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Editorial: January 7

01/09/2015 - 09h21

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FROM SÃO PAULO

After saying they have avenged the Prophet Muhammad, hooded killers walk into a black car and drive towards an unknown destination.

In the video, released right after the incident, it is possible to see the brutal haste with which they shot a police officer who was already lying down the pavement, before running away.

That is how the attack that killed 12 people - including journalists, cartoonists and policemen - at the headquarters of the satirical weekly magazine "Charlie Hebdo" ended on a Wednesday morning of January 7, 2015, in Paris.

The magazine was warned by Islamic fanatics a while ago. In 2011, an arson attack was carried out on its headquarters, in an attempt to punish the authors of some caricatures of the Prophet.

None of them were intimidated. On the contrary, the following editions were dedicated to condemn with sarcasm, the extremists' narrow minds and violence.

Stéphane Charbonnier, the Charlie Hebdo director, was on an Al Qaeda "wanted" list. He is now dead, alongside one of the world's best-known cartoonists, Georges Wolinski, executed at the age of 80.

The responsible for the attack have noticed for sure how humour is important to the defence of freedom and reason.

Terrorism often shows itself as pure revenge, as the killing at a Pakistani school a few days ago, where children of the military personnel engaged in the crackdown on extremists were attacked.

The massacre at Paris had a different goal, though: to silence a publication that continuously mocked the saddest and the most irrational and murderous aspects of religion.

It was through mocking that the Enlightenment had many brilliant victories against the dogmatic intolerance of the Catholic Church in the 18 century.

The pamphlets of Voltaire, the relativisation of traditions produced by Montesquieu's quill pen, Hume's urban scepticism; they have all contributed to break the church's intolerance - because it is silly, useless, blind, ridiculous - and it is total obedience to a system belief originated in an era of fear and ignorance.

Catholic narrow thinking was beaten; only then, the peaceful, charitable and generous aspects the Christian religion have always had were recovered. Nowadays, whenever the Islam is shown as peaceful, light and kind, it is threatened by this army of barbarians.

In an world where some young Westerners feel fascinated by Muslim radicalism, the effort and the courage required to disarm the obscurantism meet once again (as always) the freedom of speech and - more than ever - the talent of mocking, joking, laughing.

This attack, as some commentators say, is the "September 11" for the world press. It is remarkable that the victims worked at a satirical magazine.

The indignation, anger, grief and tears are everywhere, but we must not lose the smile. Sad are the killers. Ours is the smile of freedom, hope and reason.

Translated by JULIANA CALDERARI

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