Today is 5 years since the terror attack on the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, where two men of Afghan descent, armed with automatic weapons, entered the editorial office and shot wildly about while shouting Allahu Akhbar. After murdering 12 and wounding 11, they managed to flee and were on the run for two days, taking a hostage and entrenching themselves in a printing press in the city of Dammartin-en-Goële northeast of Paris before being shot and killed by French police.
The attack on Charlie Hebdo is the most vicious and bloody attack on freedom of speech so far, because it was specifically aimed at a magazine that had branded itself on being completely irreverant of anything that can be laughed at, thus holding high the freedom of expression torch. Charlie Hebdo was thus also among the few who dared to support freedom of speech and reproduce the Muhammad drawings when the waves went high during the Muhammad crisis in 2005/2006.
The reactions to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in the days following January 7, 2015 were at once massive and vexing: massive because it shocked everyone, giving rise to large, popular demonstrations, expressions of sympathy, and condemnation from all sides across Europe. Weak, because the will to stand firmly on our Western, secular values and freedoms went no further than to demonstrate with a lifted pencil whilst wearing a t-shirt with the inscription "Je suis Charlie". A fully feeble freebie of pompous self-aggrandizement… a hollow and empty gesture that in no way marked a willingness to put a foot down and actively defend our culture and our freedom.
For what did all the pencil demos actually result in? Well - for Denmark, the attack on Krudttønden and the synagogue in Krystalgade came about a month later, which means that the so-called Quran blocks (terror bollards) have now become an integral and ugly part of the street scene in Copenhagen, just as Jewish institutions are still guarded by the military.
If the Charlie Hebdo massacre has shown us anything, then it is quite clear that today it is obvious to all that we have not defended our external borders against Islam in a timely manner, and are therefore relegated to erecting hideous barricades in the heart of our community in a poor attempt to mitigate the worst consequences of a new terrorist attack. Barricades/bollards - Quran blocks - whose numbers have only grown in number alongside terrorist attacks in Berlin, London, Stockholm, etc., etc.
The 5 year anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo massacre should be an anniversary in which we commemorate those killed and wounded, reminding us of what we have loved and what we need to defend to preserve our freedom of speech and open, democratic community. At the time of writing, Danmarks Radio, the taxpayer-funded public service station, has not even mentioned the attack.