Saturday 24 June 2017

Lessons of free speech 'Charlie Hebdo' taught us have been forgotten already

Copies of the latest edition of French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo with the title
Copies of the latest edition of French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo with the title "One year on, The assassin still on the run" are seen at a printing house near Paris. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

As the special anniversary issue of 'Charlie Hebdo' hits the stands today, its publication marks a year of carnage which started on the morning of January 7.

Then, to the shock and brief horror of the watching world, Islamic terrorists calmly murdered 12 people in Paris for the crime of offending their religion before moving on to a kosher deli to murder a further five people for the crime of being Jewish.

Shocking it undoubtedly was, but it wasn't entirely surprising. After all, the staff at that once obscure publication weren't the only European journalists to operate under an explicit threat of death from terrorists. But the sheer brazenness of the attack, much of it captured on camera, ensured that it was an ominous start to the new year. As we now know, it was only the first assault in a wave of attacks in the last 12 months which included the slaughter of tourists in Tunisia, a downed Russian passenger jet in Egypt, the San Bernardino mass shootings and, of course, what is now known simply as the 'Bataclan massacre', when Paris was once more targeted in an operation which left more than 130 innocent gig-goers and Friday night revellers dead.

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