‘Je Suis Charlie’ is now a rallying cry for free speech after France’s terrorist attack

The terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that left 12 dead on Wednesday sent shockwaves throughout the globe. And it also inspired enormous masses of people to rally in the name of free speech.

In Europe, crowds of demonstrators gathered to mourn the writers and cartoonists who were killed by two or three hooded men who went into their offices with AK-47s. Two Paris policemen were also fatally shot during the encounter. The gunmen fled via a stolen car and are still at large in Paris.

The attack was a grisly, tragic act of violence, aimed squarely at a publication that regularly took aim at institutions using irreverent humor, unafraid to question or mock the status quo. On Wednesday evening, hundreds stood in solidarity with the magazine in London and Paris as well as other European countries, some holding pens aloft, chanting “Je Suis Charlie,” which translates to “I am Charlie.”

Soon the outcry in Europe spread to Twitter where people around the world joined in the movement.

The reaction all around the world is one of both mourning and solidarity. There are few words to express the horror of an attack on human lives and the right to free speech, except perhaps, Je Suis Charlie.