It is hard to believe that just one short year ago the world united in hashtag-solidarity for victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. The satirical magazine lost eight cartoonists and journalists at the hands of Islamic terrorists "offended" by the outlet's depiction of the Prophet Muhammed. In the wake of the attack, the world swore it would uphold the principles of free speech Charlie Hebdo lived by.
Well, memories are short and those displays of solidarity proved empty as those left behind at Charlie Hebdo say they feel "alone" in their crusade to uphold the very freedoms their colleagues died for. AFP reports
The newspaper was held up as a symbol of freedom of expression and an astonishing 7.5 million copies were sold of the first issue produced by its surviving staff just a week after the attack.
But now those same staff feel they have been left to carry that torch alone, according to the newspaper's financial director, Eric Portheault, who escaped death by hiding behind his desk when the gunmen stormed in.
"We feel terribly alone. We hoped that others would do satire too," he said. "No one wants to join us in this fight because it's dangerous. You can die doing it."
That is because the Left is filled with hypocrites who champion "free speech" when it is politically expedient and socially "hip," but when actually faced with executing it and potentially offending someone or something (namely Islam) in the process, cower and run.
Still, new and remaining members of Charlie Hebdo have vowed to continue making fun of the world despite the dangers.
Most people were unaware that its staff had been under police protection since it had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2006. In 2011, its offices were firebombed and it was forced to move premises.
Despite losing many of its key staff, Charlie Hebdo has continued to produce a 16-page issue each Wednesday of cartoons and drawings that -- its creators take pains to point out -- poke fun at all religions and politicians.
The team of around 20 staff has recently moved into new ultra-secure offices. Unlike the offices that were attacked, the address is a closely-guarded secret.
Despite the dangers, the members of the new team say they are determined to continue mercilessly poking fun at France and the rest of the world.
"There is no question of self-censorship, otherwise it would mean they (the attackers) have won," Portheault said.
"If what is happening in the news leads us to draw the Prophet Mohammed again, we would do it," he added.
"With the November 13 attacks and then the one-year anniversary, everything has come back up to the surface," Portheault said.
"But we won't give up. We don't want them to have died for nothing."
The Charlie Hebdo massacre, while not the first incident of Islamic terrorism in the West, was one of the most prominent in terms of the attackers' catalyst: Free Speech. It seemed that in the wake of the tragedy, the world might finally wake up to see that our very freedoms are what jihadis so hope to strip away in their attempt to mold the West into a sharia-compliant zone.
While at first the wake-up call seemed to have been received by the international community, it was, as usual, both empty and short-lived. Meanwhile, despite being the ones who actually sacrificed and paid a tremendous price, Charlie Hebdo has shown nothing if not integrity in living true to its values and principles. Shame on the rest of the #solidarity crowd.