Journalist At Hebdo HQ: ‘Death Is All Around Me…The Jihadists Spared Me’

Posted: Jan 07, 2015 2:15 PM
Journalist At Hebdo HQ: ‘Death Is All Around Me…The Jihadists Spared Me’

Kevin wrote earlier this morning about the horrific shooting at Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris. Hebdo is a satirical French magazine that published controversial cartoons lampooning Islam. The shooting left 12 people dead, most of them writers for the magazine. Two French police officers were also killed.

[Video shows the murder of a French police officer by the gunmen. WARNING: Extremely Graphic]

The gunmen entered the Hebdo offices around 11:30am, where they shouted “Allahu Akbar,” according to Paris prosecutor François Molins (via the Guardian):

The gunmen opened fire with Kalashnikovs, Molins said. He said they shouted “Allahu Akbar” and said “they were avenging the Prophet.” Separate video captured one gunman saying the same outside the building after the shooting.

The gunman fled in a black Citroen, killing at least one police officer in three exchanges of fire with police. They then carjacked a Clio near the péripherique and fled.

The bodies of those killed in the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices are being removed from the building now.

Five of those murdered have so far been named.

They are the magazine’s editor and cartoonist, Stéphane Charbonnier, known as Charb; Bernard Maris, an economist and writer on the board of Charlie Hebdo; and three more cartoonists: Jean Cabu, Georges Wolinski and Bernard Verlhac, known as Tignous.

Five other staff at the magazine are believed to be among the 12 dead.

The shooters also claimed to be members of al-Qaeda [bold text is Rey's words]:

Corinne Rey, a designer known as Coco, has told L’Humanité that she was forced to let the attackers into the Charlie Hebdo building. She said:

I had gone to pick up my daughter from daycare. Arriving at the door of the newspaper building, two hooded and armed men brutally threatened us.

They wanted to enter, go up. I typed the code. They shot Wolinski, Cabu ... it lasted five minutes ... I had taken refuge under a desk ...

They spoke French perfectly ... claiming to be al-Qaida.

Another journalist at the Hebdo office, who survived the attack, reportedly texted this to friend (via NYT):

One journalist at the Charlie Hebdo office, who asked that her name not be used, texted a friend after the shooting: “I’m alive. There is death all around me. Yes, I am there. The jihadists spared me.”

The attackers, who were masked, are still at large. The French government raised its terror alert to the highest level.

Guy and Katie also have updates and posts on this tragic and infuriating act of violence. Dan reported on Secretary of State John Kerry's reaction to the shooting saying, "Free expression and a free press are core values -- they are universal values -- principles that can be attacked but never eradicated because brave and decent people around the world will never give in to the intimidation, and the terror, that those seeking to destroy those values employ."

While the Western world has condemned the attack, Fareed Zakaria recently said on CNN that he’s waiting to hear the reaction from leaders in the Muslim world about this horrific shooting, hoping that they condemn it.

Yet, the Financial Times  condemned Hebdo for provoking Muslims with their content [emphasis mine]:

Charlie Hebdo has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling French Muslims. If the magazine stops just short of outright insults, it is nevertheless not the most convincing champion of the principle of freedom of speech. France is the land of Voltaire, but too often editorial foolishness has prevailed at Charlie Hebdo.

This is not in the slightest to condone the murderers, who must be caught and punished, or to suggest that freedom of expression should not extend to satirical portrayals of religion. It is merely to say that some common sense would be useful at publications such as Charlie Hebdo, and Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten, which purport to strike a blow for freedom when they provoke Muslims, but are actually just being stupid.

Regardless, French citizens are gathering at Place de la Republique, standing in solidarity for the ideals of a free press that seemingly came under attack at Charlie Hebdo HQ today.

Kevin ended his post with the words of the late Stéphane Charbonnier, and I shall do so again here:

“I don’t feel as though I’m killing someone with a pen. I’m not putting lives at risk. When activists need a pretext to justify their violence, they always find it.”