On Charlie Hebdo, freedom of speech, terrorism, and the value of lives

Uprootedpalestinians's Blog

A screenshot of controversial French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo’s front cover of its October 22, 2014 issue. Al-Akhbar.

By: Yazan al-Saadi

Published Thursday, January 8, 2015

An attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a controversial French satirical magazine, and the mainstream discourse immediately rehashes the same concepts and talking points about the importance of safeguarding freedom of speech, battling an ill-defined notion of terrorism, and maintaining Western values. However, the essential issue of whose lives have value continues to be disregarded.

There are a few points that need to be addressed about the public discussions after the deaths of at least 12 people in Paris yesterday.

First, and most notable for me, I take issue with the argument made by some that Charlie Hebdo‘s staff are “heroic” because of their past publishing cartoons and articles that attack and mock Islam. While it is true they also have…

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