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World Leaders’ Paris March Participation Provokes Wave of Criticism

Je suis Charlie Sheen. One of the many memes which surfaced online after the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris last week

Je suis Charlie Sheen. One of the many memes which surfaced online after the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris earlier this month.

When criticizing something becomes banal, people turn to sarcasm, and the Internet accelerates this process profoundly. Earlier this month, many Internet users responded to images of world leaders at the Paris march against terrorism with a wave of criticism and memes meant to convey their feelings of anger, frustration, and distrust.

The participation of more than 40 world leaders took place in an area separated from ordinary demonstrators. Many of the dignitaries in attendance came from states with their own human rights and terrorism problems. Add to this the public's rage following attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, which claimed the lives of 17 people, and it's not hard to understand why the atmosphere online has become tense indeed.

The Simpsons! (Source could not be confirmed)

The Simpsons! (Shared anonymously online.)

From Ramallah, Palestine, Ahmad Al-Nimer suggests faces he thinks were missing from the Paris march, such as Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Muammar Al Gaddafi, and North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.

Writing on Facebook, Ziad Khilleh shares a bit of Syrian humor, suggesting that the only legitimate marches from a Syrian official perspective are presumably those glorifying Syrian dictator Bashar Al Assad. What other marches could even be possible, even in Paris, after all?

​Ziad Khilleh shared on Facebook. We love you, Bashar!

​Ziad Khilleh shared on Facebook. We love you, Bashar!

Sherif Azer imagines ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak saluting the Paris crowd ahead of the march:

Sherif Azer shared on Facebook. Mubarak says Hello.

Sherif Azer shared on Facebook. Mubarak says Hello.

The fact that many of these leaders are themselves suspected of committing acts of terror and other various crimes wasn't lost on Internet users.

Terrorists Against Terrorism. (Source could not be confirmed)

Terrorists Against Terrorism. (Shared anonymous online.)

"​Definition of Hypocrisy" and infographics. Shared by @carlosezln and others on twitter. (Source could not be confirmed)

“​Definition of Hypocrisy” and infographics. Shared by @carlosezln and others on twitter. (Shared anonymously online.)

Muhammad Khalid shared this on Facebook. March against Terror?

Muhammad Khalid shared this on Facebook. March against Terror?

In zoomed-out photographs of the Paris march and the world leaders’ procession, the separation between the politicians and the ordinary people was quite prominent:

Democracia real YA! Madrid shared on Facebook. "El Pueblo y los Hipócritas"-"The people and the hypocrites"

Democracia real YA! Madrid shared on Facebook. “El Pueblo y los Hipócritas”-“The people and the hypocrites”

Were politicians to catch wind of these memes inspired by their Paris march “participation,” it's anybody's guess what they might think.

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