For those unable to follow all the events as they happen, the Telegraph has a good live blog, which the paper started just after the Charlie Hebdo attack took place on Wednesday, January 7, 2015.

This is the list of those who were murdered in cold blood by a religious terrorist or two with a Kalishnikov (12:35 p.m., Thursday, January 8):

• Charb – (real name Stéphane Charbonnier) 47, an artist and publisher of Charlie Hebdo

• Cabu – (real name Jean Cabut) 76, the lead cartoonist for Charlie Hebdo

• Georges Wolinski – 80, an artist who had been drawing cartoons since the 1960s

• Tignous – (real name Bernard Verlhac) 57, a member of Cartoonists for Peace

• Bernard Maris – (known as “Uncle Bernard”) 68, an economist and columnist for the magazine

• Honoré – (real name Philippe Honoré) 73, the artist who drew the last cartoon tweeted by the weekly publication

• Michel Renaud – a former journalist who was visiting the Charlie Hebdo offices

• Mustapha Ourrad – a copy-editor for Charlie Hebdo

• Elsa Cayat – a columnist and analyst for Charlie Hebdo

• Frederic Boisseau – a building maintenance worker

• Franck Brinsolaro – 49, a policeman appointed to head security for Charb

• Ahmed Merabet – 42, a police officer and member of the 11th arrondissement brigade

Taken together, one letter of everyone’s name spells out that of the magazine. Michèle Laroque came up with this creation (16:45, Thursday):

Franck Brinsolaro’s brother, Philippe — also a policeman — said (12:50, Thursday):

The whole of France must rise up.

What needs to be said is that faced with the horror that struck our country yesterday, the whole of France must rise up against it. One cannot attack the freedom of expression in this way, attack the authority of the State.

Charlie Hebdo is a magazine which Christians would not purchase. Most of the cartoons are over the top for true believers. The magazine was first published in 1970, when the spirit of 1968’s student demonstrations in Paris — socio-political, anti-faith and somewhat anarchistic — was still very much alive and well. That said, the magazine pokes fun at everyone and everything in the news.

The publication made fun of extreme Islam in 2006, 2011 and 2012. Their offices were firebombed in 2011. Charb received police protection after that time. Regardless, he was not intimidated and spoke — or is that penned? — his mind. He encouraged his contributors to be bold and controversial. They had points to make, principles to uphold. Charb’s philosophy was encapsulated in a saying attributed to Winston Churchill and others during the Second World War (16:23, Thursday):

Despite the praise most of the media are giving Charlie Hebdo, none of them dares to reproduce the most controversial of cartoons, an act which could cause someone else’s death at the hands of terrorists.

A journalist writing for the Financial Times initially accused the magazine of editorial irresponsibility. When readers complained via Twitter, the article was edited to reflect a tone more in keeping with the brutal murders of five of the most gutsy magazine people the world has ever seen. Regardless of whether we agree with them, we might not see their likes again.

In a similar vein, The New York Times has declined to reprint what Charlie Hebdo cartoonists gave their lives for:

The New York Times has chosen not to reprint examples of the magazine’s most controversial work because of its intentionally offensive content.

Strangely prescient, this cartoon by Charb appeared in the edition published the day he was gunned down, Wednesday, January 7, 2015. In English, the words are:


‘Wait! We have until the end of January to extend our wishes [for the New Year].’


Yet, in that same issue, the magazine made fun of controversial French author Michel Houllebecq, whose latest book, Submission, landed on bookshop shelves on January 6. Houllebecq’s futuristic novel predicts an Islamic government in France in 2022 with a French centrist prime minister, François Bayrou. Bayrou is a real-life centrist politician. Charlie Hebdo‘s cover features a caricature of Houllebecq saying:

In 2075, I’ll lose my teeth. In 2022, I’ll observe Ramadan.

Trust me, you don’t want to see the rest of the cover, which has a smaller, explicit picture of the birth of our Lord.

This is what I mean about Charlie Hebdo. Those who are offended by it just shouldn’t look at it. There is no reason to murder the magazine’s staff over it.

As I mentioned on Wednesday, Charb had police protection after Charlie Hebdo‘s old offices were firebombed in 2011 after they published a cartoon which offended extreme Muslims. What happened recently to cause a gap in security resulting in his death?

Le Monde asked the police on January 8. The police department of Paris told the paper that in August 2014, they agreed with Charb and the editorial board that the threat of attack appeared to have diminished. As a result, they kept in frequent touch with Charb by phone.

No one felt threatened, except in October 2014, however, that uneasiness passed and life went on.

Until January 7, 2015.

What will happen next? I do not think anything significant will happen, other than that the assassins — an ancient Arabic word, by the way — will be found. Hand-wringers will plead for ‘tolerance’ and encourage other Europeans not to ‘stigmatise others’ (because, by definition, we’re all racist or faithist [irony alert]) . The French female panellist on RMC’s morning talk programme, Les Grandes Gueules, asked for both and was, happily, met with stony silence by the male hosts and their fellow panellists, all equally leftist but conscious of the fact that the more conservative callers would ring in with considered comments.

As a few of the comments responding to Le Monde‘s reporting on the Financial Times‘s initial reaction said (paraphrased), ‘We’re already censoring ourselves in a variety of ways. Sometimes the media censor us. Other times, the law prohibits us. What more can we do? Pretty soon, we won’t be able to say anything.’

Here in the UK, we have the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006. It may well prohibit some of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons being shown in full here, even to illustrate a principle of free speech.

In closing, as I said on Wednesday, this attack could indicate a mental disorder of sorts on the part of the assassins, just as in other terrorist attacks of this kind. Malek Chabel, a Muslim anthropologist, psychoanalyst and author spoke to RMC’s Eric Brunet on the afternoon of January 8. He said these extremists were likely to be just as dysfunctional as fanatical; the dysfunctionality might have enabled the fanaticism. You can read more of what Chabel — and other French Muslims — had to say on my post for Orphans of Liberty.

In closing, my sincere condolences go to family and friends of the police officer slain on the morning of January 8 in Montrouge, south of Paris. That lady, trying to help the occupants of two cars involved in an automobile collision, was Clarissa Jean-Philippe (17:00, Thursday):

The 27-year-old died when she was was on patrol as a municipal police officer in the suburb of Montrouge – a middle class area in the south of Paris.

Originally from Martinique, she was shot in the head by the attacker who then escaped.

She died on the scene.