There is no worse punishment for greedy tyrants than being ridiculed, their power reduced to a drop of spit in the laughter of the masses.
Since I’m a French, after what you’ve done I couldn’t help being a little annoyed (read: boiling), so here’s, from me to you, a little debriefing:
Since you obviously lack of contextual knowledge, I’d like, for starters, to remind you that freedom of the press is a big thing in many countries, and a huge thing in France since 1881.
Freedom of the press, in case you forgot, isn’t about trespassing into celebs’ recycle bins to know what kind of condoms they use. It’s about being able to share ideas and opinions, trigger debates and expose problems, without fear of illegal retributions.
See, in France we have laws against fostering racial hatred and civil unrest. And it’s never been a problem for the press since, unlike you guys, they know what they are doing.
French journalists don’t just write while thinking “let’s see if it tickles”, they address real world issues. They are so important to our culture and values that some of them have their names taught in public schools. That is to say: to us, some of these dudes are goddamn heroes.
And then there’s publications like Charlie Hebdo, which mix cartoons and satire, and are part of a tradition which started more than a century ago. Cartoons are so important in France, that it’s the second biggest market for Manga. Yes, we have to look for import when we’re done reading ALL the local stuff.
Cartoonists, just like journalists, have a place of choice in French culture. They aren’t seen as people who make nice drawings, they are influencial, intellectual people literally everybody grew up with. Another brand of goddamn heroes.
Now, just so you understand what you’ve stepped into, you also have to know that the French are very playful people, and by that I mean that they take playing very seriously. This is why we love making fun of, well, pretty much everything, we use it in politics, marketing, it’s been this way since before we knew about soap and yes we’ve even made movies about it.
So, let me sum it up for you: You barge in and shooting people everyone loves, who are a literal part of our national identity, and whose job is to fearlessly ridicule stupidity on a daily basis. And you think you’ll achieve some kind of prestige. Brilliant.
It doesn’t work like that. France won’t be silenced, especially now you’ve made everyone angry.
You guys will never see the end of it. There’s going to be more pictures, more cartoons, more satire. It’s starting now, and it’s being relayed worldwide. Your prestige: being known all over the planet as the fools you are.
And this, fellows, is the one proof that things won’t work your way. Freedom is about ideas, expressing them, following them, debating them, picturing them, criticizing them. In this idea space, there’s no place for guns, and I’m sure you’ll realize that soon enough.
In the end, my hopes are that the various French community unite behind this idea of freedom and stop clashing for a while, because here’s a great occasion to point and laugh at you, together.
PS: Since you guys are obviously not religious, I won’t mention religion.
PPS: So far, I’ve seen too many reactions to this post and other material turning this issue in to a religious flame war. Get a grip. The shooters are a special variety of sociopath, the kind who lingers in night clubs waiting for a pretext for an angry fight, like someone looking at them funny, or not looking at them, or having the wrong kind of face, or having a face. These ones happen to have guns, and they happen to have found a pretext. What religion they hide behind is marginally less relevant than their dog’s astrological sign.
PPPS: Terrorism feeds on fear and discord. The more communities argue over who’s to blame, the more they open breaches for terror to seep in. In other words: from the moment you start hating, they win. Don’t let them win.