Satire is the use of humor to make fun of someone, ideas, or beliefs, and is a protected form of speech in free countries like France and the United States of America. It is a kind of humor that is often used by political commentators to show how the other side is wrong, and has a long history in American politics. It was used by American founding father Benjamin Franklin to show how King George III and Great Britain were wrong. Charlie Chaplin used satire to show how dangerous the German chancellor Adolf Hitler was, right before Hitler caused World War II. Charlie Hebdo used satire to make fun of all religious groups, including Catholics, Jews, and Muslims, and to make fun of politics, especially in France.
Journalists of Charlie Hebdo have published cartoons ridiculing Islam and have been the target of Islamic terror for many years. In 2005, Charlie Hebdo republished Danish cartoons ridiculing Islam and Mohammed. In response to the cartoons, Muslims rioted throughout the world, killing 50. In 2011, Islamic terrorists firebombed the offices of Charlie Hebdo, after its journalists released a cartoon ridiculing Mohammed and Islam (It is against the rules of Islam to depict the image of Mohammed). In response to threats to his life, Charlie Hebdo editor, Stephane Charbonnier had stated, “I’d rather die standing up than live on my knees.” Mr. Charbonnier was one of the men killed by terrorists in the attack on the magazine.
In response to the attack, the French government mobilized over 90,000 soldiers and policemen and conducted a manhunt, aiming to hunt down the attackers. One of the three who is believed to have attacked the magazine is reported to have turned himself in, although it is still unclear if he was involved. The other two attackers took over a printing press north of Paris and were killed by French authorities. French stormed the deli, as well, killing the Muslim terrorist, but unfortunately, four more innocents were murdered.
Over this past weekend, January 9th through the 12th, world leaders joined millions of French to march in Paris and throughout France in the name of liberty and defiance against the Islamic terrorists. Leaders have proclaimed outrage against Islamic terrorism. Among the marchers were heads of state of France, German, Great Britain, Israel, Russia’s foreign minister, and leaders from at least 35 other countries. The Obama administration, however, did not send a high ranking official from the U.S.A. Instead, it sent the ambassador to France. The Obama administration has also not called the attackers Muslim terrorists. It is unclear why the U.S.A. stands alone in not naming the attackers Muslim terrorists.
Below is an image of a cartoon that enraged the Islamic terrorists. They were angry because in the religion of Islam, Muhammad should not be depicted in picture. Also, this cartoon pokes fun at the terrorists. In the cartoon, Muhammad is being executed by an Islamic terrorist. Muhammad says, “I am the Prophet, you fool!” The terrorist proclaims, “Shut up, you infidel!” What do you think the cartoonist is saying?
1. What is Charlie Hebdo?
2. What happened against journalists at Charlie Hebdo?
3. What happened at a Jewish deli in Paris?
4. What did world leaders do to condemn the Islamic terrorists?
5. What did President Obama not do that leaders from 40 other countries did in France?