Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Art Under Fire - The Charlie Hebdo Assault.

I awoke to the news this morning that artists and creators were under attack... in a very real way.

Charlie Hebdo is a weekly satirical newspaper published in Paris, France. It is globally known for its cartoons and humorous articles which poke fun at the absurdity of religion, ultra-conservatism, politics and ideological extremists. Within the art and comic world, Charlie Hebdo is well respected for their integrity and sense of fairness in criticism. In the past, members of their staff have been attacked by Islamic militants over their cartoons and articles which have depicted various Muslim subjects, including but not limited to their prophet Muhammad. In a 2011 incident, their office building was even firebombed and totally destroyed.

Two of the three gunmen just moments before they murdered a wounded policeman outside the Charlie Hebdo offices. Taken from public security camera footage captured live during the assault.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck their organization again this morning. Twelve French citizens were left dead, of which ten were Charlie Hebdo staff members. Two police officers standing guard outside the building were also slaughtered in cold blood. Another eleven individuals were injured. Eye-witness reports state that the three gunmen whom facilitated the attack were shouting "Allahu Akbar" in Arabic, but also spoke French and said they were "avenging their prophet". As they stormed the offices and took control of the staff, eye-witnesses inside the building provided further gruesome details. Apparently, the gunmen had a specific hit-list of individuals they wanted to eliminate. The barbarians called them out by name one at a time to deliver their wrath. Five of the ten staffers assassinated were artists.

The attackers were swift in their actions. They were masked and carried Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles. As they left the scene of the crime, they exchanged further gunfire with the local police before hi-jacking a new vehicle and fleeing north from the city of Paris. As of this writing, the gunmen have not been apprehended. I will update this article as news develops.

Myself and all artists around the globe take this attack on personal expression and artistic creativity personally. Cartoons are one of the last great bastions of free speech. They convey love, compassion, wisdom, humor, sadness and triumph in a way that anyone can understand, no matter their native tongue. Artists and writers whom create this type of work do so for the love of the medium. The artists and other staff members at Charlie Hebdo did not deserve to die for their craft. I convey my deepest condolences to the families of the dead and injured.

One of Charlie Hebdo's most notorious covers, which depicts a generic staffer of the publication kissing a Muslim man.

We live in a world where individuals do insane acts in the name of their holy deity. Whether Muslim, Jewish, Christian or of any other religion, no one has the right to take the life of another human being because of their beliefs. Much less, to slay someone because of their art work is beyond preposterous... it's disgusting. This type of activity says a lot about the Muslim world. Though the majority of Muslims would not enact such outlandish behavior, their continued adherence to the Islamic cult of death is nearly as shameful.

All I know is this... If I were a member of a group or organization that held other members whom regularly carried out acts of violence, then I would leave said organization. To remain a member is to silently condone such activity, in my opinion.

Religion, no matter the specific faith, is at the heart of this attack and others like it. I won't dance around the facts of the matter. Outdated theology and superstition has repeatedly lead to the death of innocents. We see it over and over again. When will it stop? Most likely, only when humanity has cast aside such childish notions and evolved for the betterment of mankind.

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