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Satire to Die For.

By Ashleylister @ashleylister

 Charlie Hebdo (French forCharlie Weekly) is a French satirical magazine featuring cartoons, reports, polemics, and jokes. Stridently non-conformist in tone, the publication has been described as anti-racist, sceptical, secular and within the tradition of left-wing radicalism,publishing articles about the far-right(especially the French nationalist Nationsl Front party),religion, politics and culture

The magazine has been the target of three terrorist attacks: in 2011, 2015, and 2020. All of them were presumed to be in response to a number of cartoons that it published controversially depicting Muhammad. In the second of these attacks, 12 people were killed, including publishing director Charb and several other prominent cartoonists.

While the court case into the most recent attack was underway in the French courts. a high school history teacher used copies of the Cahrlie Hebdo catrtoons during a lesson on freedom of speech, a strongly held virtue of the French constitution. Days later the teacher was beheaded by an attacker n the street. Images and depictions of Muhammed are forbidden by Islam. 

Thr faact si that the editorial team at Charlie Hebdo were critical of every religion but not every religion believes that depictions of their God is blasphemous. Here in Britain, icons and statues depicting saints and even the Virgin Mary were removed from churches during The Reformation but that was in the 16th century. 

We have a long and agreeable relationship with political staire in the UK. Magazines such as Punch and Private Eye and television pogrammes like Spitting Image and Yes Minister engage with our love of lampooning politicians. President Trump has been the focal point of much hilarity in the British press for the lst four years. No-one has taken to the streets and killed the editors. It doesn't seem right to shoot the messenger. 

The Human Rights Act Article 10 protects your right to hold your own opinions and to express them freely without government interference.

This includes the right to express your views aloud (for example through public protest and demonstrations) or through:

  • published articles, books or leaflets
  • television or radio broadcasting
  • works of art
  • the internet and social media

The law also protects your freedom to receive information from other people by, for example, being part of an audience or reading a magazine.

As a writer and poet, I fervently stand by the right to freeedom of expression. There is no freedom more improtant in a democracy. One only has to look at recent events in Hoing Kong to realize that our freedoms are worth fighting for - and pehaps in the case of the staff at Charlie Hedbo  worth dying for. 

Satire to die for.


I was settling to notebook on Wednesday,

propped up on cushions, my pen filled with ink,

I switched on the telly for inspiration

and there was Hollande, addressing his nation.

His words in the face of a cowardly attack,

ignited French hearts with the fire to fight back.

With Passion for freedom,

Patriotism free from oppression,

and power that derives only from Freedom of Expression.

Rights hard-won through Revolution.

Knock one of them down

and a million will stand for the French Constitution.

They have no fear of insurgent suppression,

Offend the French way –

they send in The Legion.

So what if some people have no sense of humour,

They laugh at their own - so why not at others?

And what of our British way of life,

Will we stand and be counted or run for our life?

Will we speak for the speechless?

Will we welcome the friendless?

Will we hold out a hand in a gesture of kindness,

or will we turn our backs,

alienating the mindless?

We’re enabled free thinkers,

We are Lancashire Dead Good Poets,

We welcome all voices,

and we want everyone to know it.


Thanks for reading. Adele

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