The Terror on Freedom of Speech

Junior Katrina Nickell

Junior Katrina Nickell

By Katrina Nickell

Junior Katrina Nickell
Junior Katrina Nickell

Last Wednesday, many of us woke up peacefully to the news of a snow (cold) day. Last Wednesday, France woke up to a terrorist attack leaving 12 people killed. Two policeman were killed, along with 10 journalists. The 10 murdered journalists wrote for the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Charlie Hebdo is famous for their controversial cartoons of the Catholic, Jewish, and Islamic religions. But much of its criticism comes from the Islamic community who finds the publication’s cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed offensive.

It is the glory of the American way that here, we can exercise our human rights, and we are granted Freedom of Speech. But America is not the only country. France also, has a freedom of speech law. The law translated in English says, “The free communication of thoughts and of opinions is one of the most precious rights of man: any citizen thus may speak, write, print freely, save [if it is necessary] to respond to the abuse of this liberty, in the cases determined by the law.”

The two Al-Qaeda terrorists went and killed these innocent journalists for what they claimed was an act of revenge to honor the Prophet Mohammed. The journalists who were exercising their freedom.

The terrorism against journalists stretches beyond the Charlie Hebdo attack. The building of a local newspaper in Santa Barbara, California was vandalized after it printed an article on describing people crossing the Mexican-American border as “illegal.” On the front of the building, near the entrance, in red spray paint it read, “The border is illegal, not the people who cross it.”

In Germany, tabloids reprinted the satirical cartoons from Charlie Hebdo. This action of freedom of speech resulted in a firebomb being thrown into the building, along with stones. The damage was minor, due to the authorities containing it quickly.

Looking at the cartoons in an ethical position, it is obvious why Charlie Hebdo was criticized so often. But it is their freedom. It’s a beautiful thing to live in society where we are legally allowed to express ourselves so freely. It’s ugly to live in a world wear terrorism becoming a norm.

Charlie Hebdo was of little importance to me, and many, before all of this began. But now, I stand with other journalists, amateurs and professionals, to keep on fighting for our rights. As a young journalist, hoping to major in the field in college, I am afraid. I’m afraid for the profession — to be able to speak my mind and not worry about offending extremists. But, I’ve learned from Charlie Hebdo.

Despite the attack, Charlie Hebdo has not stopped. The newest cover sold out, depicting the Prophet Mohammed holding a sign that says, “Je Suis Charlie,” or “All is forgiven.” This is also a beautiful thing — to bounce back.