Is a Guardian cartoon on the Charlie Hebdo attack blaming the victims?

Yesterday, three Alluah-Akhbar shouting gunmen stormed the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo during an editorial meeting and, armed with Kalashnikovs, brutally murdered twelve people – ten journalists and, moments later, two police officers.


Jihadist executes a French policeman outside the offices of Charlie Hebdo

The terrorists were undoubtably taking ‘revenge’ for the cartoonists’ previous depictions of Muhammed, as the staff at Charlie Hebdo received numerous death threats by Islamists over the years due to their refusal to submit to demands they cease in their criticisms of Islam.

In 2011, the offices of Charlie Hebdo – which has also mocked Christianity and Judaism – was firebombed on the very day it was set to publish a cartoon derisive of Islamic law.


Editor-in-Chief of Charlie Hebdo following the firebombing of his office in 2011

Whilst most of the Guardian’s coverage of the terror attack has been cautious but unproblematic (framing it as an assault on free speech), today they published the following cartoon (by Guardian Australia cartoonist Andrew Marlton, known as First Dog on the Moon) which arguably represents an implicit criticism of the victims.


Following the first few unremarkable frames, the cartoon takes a decisive turn, with the cartoonist speaking in the first person about why he personally doesn’t depict Muhammad.

First Dog on the Moon doesn’t depict the Muslim prophet because “it’s probably racist” and he chooses not to put his family and co-workers at risk of being firebombed.  How have “racist cartoons”, he asks, become a “beacon for free speech”?

Remarkably, there is nothing in his graphic commentary on the attack which dares criticize the extremists who gunned down artists for exercising their fundamental right to free speech. Indeed, the cartoon takes a swipe at the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists for engaging in “racism” and ‘putting their families and co-workers at risk’ by resisting demands they censor themselves on issues relating to Islam.  

Is First Dog on the Moon actually, as it seems to us, blaming the victims for “inciting” their attackers?

Perhaps Guardian editors who fancy the notion that their media group represents truly liberal values should ponder how a political cartoonist associated with their brand could throw the victims at Charlie Hebdo under the bus and, more broadly, fail to passionately defend fellow journalists’ absolute right to offend.

122 replies »

    • Well actually France was seriously threatened by Israel after they assisted Palestine to join the ICC. The US has also threatened France after Hollande convinced EU leaders to consider lifting sanctions in Russia. There are a few websites linking this attack to Mossad, due to the obvious military training, the timing of the meeting in which they were murdered, journalists presence at the time of the attack and that the police were unable to follow the attackers (for unknown reasons) after a shootout where Le Monde showed images of the attack and the damage to the attackers vehicle. Also security footage was clearly tampered with for unknown reasons.

  1. It’s in the Guardian. Of course it blames the victims. Note the reference to ‘racist’ (rolling my eyes).

  2. I found a link to a hi-def image of the cartoon:

    Frame 5 is indeed in true Guardian style: Hypocritical, cowardly, morally wrong, and just plain fu@king stupid.

  3. During a speech to his old university in September 2006 the previous Pope, Benedict XVI, quoted a Byzantine Emperor from 1391 Manuel II Palaeologus.

    “Show me just what Mohammed introduced that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith that he preached.”

    How little has changed over the centuries. And how surprising that leaders from 700 years ago were aware of and willing to express what is glaringly obvious. But leaders today are either unaware of what is glaringly obvious, or frightened to talk about ‘the elephant that is in the room’.

    • Unfortunately Pope Benedict turned out a few days later to be less of a man than either Manuel II Paleologus (or Stephane Charbonnier).

      This is the Vatican statement following mass protests against the late Pope’s quotation taken from Wikipedia.

      Official Vatican declaration

      On 16 September 2006, Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State of the Holy See, released a declaration explaining that the “position of the Pope concerning Islam is unequivocally that expressed by the conciliar document Nostra Aetate” and that “the Pope’s option in favour of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue is equally unequivocal.”[55]

      As for the opinion of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus which he quoted during his Regensburg talk, the Holy Father did not mean, nor does he mean, to make that opinion his own in any way. He simply used it as a means to undertake — in an academic context, and as is evident from a complete and attentive reading of the text — certain reflections on the theme of the relationship between religion and violence in general, and to conclude with a clear and radical rejection of the religious motivation for violence, from whatever side it may come. [The Pope] sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful and should have been interpreted in a manner that in no way corresponds to his intentions.(emphasis in the original)

      • original moshe I agree. I found it disappointing at the U-turn by the Vatican expressed in your quote from Cardinal Bertone, the then Secretary of State for the Vatican. I included the then, and current, Pope in my view clearly expressed in the last sentence of my post.

        “But leaders today are either unaware of what is glaringly obvious, or frightened to talk about ‘the elephant that is in the room’. “

    • The Pope was right to later amend that inflammatory quote – a) because it was defamatory and b) not least in light of his own church’s record when it comes to spreading faith by the sword.

        • Sure. No spreading of the faith by the sword by Catholic ‘priests’ etc ever took place. It’s a myth, I tell you – a myth.

          • ‘Leah’ if you have some verifiable, historical evidence to back up your post be kind enough to post a link.
            Otherwise you will not be surprised if I, and others, draw the obvious conclusion that the only ‘myth’ is that there is a working brain between your ears.

            • Lol

              The Muslims spread their beliefs by the sword into Jerusalem, Turkey Africa, Europe -converting churches into Mosques -before the Christians finally launched the Crusades

              And yet the myth of Christian aggression in starting this religious war is entrenched in our cultural psyche

            • Gerald, you know full well of the crimes committed by e.g. the Inquisition. Are you and your recommenders suddenly in denial?

              • pretzelberg yes I know full well the crimes committed by the Inquisition.
                What does that have to do with your original post which is still legally and historically wrong?

                Are you also being infected by the habit of, some who post on this site, when you are challenged and shown to be wrong quickly attempt to either dodge or change the original question?
                Shame on you pretzelberg. I very often disagree with you but thought you had more intellectual honesty than that.

                • You say I was “challenged and shown to be wrong” after yourself admitting the crimes committed by the church – which was my original point! (“church’s record when it comes to spreading faith by the sword”)

                  The shame is on you, Gerald – because now you are simply telling lies. And transparent ones at that.

                • pretzelberg are you being deliberately obtuse?
                  Of all the things the Inquisition, I note you do not specify which ‘Inquisition’ perhaps you do not know the difference, did ‘spreading faith by the sword’ was not one of them.

    • No army ever entered Indonesia – the largest Islamic nation on Earth. The US Supreme Court has honoured the Prophet Muhammad as one of the greatest lawmakers of all time, and is honoured similarly by many great men in history including Goethe, Bernard-shaw and Ghandi who had the highest praise for the Prophet of Islam.
      “The lies (western slander) which we’ll meaning zeal has heaped around this man (Muhammad) are disgraceful to ourselves only”. – Thomas Carlyle.

      • “No army ever entered Indonesia” –
        the Dutch colonised it , the Japanese invaded it in ww2. Also I seem to recall Indonesia invading East Timor .

        “The US Supreme Court has honoured the Prophet Muhammad as one of the greatest lawmakers of all time”-
        If you mean one smallish picture of the prophet Mohamed in one very large frieze in one court room out of all the court rooms in the USA , [ designed by Adolf Weinman in 1930s I think] Perhaps you are exaggerating somewhat ?

      • ‘Mikaiil’ (what a strange way to spell ‘Tamara’) as you agree with the thoughts and writing of Carlyle, I take it that you also agree him when he wrote;
        “The three great elements of modern civilization, Gun powder, Printing, and the Protestant religion.”?

        • You seem to take offence at the invention of printing – presumably because it’s first great deployment was to challenge the corruption and regressive thinking of the Catholic church.

          • pretzelberg your assumption and presumption are as incorrect as your memory.
            Even if you do not remember, I have on many occasions pointed out that I am not a Roman Catholic or even an Anglo Catholic but a Protestant.

            Again your history is rather faulty, when it comes to the ‘first great deployment’ of printing.
            I am happy to correct your appalling knowledge of history for a large fee. Please send a large cheque, or gold, to my account in the Vatican Bank. (IOR)

            • By the way pretzelberg, I have to admit that my memory of very recent events is not as good.
              Can you remind me what the score was in yesterday’s match between Leicester and Aston Villa?

            • your history is rather faulty, when it comes to the ‘first great deployment’ of printing.

              Like Carlyle I’m talking about the Gutenberg printing press.

              Which history do you mean?

      • Sure. No spreading of the faith by the sword by Catholic ‘priests’ etc ever took place. It’s a myth, I tell you – a myth.

  4. If any paper is oblivious to Jewish sensibilities by providing a platform for terrorists or their sympathisers , it’s the Guardian. Why should the Guardian be no less morally obtuse when it comes to criticising those who criticise the very people the Guardian, in the “interest of free speech” likes to give more than enough exposure?

    • To show your even handedness, offend Israel and Fascist Iran, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Syria, Hamass, Hezbullah, Fascist Irans revolutionary gestapo, ayatolah khomeni/khameni/rouani, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, North Korea…

      • I’ve been using Cif for many years. I know the moderators can be touchy, but I have never used foul or abusive language. In fact I’ve only ever had one comment removed. However, over the last few days, the Guardian has been publishing editorials and articles that do not reflect the views of the readership. I know this because after one editorial, the first 20 comments were scathing of the Editorial views and was immediately closed down. This has happened on more than one thread. I pointed this out and look and behold, today I have a pre -moderated flag on my account. I will not of course return, but what I found disturbing was the Guardian basking in the freedom of expression of Charlie Hebdo, whilst clamping down heavily when their contributors and views were challenged. Eve that dreadful Telegraph allows dissent!

    • Interesting thought, Joanne. It’s as if those who hate Israel only do it to offend Israel. Which makes perfect sense since Israel bashers never use to facts to back up their immature and irrational emotional issues.

      Case in point, Greta Berlin is blaming this attack on the Mossad.

      The world may be mostly stupid, but it ain’t all blind.

      • ‘Dinkle’ perhaps even you can see that there is a difference between being called an “anti Semite” and two murderous scumbags killing you in cold blood because they were offended by a cartoon?

      • Yes, it’s really unfair: simply express toxic hatred for Jews, and for that be called an antisemite. Bwaaaa …

    • Sadly but not surprisngly, this appalling bigoted remark gets the full thumbs up from the hypocritical mental midgets who swamp this site.

  5. I have a strong feeling that what we are seeing in Paris is really the end of free speech as we know it in the Western world (except for Israel, and of course CiFwatch) coupled with the beginning of a religious and genuine civil war across Europe. A war the West is simply unequipped to fight, let alone decisively win. I hope I am wrong on all counts.

    One thing I do feel sure about though, the Guardian, the Independent, The Economist, Channel 4 TV News (London) and a growing number of other media voices including in the US, are already demonstrating they will have no difficulty at all adapting to such a changed world if it comes about.

    • the Guardian, the Independent, The Economist, Channel 4 TV News (London) and a growing number of other media voices including in the US, are already demonstrating they will have no difficulty at all adapting to such a changed world if it comes about.

      What utter tosh. How does e.g. The Independent’s front page yesterday illustrate such a surrender?–ek8oy87Fcl

    • I hope you are wrong too. I actually think that freedom of speech will grow stronger as a result of this.

      The idea of a civil and religious war across Europe is horrific but will not happen in any large scale sense. That does not mean there will be no more attacks as we saw in Paris. There will always be mad people who do horrendous things in the name of religion but these are the exceptions.

      I hope I am right.

      • For you dinkle the video must be rubbish indeed. It has been produced for real liberal thinking people not for you kind of Jew-bashers. Don’t watch them please they could do serious damage to your single remaining brain cell.

        • Is Pat Condell your idea of “a real liberal thinking” person? LOL. He’s a Ukip supporting, lapsed Irish Catholic Islamophobe. Its hard to see how he could be more bigoted – (though Fritz tries)

          You really haven’t got a clue.

          • Yes Dinkle he is a real liberal thinking person denouncing and debunking Muslim and Guardian antisemitism. That you don’t like this is natural, logical and fully understandable. And please leave the “islamophobe” bullshit to your messages posted on Mondoweiss, Electronic Intifada and the Guardian. There they will take it seriously….

          • To prats like Tinkle, the stupid non-term ‘Islamophobe’ seems like a clever term of abuse, whereas in reality it immediately outs the speaker as an idiot – who hasn’t a clue.

          • Pat Condell makes an argument with facts. This is a threat to Dinkleberry’s cobbled together post modern faith. Dinkleberry can’t refute the argument and turns to the faithful fundamentalist’s best friend, denunciation.
            In Dinkleberry’s world view lapsed Catholics cannot be liberal. Nor can those who don’t appreciate Islam’s homophobic, misogynist, antisemitic, anti-western contribution to liberal thought. Dinkleberry wouldn’t last two seconds inside a cerebrum.

            • I especially like his problem with UKIP. Maybe he should have shown the number of victims of the violent murderous terror activity of this party…

              • Ah, so as long As a political party does not murder you think they should be supported? ..You could not make it up.

                • No Dinkle I don’t think that a party must be supported only because it doesn’t incite murder. A very nice straw man argument though. Only far left parties – completely legal in the UK do this, not to mention some MP-s of the mainstream Labor and Liberal Democrat parties.

                • Tinkle is very good at distorting completely what people say. Perhaps he should become a BBC/Hamas spokesperson.
                  Or maybe he already is.

  6. Rusbridger tweet: ‘Guardian Media Group has pledged £100k donation to Charlie Hebdo to help ensure it’s not silenced. Google giving $300k’

    • They did an artist was fired for suggesting Sarkozys son was converting to Judaism for money. I’m not sure if they faced any problems for the ‘black monkey’ cartoons. But it was a racist and sickening magazine. They didn’t deserve such an end but they should have been shut down earlier. There is a difference between free speech and hate speech – anyone can understand that. Satire normally pokes fun at the powerful – it should never belittle the oppressed.

    • glad you got the irony . Hope you also get the satire, comedy, and variety of opinions.
      no point explaining nature of a democracy is free press print something and we have the right to bitch , Don’t you agree that its better than getting a gun and killing cartoonists ?

    • An antisemite like you don`t get the irony that it is not forbidden to critcise the message, but to shoot the messenger.

  7. Is First Dog on the Moon actually, as it seems to us, blaming the victims for “inciting” their attackers?

    Of course not!

    First Dog on the Moon doesn’t depict the Muslim prophet because “it’s probably racist”

    Never heard of sarcasm?!?! That line is clearly a dig at those who would automatically brand any depiction of Mohamed as racist!

    CifWatch has got this one totally wrong.
    You are blinded by your hatred of the Guardian.

        • Ah, another idiot claiming that one should never call antisemitic things ‘antisemitic’ because it ‘belittles’ antisemitism.

          • As you have completely distorted my post into something I’ve never said nor ever would say, you are the idiot here.

            • Peter links to several ‘cartoons’ that are as bad as those in the Stuermer. I hesitate to call you an idiot again, because that would be an insult to idiots.

      • You should have written “that the Guardian is a modern and politically correct version of the Stürmer.” But there is a significant difference – the Stürmer never considered itself the world’s leading liberal voice.

        • As the Guardian has never published anything remotely similar to despicable cartoons such as these:

          … you are once again talking utter tripe.

          Shame on you.

          • This is for you pretzelberg. I know that you will keep up your ignorant preaching but maybe this will cause a five minute break.

            • None of the cartoons you link to is remotely as repugnant as the ones I posted above.

              Plus … when did the Guardian ever post such cartoons on its front page, together with headlines like “the Jews are our misfortune”??

              You hate the Guardian because of its criticism of Israel. You then try to smear it using preposterous comparisons with a Nazi paper.

              • None of the cartoons you link to is remotely as repugnant as the ones I posted above
                I know that you like them pretzel…Yes – the criticism of Israel – of course. What a jerk…

  8. Sorry – just where in that (not very funny) cartoon are the Charlie Hebdo victims being blamed for their own deaths?

  9. I congratulate first dog on the moon for not falling into line with the media hoopla. Charlie Hebdo was a racist magazine that incited hatred and violence. They didn’t deserve to die, but portraying blacks as monkeys and sickening sexualised hateful cartoons about religion is really not a way to make a living. Journalists are killed all the tim and as we speak there are many in prison – most people couldn’t care less. This is war propaganda and and simple.

  10. The Guardian seems to think there is a great difference in the use of freedom of expression to draw “funny pictures” and their bread and butter of “I wrote snarky opinion”, “I complained about manspreading”, “I Lied for a living” or “I actually Informed the public”. Modern Journalists are scum. The cartoonist is taking everything he has for granted, “don’t rock the boat and you will live”, what type of value is that? The cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo invited their own deaths no more than the people in that Kosher grocer did, they died because of Islamic inspired thuggery, because our principles are incompatible with theirs.

    We never would have secularized without the right to blasphemy, what does it say to Muslims thinking of leaving the faith when the natives are too chickenshit to even stand behind the principle?

    What does it say when you assume you will be firebombed or labelled a racist for speaking against an idea? You know there’s a problem but you choose to mindlessly capitulate out of fear and say the world is a better place for it. Pathetic, why say anything if its going to be that pitiful.

  11. Smells and looks like a classic Jew/Israeli op, By way of deception wage war, your hopefully going to be wiped out by god soon. Samson maybe too late

  12. I wandered lonely as a cloud across a sea of daffodils ….

    Keep taking the meds , mate . I suggest upping the seratonin as you seem a tad depressed .