Ten journalists and two police officers were killed in a terrorist attack against the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7.
The attack, which was carried out by two gunman, was done due to the newspaper making editorial cartoons that mocked the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
The two terrorists were killed on January 9 when police stormed their hideout. Four hostages were killed.
As a journalist, and much more importantly, as a human being, violence against those who are utilizing their freedom of speech is one of the greatest injustices in the modern world. All human beings have a right to their opinions and beliefs, and to take the lives of those who have differing opinions is one of the few actions in the world that can truly be described as evil.
Despite these attacks, the people of the world have not remained silent. The slogan Je Suis Charlie, which translates to “I Am Charlie,” has gone viral over the internet as a sign of support for freedom of speech and freedom of expression. It was at one point the number one trending hashtag on Twitter, and is symbolic of people everywhere that this injustice will not be tolerated. There were marches in Paris and world leaders gathered for a moment of silence to show their support. Petitions have been raised for people to show their support as well, such as the one made by Reporters Without Borders here http://fr.rsf.org/petitions/charlie/petition.php?lang=en.
It may not be easy and there may be consequences from terrorists like these when people use their voice. However, the world becomes a stagnant, totalitarian cesspool of ignorance with no freedom otherwise.
Freedom of expression and freedom of speech cannot be taken away by extremists who would have everyone in the world believe in one ideology. People must continue to say what may be controversial. People must continue to make statements that may offend other people. And above all else, the people must continue to speak their own truths, because terrorists truly win once dissent is silenced.