The world watched the manhunt through Paris last week in horror, with terrorists killing 17 people in total following the murderous raid at the Charlie Hebdo head office. The satirical magazine had previously been threatened for its crude caricatures depicting the Islamic Prophet Muhammad but no one could guess the extremes to which the jihadist movement would go this time to carry across its fanatical message.
The international response has been overwhelming, with “Je suis Charlie” becoming the slogan of the free world determined to stand by those killed and defend freedom of speech and expression no matter what the consequences.
With the exception of CBC News and some other major media outlets. In a video statement aired on January 7th, Neil Macdonald explained CBC would not be reprinting the Muhammad caricatures, not because they were tasteless and demeaning (which many agree they are), but because, he concedes, “thugs and killers” are able to “bully” his profession and the “potential offence of showing them trump their news value.” This coming from a media outlet known for its satirical shows like Rick Mercer Report and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Perhaps the thought of gunmen storming CBC headquarters was a little too real after Parliament Hill was attacked in October. Regardless, many Canadians are not impressed. Let’s not forget the police officer shot in the head by one of the gunmen outside the Charlie Hebdo offices. Ahmed Merabet was a police officer and a Muslim. This tweet from writer and activist Dyab Abou Jahjah began a different slogan, one even more profound that captures the essence of the debate: “I am not Charlie, I am Ahmed the dead cop. Charlie ridiculed my faith and culture and I died defending his right to do so. #JesuisAhmed.”