I think Voltaire rather sums up my thoughts on the cartoons which led to the attack on the satirical magazine in Paris yesterday. He said:I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it. This was an attack on free speech, the cornerstone of democracy and it was also an attack on the media. Charlie Hebdo has courted controversy. From publishing the Danish cartoons of Mohammad that sparked Middle East riots in 2005 to renaming an edition Sharia Hebdo and listing Islam’s prophet as its supposed editor-in-chief, the weekly has repeatedly caricatured Muslims and their beliefs. Some would say that in these dangerous times it would be better to stay clear of topics which could cause great offence to certain sections of the community. The fact that members of the magazine´s staff were already under police protection clearly showed that they were aware of the risks they were taking but believed that it was part of their work. The western world must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Paris and France in this difficult time. President Barack Obama said yesterday:“Time and again, the French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended. France, and the great city of Paris where this outrageous attack took place, offer the world a timeless example that will endure well beyond the hateful vision of these killers.” I think this rather sums up the thoughts of many following the attack.
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