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This Happened

This Happened—January 7: The Charlie Hebdo Attack

Two gunmen opened fire at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris on this day in 2015, targeting the magazine's staff for satirizing Islam.

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What happened in the Charlie Hebdo attacks?

Two Islamist gunmen forced their way into the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly newspaper and opened fire, killing 12 people and injuring 11. The two Kouachi brothers who carried out the attack would eventually be killed in a police shootout outside of the capital two days later.

Why was Charlie Hebdo attacked?

The magazine had attracted considerable worldwide attention for its controversial cartoons of Muhammad. Hatred for the paper’s cartoons, which made jokes about Islamic leaders including the Prophet Muhammad, is considered to be the principal motive for the massacre. In Islam, it is forbidden to depict Muhammad.

What was the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks?

Two days after the attack, as the police closed in on the Charlie Hebdo suspects, their accomplice, Amedy Coulibaly murdered four Jewish hostages and held fifteen other hostages during a siege of a kosher supermarket in Paris.

On Jan. 11 about two million people marched in Paris in a rally of national unity. The staff of Charlie Hebdo continued with the publication. The following issue had almost eight million copies in six languages, compared to its typical print run of 60,000 in French.

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Geopolitics

The Trumpian Virus Undermining Democracy Is Now Spreading Through South America

Taking inspiration from events in the United States over the past four years, rejection of election results and established state institutions is on the rise in Latin America.

Two supporters of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro dressed in Brazilian flags during a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Bolsonaro supporters dressed in national colours with flags in a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on November 4, 2022.

Ivan Abreu / ZUMA
Carlos Ruckauf*

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — South Africa's Nelson Mandela used to say it was "so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build."

Intolerance toward those who think differently, even inside the same political space, is corroding the bases of representative democracy, which is the only system we know that allows us to live and grow in freedom, in spite of its flaws.

Recent events in South America and elsewhere are precisely alerting us to that danger. The most explosive example was in Brazil, where a crowd of thousands managed to storm key institutional premises like the presidential palace, parliament and the Supreme Court.

In Peru, the country's Marxist (now former) president, Pedro Castillo, sought to use the armed and security forces to shut down parliament and halt the Supreme Court and state prosecutors from investigating corruption allegations against him.

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