Support Global Voices

To stay independent, free, and sustainable, our community needs the help of friends and readers like you.

Donate now »

See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

They Are Not Charlie: They Torture, Jail and Kill Journalists in Their Own Countries

2 million people arrived in Paris for the Marche Republicaine organized by the French government against the terrorism due to the double attack of Wednesday and Thursday. 17 people and 3 terrorists died. Photograph by Matteo Pellegrinuzzi. Copyright: Demotix

2 million people arrived in Paris for the Marche Republicaine organized by the French government against the terrorism due to the double attack of Wednesday and Thursday. 17 people and 3 terrorists died. Photograph by Matteo Pellegrinuzzi. Copyright: Demotix

World leaders and politicians, particularly those from the Middle East and North Africa, came under fire for their double standards in supporting freedom of speech in France, while stifling freedoms and killing and jailing journalists in their own countries.

More than 40 world leaders and top officials and politicians from around the world joined about 1.6 million people as they marched in Paris today [January 11] to denounce the terror attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket. The attacks, over three days, have left 17 people dead in France, including cartoonists and police officers. More than 3.7m people are estimated to have marched across the country today, making the rallies the largest in the nation's history. Similar but smaller solidarity gatherings were held in Cairo, Beirut, New York and Madrid, to name a few, in support of freedom of expression.

The presence of world leaders at the forefront of the Paris rally, which began at the Place de la Republique and ended at the Place de la Nation, in which marchers chanted liberte [freedom] and Charlie, drew much criticism on social media, especially since some of those leaders were among the world's worst free speech offenders.

Egyptian writer Mohamed El Dahshan tweets his objection to his 44.7K followers on Twitter:

Spaniard David Karvala notes:

Paris protests against the attack that killed 17 innocent people holding hands with Netanyahu, who kills thousands

Freedom Prayers, from Bahrain, reminds readers of what awaits protesters at home:

And Dima Eleiwa, from Gaza, Palestine, explains:

We will be telling our children mind-boggling stories about today's rally. Terrorists and those suppressing freedom of speech took part in a rally against terrorism and in support of freedom of speech!

Reporters without Borders described world leaders at the event as “predators,” whose presence was appalling. It issued a statement saying:

On what grounds are representatives of regimes that are predators of press freedom coming to Paris to pay tribute to Charlie Hebdo, a publication that has always defended the most radical concept of freedom of expression?

Reporters Without Borders is appalled by the presence of leaders from countries where journalists and bloggers are systematically persecuted such as Egypt (which is ranked 159th out of 180 countries in RWB’s press freedom index), Russia (148th), Turkey (154th) and United Arab Emirates (118th).

Even before the rally started, Palestinian Yousef Munayyer tweets to his 22.2K followers:

UK-based blogger Daniel Wickham does his homework and shares an impressive list of the ‘offenders’ at the rally:

Among them are:

Wickham also reserves two special mentions for offenders not invited to the parade:

For a full list of “predators” check out this Storify link, compiled by Tom Etty.

Iyad El-Baghdadi, who was jailed and exiled from the UAE, found a few more punchlines to add to his Arab Tyrants Manual, which he started writing after the start of the so-called Arab Spring. Among them is:

Turkish Zeynep Tufekci reminds us of how world leaders only put their interests ahead of issues they pay lip service to, like freedom of speech:

She further explains her point:

And there was sarcasm shared too. Giray Ozil tweets:

Palestinian Ali Abunimah tells his 57.7K followers:

Syrian Rafif Jouejati ponders:

And Egyptian Guebara sarcastically notes:

Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi is taking part in the Paris rally against terrorism

According to the Washington Post, a seven-minute video emerged today in which one of the gunmen who attacked the kosher supermarket posthumously claimed the IS's responsibility for the attack. In the video, Amedy Coulibaly pledges allegiance to the IS leader Al Baghdadi.


Cancel this reply

Join the conversation -> dia diem du lich nha trang-khanh hoa

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices!

Submitted addresses will be confirmed by email, and used only to keep you up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details.

Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency

No thanks, show me the site