The Paw Print
“Je Suis Charlie,” meaning “I am Charlie,” is a slogan that can be heard and seen around the world from protestors and hashtags alike. It’s a simple statement showing support of the lives affected from the Taliban attacks that recently happened in Paris. Around lunchtime on January 7th, 2 masked and armed Taliban members entered the office of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical French newspaper, and fired up to 50 shots, while shouting “Allahu Akbar” (Arabic for «God is greatest»), killing eleven people and injuring eleven others during their attack. Five others were killed and another eleven were wounded in more Taliban-related shootings in the Île-de-France. The government sent out a terror alert and a manhunt for the brothers responsible for the shootings at Charlie Hebdo. Saïd and Chérif Kouachi took hostages in Dammartin-en-Goële before being gunned down by police.
The days following were filled with grief and shock. The Eiffel Tower was darkened in honor of the fallen. Thousands gathered to light candles and wave banners. Social media erupted in a wave of support and outreach for the victims. But most importantly, the fear of Al-Quada had reached new places and had affected even more lives. A few days after the shootings, an estimated 3.7 million people gathered across France to pay respects to the fallen journalists and cartoonists killed earlier that week. World leaders including US Attorney General Eric Holder and British Prime Minister David Cameron were part of the supporters who stood before French president François Hollande as he said, ‘Today, Paris is the capital of the world.’ Officials say it was the largest mass gathering in French history.
France was not the only country that was affected by these attacks. A newspaper office in Belgium was forced to evacuate after receiving an anonymous bomb threat. The New York City Police Department received a threat from ISIS and was told to “remain alert and consider tactics at all times while on patrol.” As Taliban groups attack the different cities of the world, the civilians of the Middle East in, where these groups are based, are the ones who live in fear the most every day. Muslims, Jews, Christians, and people of all nationalities gathered together in the rallies held in Paris to support the oppression their fellow man has been suffering. One Muslim man that was part of the rally said, “Our religion is the religion of love. … Our religion loves Jews … loves Christians. We are not terrorists.” Questions were raised against the Obama administration as there has been no comment or action in support of the shootings from the President. However in context, these actions could be able to put a gap between the relations between America and Taliban activity and show some insight to the fact that Taliban groups affect people in every walk of life in any place. French police are still trying to connect the dead shooters to specific Al-Quada groups. Meanwhile, a strong sense of compassion and support should be in everyone’s heart for the victims of this senseless act against humanity.