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Geopolitics

Satire And The Prophet: Supporting French Magazine’s Right To Spoof Mohammed

Editorial: after its latest edition poked fun at the Muslim prophet, the offices of French satirical weekly ‘Charlie Hebdo’ was firebombed and its website hacked. Like ongoing fundamentalist Christian attacks on a local theater troop, the incident is a th

Luz, a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist, with Mohammed cover, outside magazine's firebombed offices (Rue89)
Luz, a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist, with Mohammed cover, outside magazine's firebombed offices (Rue89)

PARIS - Six years have passed since the publication of caricatures of the prophet Mohammed in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, and the subsequent storm that erupted in Muslim communities throughout the world. But a new storm has arrived after a French satirical weekly's cartoon portrayal of the prophet Mohammed. Early Wednesday morning, an act of arson partially destroyed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine. At the same time, the publication's web site was hacked, making it inaccessible to visitors.

Under the title "Charia Hebdo" (Sharia Weekly), the weekly magazine dedicated the edition that went on sale Wednesday morning to the rise of Islamists in Tunisia and Libya. "Mohammed" was listed as the guest "editor in chief." A supplement, called "Sharia Madame," was promised, as well as a cooking section called "Halal Aperitifs." To make sure no one missed the satirical nature of the publication, a caricature of Mohammed on the cover threatened, "100 lashes if you aren't dying of laughter."

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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