http://www.theguardian.com/commenti...s-charlie-hebdo-cartoonists-murder?CMP=twt_gu Very interesting article :- First they came for the cartoonists. Among many things that changed in the space of a couple of hours in Paris on Friday night was the significance of the murders at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in January. During the subsequent soul-searching, many people, while obviously not excusing the killings, described the dead cartoonists as racists and Islamophobes who “punched down” at minorities in cartoons that amounted to hate speech. This division led to heated rows about the meaning of “Je suis Charlie” and the limits of freedom of speech, culminating in an ugly bust-up over the PEN gala that gave the magazine the Freedom of Expression Courage award in May. Dozens of prominent writers, including Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje and Joyce Carol Oates, signed a letter protesting against the award. Others, less harshly, noted that the Charlie Hebdo staff were brazen provocateurs who had already received death threats. They did not expect to die and certainly did not deserve to but, it was argued, they knew they were targets because of their cartoons. They were an unusual case. The Parisians who left home to have a meal, drink with friends, watch a football match or see Eagles of Death Metal headline the Bataclan never thought of themselves as marked for death. It’s likely that among those who lost their lives were some who found Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of the Prophet offensive and opposed military intervention in Syria. That didn’t matter to the terrorists because simply by enjoying life in Paris they deserved to die. By choosing those communal events in those lively, multiracial arrondissements, the terrorists turned pleasure itself into a crime. The Islamic State statement claiming responsibility for the attacks said that “hundreds of pagans had gathered in a profligate prostitution party” in “the capital of prostitution and obscenity”. These weren’t representatives of the state or army. They hadn’t mocked the Prophet. They didn’t “punch” in any direction. They were young, progressive, cosmopolitan people whose only offence was having fun. The attacks annihilated the fallacy of justified versus unjustified targets. Horrifying though the Charlie Hebdo attacks were, they allowed Parisians to believe that you had to do something to provoke the terrorists’ ire. (Not so the subsequent attack on a kosher supermarket, but that received much less attention.) On Friday night, however, all you had to do was be alive in the wrong place at the wrong time. U2’s Bono, who was due to play in Paris on Saturday, called it “the first direct hit on music”, and it was: you don’t choose the Bataclan unless you despise music and those who enjoy it. But the night was also an attack on sport, drinking, eating out, friendship and laughter. Of all the people and buildings that the terrorists might have planned to attack, they chose these. All terrorism is symbolic and this was the symbolism they wanted.