#JeSuisCharlie: A Digest of Responses to the Killings at ‘Charlie Hebdo’

Here's what people are saying from Glenn Greenwald to the New York Times.

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A person holds a placard reading
The New York's upcoming cover offers this moving tribute to Paris's Charlie Hebdo magazine.
The New York's upcoming cover offers this moving tribute to Paris's Charlie Hebdo magazine.
From cartoonist David Pope's Twitter feed, in which he wrote, "Can't sleep tonight, thoughts with my French cartooning colleagues, their families and loved ones #CharlieHebdo." Thus far it has garnered roughly 42,000 rewteets.
Photo: David Pope.
An image from the rally in London from artnet News's own Coline Milliard.
Dutch political cartoonist Ruben L. Oppenheimer tweeted this image.
Taken at the rally in London's Trafalgar Square.
Photo: Coline Milliard.
New York Magazine has images from the rally in Paris.
Photo: Damien Meyer/Getty Images, courtesy New York Magazine.
Image from London's Trafalgar Square.
Photo: Julie Heyraud.
From the protest in Paris's Place de la Republique.
Photo: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images, courtesy of HuffPo.
Rob Tornoe, cartoonist for the Philadelphia Inquirer tweeted this image.
@MonaEltahawy, feminist writer/ public speaker on Arab & Muslim issues, global feminism.
@Hrag, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.
@_Charlie_Hebdo_. Official account for the French publication.
This was the tweet they posted an hour before the attack.
@LaruenzCollins, staff writer at the New Yorker.
Charlie Hebdo's October 2014 cover.
This widely circulated cartoon was created by Michael Shaw in 2006 and given further exposure by Robert Mankoff (the New Yorker's cartoon editor) in 2012.
@BrianmBendis, executive producer- Powers TV for PSN, co-creator of Marvel's Jessica Jones, writer-ultimate Spider-man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Powers, etc.
@BrianmBendis, executive producer- Powers TV for PSN, co-creator of Marvel's Jessica Jones, writer-ultimate Spider-man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Powers, etc.
@Jerrysaltz, senior art critic for New York magazine.
Charlie Hebdo's September 2012 cover.
@jacobwe, editor-in-chief of Slate Group.
@nycjim, executive editor & chief content officer of Mashable.

In light of the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in which 12 people were killed, a Paris-based publication that has previously been attacked for publishing satirical cartoons, we’ve gathered some reactions to the events from around the Internet. From Salman Rushdie and Glenn Greenwald to Margaret Sullivan and our own Coline Milliard (see “Why the Killing of Charlie Hebdo Cartoonists Will Make Art Stronger“) and Brian Boucher (see “Are Cartoons More Powerful than Art“), here are some further critical and artistic responses to the events from people and publications who are getting their thoughts out on social media. Above is a slideshow of some of our favorite responses thus far. This list of critical responses has been updated and is current.

If you thought this was a foreign problem, CNN gives us a story on Americans who have plotted to kill cartoonists poking fun at Islam offering a quote from one convert to Islam to another militant that the Fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini calling for the death of Salman Rushdie over the publication of his 1989 novel “Satanic Verses” “was a tremendous help in radicalizing Muslims.”

Cartoonist Joe Sacco has a nuanced response to the attacks at the Guardian.

The New Yorker offered a glimpse of their January 19 cover in “Solidarité” with the cartoonists. (See “The New Yorker‘s Eiffel Tower Cover Honors Charlie Hebdo“).

The Detroit Free Press looked at the frequency of violence against cartoonists.

Jerry Saltz writing for Vulture has a piece on the “lethal power of art.” “Killing for images,” he writes, “is as primitively rooted and as complex as killing those who believe in one real or fictional God and not another.”

New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan wrote a piece on the Times‘s decision not to publish the Charlie Hebdo covers speaking about Dean Baquet’s decision, she wrote, “Ultimately, he decided against it, he said, because he had to consider foremost the sensibilities of Times readers, especially its Muslim readers. To many of them, he said, depictions of the prophet Muhammad are sacrilegious; those that are meant to mock even more so.”

Journalist Glenn Greenwald has been sharing his views via Twitter on the issue of publishing the Charlie Hebdo covers. His most trenchant expression has been making the rounds: “When did it become true that to defend someone’s free speech rights, one has to publish & even embrace their ideas?”

The London Telegraph asks, “We think the Paris terrorists were offended by Charlie Hebdo’s satire. What if we’re wrong?” The writer, Michael Deacon, suggests that the predictable backlash against French Muslims will drive more recruitment for Al Qaeda, which, he says, claims the cartoons as a pretext for its attack.

At “Informed Comment,” Juan Cole similarly asserts that “Al Qaeda wants to mentally colonize French Muslims but faces a wall of disinterest. But if it can get non-Muslim French to be beastly to ethnic Muslims,” he argues, “it can start creating a common political identity around grievance against discrimination.”

Writer Jacob Canfield, at the blog Hooded Utilitarian, presents an extended argument that we should not all want to be Charlie, as the “Je suis Charlie” response would have it. The largely white editorial staff at Hebdo was “punching down,” he argues. Bullying a minority that is the subject of widespread discrimination isn’t equal to thumbing your nose at power, he says.

At the Feministing blog, Katherine Cross writes that debate should not die with the victims, calling some of Hebdo’s caricatures “inarguably racist” and expressing skepticism about making of the cartoonists “untouchable martyrs.”

In a similar vein, Arthur Goldhammer, writing for Aljazeera America, warns that we should not “sacralize” Charlie Hebdo. Printing the magazine’s confrontational cartoons, he writes, “is the precise opposite of what the living Charlie was about.”

Vox had a piece on why we shouldn’t believe the killings at Charlie Hebdo were about cartoons. “But this isn’t about Charlie Hebdo‘s cartoons, any more than a rape is about what the victim is wearing, or a murder is about where the victim was walking.”

Buzzfeed has its own compendium of “22 Heartbreaking Cartoons” in response to the shooting.

New York Magazine has a selection of tributes by cartoonists around the world to those killed in the attack , as well as a selection of images from the rally in Paris.

Slate has a story on self-censorship by news outlets involving cartoons that might have incited the Charlie Hebdo attack. It also has a piece explaining the publication’s most controversial covers.

The Independent has a round-up of “everything you need to know about the magazine that refuses to be censored.”

The New Yorker published a piece from 2012 on “What Charlie Hebdo does, and why terrorists use it as “a pretext to justify their violence.”

Gawker gives us cartoons that made Charlie Hebdothe most infamous paper in Europe.”

ARTFCITY issued a public letter to its readers in which it wrote, “Our job as media is to ask questions, seek out different points of view and to encourage discussion. The response to this work should never begin with an AK-47.”

Buzzfeed News provides info on everything you need to know about the gunmen.

ABC News links to an interview they did in 2012 with Stephane Charbonnier, the editor-in-chief of the magazine who went by the pen name “Charb,” in which he said “I prefer to die than live like a rat.”

Salman Rushdie issued a brief statement on the event in which he says, “I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must.”

The Daily Beast published the “16 Most Shocking Charlie Hebdo Covers.”

BBC remembers the four cartoonists who were killed.

Art critic Jerry Saltz said on Twitter “Even if I oversimplify: 12 shot & killed for publishing a pencil drawing. #Disgust.”

And many many others have posted messages with images and the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie in solidarity with the publication and its staff.


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