Skip to Content

Coffee House

An assault on humour

3 November 2011

5:45 PM

3 November 2011

5:45 PM

On Tuesday night the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo was firebombed, presumably
by Islamic terrorists, for naming the Prophet Mohammed its editor-in-chief. Nobody was hurt in the attack but the newspaper’s offices have been destroyed. They still managed to see the light side,
running a commentary saying "After Greece, save Charlie".

The left-wing paper has never been as popular as its main rival Le Canard Enchaine but its outrageous cartoons and caricatures are a staple of French kiosk fronts. Naming Mohammed editor may be one
of the more tame things the newspaper has done.

But whether it is tasteless or not, the magazine’s right to publish, insult and ridicule is fundamental to democracy. What’s so amazing is how limited the reaction has been outside of France. It
reminds me of the shamefully ostrich-like reaction of our political class when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten came under attack.


Show comments
Close