Yesterday, many people united and joined demonstrations and protests against the killing of journalists, cartoonists, editors, publishers, policeman in the recent attack against the magazine Charlie Hebdo. Perhaps you, like me, joined one of these demonstrations.
The most moving pic was not among the photos of the demonstrations. It was of course the photo of her father’s empty desk taken by his mourning yet defiant daughter Elsa Wolinski. She shared it on Instagram.
Yesterday morning, while the manhunt had moved to Picardy, there were already reports of another Paris shooting. A man apparently dressed very much like a special policeman, had shot a street cleaner and killed a police woman. At first, this incident was reported to be unconnected to the Charlie Hebdo slaughter.
At this moment, it is clear it was not a stand-alone incident. The killer has killed two hostages and is holding more in Paris. According to the UK independent, he is demanding the release of his fellow Jihadists who are holding hostages just outside Paris.
While reading all this, I stumbled upon another page of this UK newspaper. It reported mr Raif Badawi, a liberal blogger, had just received the first 50 lashes of his sentence. His sentence, for being a liberal blogger interested in freedom of speech. His punishment consists not only of imprisonment, but of being publicly lashed FIFTY times for TWENTY Fridays!
As Amnesty International and the Independent report: he “was originally sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes in July last year, but an appeals court overturned the sentence and ordered a retrial – which then earned him a more severe sentence of 1,000 lashes and ten years in prison.”
And it is not just mr Badawi, who has been punished for being a blogger. His lawyer, mr Waleed Abu al-Khair, a human rights activist, has been jailed for 15 years by the Saudi Courts of Justice as well.
As I have not heard any reaction from the Saudi Arabian Government condemning what has happened and is happening in Paris so far – even though the policeman executed so appallingly in the street was a decent Muslim – I as a blogger and human being, felt obliged to join a petition started by Amnesty International, to try and stop the flogging of mr Badawi and to try and get him and his lawyer out of prison.
You may disagree with me. You may condemn my action. That is your right and remember: you will not be decapitated, slaughtered, flogged, put in prison, tortured, if you state your opinion.
For me, signing the petition was a logical part of me expressing my “Je suis Charlie” feelings today. For I think that all the deaths in and around Paris since Wednesday only will have some meaning, if “Nous sommes Charlie” does not stop with the capture of the attackers and freeing of hostages in France.