Ruth writes: There must have been several hundred people at the quickly-organized rally in Nathan Phillips Square yesterday in honour of the recently murdered victims of misguided gunmen in France.
Many carried “Je Suis Charlie” signs and waved pencils symbolizing the murdered cartoonists and journalists. I am sure there would have been more people had it not been so cold and there was more publicity. I heard about it yesterday on television. A sentence about it was in The Star at the end of a long article. Some people found it on Facebook.
Most of the people and signs were understandably French. Mayor Tory and French diplomats spoke in French and English. But there were Iranians, Israeli and Ukrainian flags, as well as Canadian and French. I talked with a couple of Germans, and a man with a sign pointed to the killing of 580 children by Israel in the Gaza strip. “Stop the Terror on All People. We are All Responsible.” The atmosphere was solemn but friendly.
“I am Charlie” in French was on most of the signs in honour of the weekly satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo whose journalists and cartoonists were killed last week. Four Jews were also killed in a Kosher supermarket by related gunmen. Policemen were also victims.
Among the other signs were “I am Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Atheist, Black, White. I am Charlie.” “Freedom of Expression.” One gave the names of all the 17 people killed in the attacks. Others pleaded, “Stop the Hatred”, “I am Jewish” and “Free All Political Prisoners in Iran.” “I am Ahmed” referred to the Muslim policeman also killed.
I was pleased that only one sign showed one of the offending cartoons. It was one too many because it was rude and disrespectful of a religion. It was not what I like to think as Canadian political correctness.
People signed a visitor’s book, burned candles and left flowers. Some then marched to Yonge-Dundas Square.