In an act of unspeakable horror, three gunman are at large in France after a brief deadly attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French magazine. The attackers shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack, and it’s believed to be part of a long running controversy over various depictions of the prophet Mohammed going back to the Jyllands–Posten Muhammad cartoons in 2007.
Slain in the attack were Charlie d editor/cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier, 47, Cabu, Tignous and Georges Wolinski, shown above. Two police officers and six other staffers were killed. The attack took place during an editorial meeting; cartoonists Luz and Cathering Meurisse were late to the meeting and unharmed according to this tweet from Dargaud’s Thomas Ragon. Charbonnier had been under police protection for years following earlier threats against his life by extremists, and the office was firebombed in 2011.
Just moments earlier, the Charlie Hebo twitter account had sent out the above image of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
Meilleurs vœux, au fait. pic.twitter.com/a2JOhqJZJM
— Charlie Hebdo (@Charlie_Hebdo_) January 7, 2015
The attack has been condemned by French president Francois Hollande, President Obama and other world leaders.
I’m told Cabu was a much-loved veteran political cartoonist. Charlie Hebdo—named Charlie for running Peanuts strips in its early days—was a satirical institution in France and the attack is simply devastating to the magazine and the cause of free speech.
The BBC has a thorough report on events; here’s ongoing coverage at the Guardian. Gawker has an account of Charlie Hebdo’s lengthy history of controversy going back to former French President Charles DeGaul. Comics Reporter is running a list of resources and news accounts.
Charlie Hebdo’s website was taken down earlier in the day but has replaced by the words “Je sui Charlie” which has become the hashtag #jesuischarlie to show solidarity for free speech and regard for human life.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.