Bloody tragedy in Paris

In Paris Islamic terrorists have attacked the editorial office of Charlie Hebdo magazine, injuring 11 people and killing 12 — including the first policeman to arrive on the scene of the tragedy

In Paris Islamic terrorists have attacked the editorial office of Charlie Hebdo magazine, injuring 11 people and killing 12 —  including the first policeman to arrive on the scene of the tragedy
In Paris Islamic terrorists have attacked the editorial office of Charlie Hebdo magazine, injuring 11 people and killing 12 —  including the first policeman to arrive on the scene of the tragedy

A female employee who survived the massacre reveals that the killers spoke pure French. In fact, she allowed the men into the building, noting that, afterwards, they shouted: ‘The prophet has been avenged!’

Photo: REUTERS
Photo: REUTERS

The President of France, Francois Hollande, visited the site and announced that this was a terrorist act, for which he has declared three days of national mourning. Paris feels itself to be under a state of siege, with the maximum level of danger declared. The police are taking emergency measures, and students and schoolchildren are being kept home from their educational establishments.

Of course, the tragedy is not altogether unexpected, since the ‘signs’ have been long foretold. A British soldier was, not long ago, beheaded in London by an African-born man; a descendant of Van Gogh shared the same fate several years earlier. The shooting of French policemen to cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’ is part of the same chain, as are recent crimes of arson at mosques in Swedish cities. There have been rallies several thousand strong against the ‘Islamisation’ of German cities. Europe is in turmoil.

What is perturbing ‘new Europeans’? Probably, a great deal —  but why then do they rush to Paris, Marseille and Dresden from their native realms? It appears that they wish to turn from guests into hosts! The answer is simple, as a knife…

By Victor Ponomarev

We are all Charlie Hebdo

French newspapers have been publishing black pages, stating only ‘I’m Charlie Hebdo’ in various languages. Over 5,000 people gathered at Paris’ Place de la République without seeking any formal permission, being eager to express their indignation and to protest against the act of terror perpetrated at Charlie Hebdo’s editorial office, which resulted in the death of 12 people.

Photo: REUTERSThe attack on the satirical magazine is the greatest act of terrorism to date in France and, probably, in journalistic history. Reporters from all over the world regularly bury colleagues, who go fearlessly into the world’s trouble spots, seeking out the truth. However, this is the first time that they have been killed in a quiet office, in a country viewed as peaceful.

We often hear that our world is a small place but this is truer than ever, since no corner is unassailable. The terrible tragedy in the French capital brings the death of colleagues known to us personally: traveller, photographer and journalist Michele Renaud, who was born in Clermont-Ferrand — Gomel’s twin-city. He established the Travelling Diaries Festival in his native city, welcoming artists, journalists and writers from 120 countries. In 2009, Mr. Renaud held a personal photo exhibition entitled Around the World in 80 Photos, at Gomel’s Gavriil Vashchenko Gallery. Moreover, he had a deeply personal connection with Belarus, being married to a Gomel lady: the sister of Nina Romanova, the Editor of SB. Belarus Segodnya newspaper’s International Department. This is our personal loss, which we bewail.

This awful story has a reverse side, with far-reaching consequences for all Europe. Religious ‘wars’ are possible in our modern times and anti-Islamic movements are gaining momentum throughout Europe, with related demonstrations gathering dozens of thousands in Germany each Monday. Angela Merkel and the political establishment are ringing the alarm, naming such protesters as ‘Nazi’. Until recently, such an approach proved effective in Germany but the situation is changing. Interestingly, in 1989, similar ‘Monday demonstrations’ resulted in the downfall of the GDR socialistic regime.

Such rallies are also gathering huge crowds in Dresden: a city known for its powerful anti-fascist traditions. With this in mind, the German (or European) anti-Islamic movement appears to be a growing trend.
In the Czech Republic, the leader of the Dawn of Direct Democracy political party, famous nationalist Tomio Okamuro (half-Japanese) stated several days before the Parisian act of terror that ‘Muslims should not enjoy a peaceful existence’. He says that each street-sold kebab is a move ‘towards the veil’, inviting everyone to gather pigs and dogs in front of mosques (there are three in the Czech Republic).

As a result, opponents of xenophobia and religious intolerance have announced a ‘Kebab on Mental Debility’ action — inviting people to buy a kebab. The killers of Michele Renaud and other journalists aim to drive a wedge between the Christian and Islamic worlds, pushing us to suspect anyone sharing different religious views or having an Arab appearance. These people wish us to be frightened, using calculatedly orchestrated videos of executions (including of journalists); this very choice of media indicates the authority of the media.

I’ll eat a kebab in the Czech Republic. The mosque being built near my Minsk home will never become a symbol of discord. We are together; we are all Charlie Hebdo.

By Inessa Pleskachevskaya


France. Europe. To be continued?


The Kouachi brothers —  suspected of the recent terrible act of terrorism in Paris —  have been killed during a military operation to apprehend the pair, as has their colleague, who seized a shop in the east of the city, demanding the release of the brothers

Photo: REUTERS
Photo: REUTERS

The French have been attentively following TV broadcasts, awaiting the success of the police in locating the criminals. Events have resembled a Hollywood blockbuster, with pursuit, hostage taking, talks and a presidential address. Sadly, this was not a film created for entertainment, but cruel reality.

Addressing the nation, the French President, Francois Hollande, announced, “France is in a state of war: a war against terrorism.”

The police picked up the trail of the vicious criminals two days after the act of terror. A teacher at a local school identified them (their faces had been endlessly shown on the country’s major TV channels) as having stolen her Peugeot 206. Initially, the Algerian brothers took her hostage but then released her.

At an extraordinary session in the Elysee Palace, the French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, announced that all forces had been mobilised to fight terrorism. Meanwhile, the criminals managed to escape and hide in an editorial office building.

The small settlement of Dammartin-en-Goële (population of around 8,000) was the central ‘battlefield’ for the French policemen and terrorists: the latter hiding in the local editorial house of Charlie Hebdo magazine office, 500m away from a school building. Armed with Kalashnikov guns and a grenade thrower, the brothers took a hostage and told the police that they would sacrifice their own lives to avoid capture, while sacrificing that of the hostage. Happily, their plans failed and, seven hours later, the police operation ended in the deaths of the pair while the hostage was released without injury.

Meanwhile, another criminal began shooting a Kalashnikov in French Montrouge, killing a policewoman and a road service worker. The French police immediately established a connection between the attack on Parisian Charlie Hebdo by Said and Cherif Kouachi and the new attack: all were members of a single Islamic group engaged in hiring guerrillas in the Middle East for military and terroristic acts.

The following day, in Montrouge, their colleague entered a shop selling kosher products in the east of Paris, where he took six people hostage at gunpoint, including children and women. During talks with the police, he demanded that the Kouachi brothers be set free. Eventually, the police raided the shop, killing the man; sadly, three hostages also lost their lives.

British security services note that they are expecting new, major acts of terrorism in the West by Islamists: in the UK or other Western states. MI5 Chief Andrew Parker, speaking in London, warns, “Some key Al-Quaeda terrorists in Syria are planning acts of terror, resulting in loss of life in the West. Al-Quaeda is aiming for numerous victims.”

By Svetlana Isaenok

Alexander Lukashenko has extended condolences to the President of France, Francois Hollande, following the deadly terrorist attack at the headquarters of magazine Charlie Hebdo. The message reads: ‘It is with deep pain and sorrow that the Republic of Belarus has learned news of the terrorist attack at the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo magazine, which resulted in injury and death. We strongly condemn any form or manifestation of terrorism or extremism’.
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