A terrorist attack occurred in Paris yesterday, the 7th of January, causing the death of twelve persons. Three gunmen killed the prominent figures of the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, including cartoonists and editors. Eleven other persons were reported injured.
The social networking sites have greatly condemned this act, judged as pure barbarism, appalling cowardice and as a strong threat to one of our fundamental rights: our freedom of expression. The French president François Hollande has therefore announced the 8th of January as a national mourning day. Moreover, if the gunmen were identified, they have not been found yet; which creates a real manhunt.
Even though the sadness and cruelty of this event cannot be denied, it has created such a general wave of solidarity and compassion that it seems to have brought people together. As a matter of fact, it has gathered not only France but also many other countries such as Germany and the United States that stood up to denounce the assault. This is not commonplace in the current era of conflict.
Although the circumstances of that gathering are unfortunate, the mobilisation of so many different countries and thus cultures can be described as extraordinary, and will remain unforgettable.
The hashtag #jesuischarlie – I am Charlie – circulated all over Twitter, as well as Facebook (on profile pictures for example) stating the same motto. Every one seems to feel concerned by the devastating event, which is why it has created such impressive reactions, especially on the Internet.
Charlie has become the symbol of a struggle for a better world, embodying our inalienable freedom of expression.
The Eiffel Tower was even switched off tonight in tribute to the lives that were lost.
Today, in front of the Brighton Town Hall, a group of people, mainly French, also gathered to observe a one-minute silence to honour the victims and their families. Then, candles representing the name ‘Charlie’ were lit and a walk was taken to the Clock Tower where posters with the slogan “Je suis Charlie” were carried. Pencils were also proudly held as an emblem of our rights and of the French magazine.
However, the horror carries on. This morning, another shooting was reported in South Paris causing the death of a policeman. Even though the link with the Charlie Hebdo attack has not been highlighted, France seems to be in a chaotic situation.
We should never forget that unity is strength and that our rights cannot be affected by any means as long as we stick together.
‘You wanted to kill Charlie Hebdo, you just made it immortal.’
By Nina Toubale