going to far”, resulting in their needless, tragic and untimely deaths. So what was the true root of this past January’s terrorist attacks in Paris? A warning to all that Islamic extremist are very serious about their beliefs? Well we’ve seen that in recent stories of ISIS beheading journalist of all nationalities, including the latest beheading of japanese jostage Kenji Goto, and now the caged burning death of a jordanian pilot! Is it possible instead that January’s attacks have a more deep rooted meaning behind them… one that is the result of years of a race of people, and a culture held down by ignorance, and the blind eyes of racism, all in the name of, ” freedom of speech”?
We certainly witnessed a taste of it as the French made clear they were not cowering down by coming back with the very popular sign and symbol for freedom, “JE SUIS CHARLIE”! Following up also with a very clear cut message to the world with their first edition since the attacks being a depiction of Mohammad carrying a,”JE SUIS CHARLIE” sign and words stating that all had been forgiven over his head. The act was hailed globally as courage in the face of terror, and praised. However, I leave you with this… though it is undeniably a terrible tragedy for all the lives that were lost, and that any violence is never the solution… is it possible that maybe what we have actually witnessed was an equally defiant retaliation back at the defiant?