World

World press: French are not alone after attacks

Leaders, numbered, attending Paris rally Image copyright EPA
Image caption 1. Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy; 2. UK PM David Cameron; 3. Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt; 4. Polish PM Ewa Kopacz; 5. EU Foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini; 6. Sec Gen of Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland; 7. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo; 8. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker; 9. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu; 10. Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita; 11. French President Francois Hollande; 12. German Chancellor Angela Merkel; 13. European Council President Donald Tusk; 14. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas; 15. King Abdullah of Jordan; 16. Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga

Newspapers across the globe see the massive rally in Paris on Sunday as evidence that the world is united behind the French following the recent terror attacks there.

European dailies argue that the response to the attacks highlighted the basic values on which French and Western democracy is based. But some in the Arab world say they are still offended by Charlie Hebdo's cartoons, and argue that Islam should not be equated with extremism.

In France itself, many newspapers splash pictures of the crowds in Paris across their front pages, with headlines that emphasises defiance and unity: "Freedom marching" (Le Parisien), "France stands up" (centre-right Le Figaro), "Standing up" (Catholic La Croix), "We are one people" (left-leaning Liberation), "United for freedom" (business daily Les Echos), "Liberte, fraternite" (best-selling regional daily Ouest France).

Some regional papers carry headlines such as "This is France", "Historic", "Planet Charlie" or simply "Huge".

Image copyright ouest france

"Hope, together with grief, was marching at the head of the procession," says Liberation. "The Republic was struck in its heart. Two days later, the Republic stands," it adds.

"How can we not be moved by this sight of a nation finally brought together?" asks Le Figaro. "In its mourning, the family comes together; it does not forget its differences, which tomorrow will rightly take their place again... but all of a sudden it unites because essential issues are at stake."

"Not alone"

The theme that the French are not alone in their grief and defiance comes through strongly in the press in Europe and beyond.

"The grief over the dead in Paris is uniting our countries on an emotional level, even if it is in pain," says Germany's best-selling tabloid Bild.

Another German daily, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, agrees. "On Sunday France was not alone. No country that the terrorists have in their sights should be left alone," it says.

In Italy, La Repubblica sees the march in Paris as an eloquent show of defiance: "With two million people in the street singing the Marseillaise and the rest of the city applauding from windows and balconies, Paris yesterday testified to something more than pain for the victims and resistance to terrorism: it is the re-awakened consciousness of the value of the democracy in which we live."

La Stampa, another Italian daily, says that the terror attacks in Paris and the march that followed them have highlighted what France stands for. "After a nightmare week, France returns to being the France that we love. The France of human rights, the France of tolerance, the France of Reason. The France of Voltaire. The France of Charlie Hebdo," the paper says.

Image copyright Novaya Gazeta
Image caption Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta has dedicated a whole front page to the Paris attack

An editorial in Spanish newspaper El Pais agrees that the massive march in Paris was the right response to violence against journalists.

"Paris was yesterday an unequivocal assertion that Europe, far from the stereotype that depicts it as a decadent society, cowed and useless before supposed dynamic jihadism, is alive and represents a formidable wall that rises against terrorism and its totalitarian project," the paper says. "It has shown that it can react when its supreme values that define our way of life are threatened."

"World War Three"

Across the Middle East, many front pages also speak of "international unity" against terror. Al-Hayat, a popular pan-Arab newspaper, is impressed by the size of the Paris march, which, it says, matches the scale of the global threat that extremism presents.

"One can no longer claim that the problem concerns only others and that our country will remain unaffected by this insane violence," the paper says. "The scale of international participation reflected the increasing conviction that the world is sliding towards a third world war, if it has not already entered it."

Several Arab commentators are concerned about the damage that extremism may have done to Islam. "The insistence of some people in the West to link terrorism with all Muslims is no longer acceptable, it is not useful and does not serve efforts to fight terrorism," says the UAE's newspaper Al-Ittihad newspaper.

In similar vein, Saudi daily Al-Watan argues that "the fight against terrorism should be holistic and undivisive". Everyone should "work for the consolidation of peace and coexistence", it says.

But there is little evidence of consensus over the Paris march in Arab social media, where many said they still felt offended by Charlie Hebdo's cartoons and described world leaders participating in the march as "hypocrites" and "apostates".

"The Paris anti-terrorism march is in essence a terrorist march, given its leaders and the slogans it raised. The march will not stop Muslims from being angry about [insults against] their prophet," said one user with more than 46,000 followers. https://twitter.com/@_Serjo_

In Indonesia, home to the world's largest Muslim population, one newspaper disagrees with those who argue that freedom of speech should not extend to "blasphemy".

"We cannot cherry-pick which speech acts ought to be free and which not," says an article in the Jakarta Post. But, it goes on, audiences "do not have the maturity yet to practise" freedom of speech without reacting violently to cartoons that they find offensive.

China's Global Times welcomes demonstrations of solidarity with the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, but is critical of their drawings.

"The entire world should defend the editors from being physically assaulted, regardless of what they have published. However, it must be made clear that this is different from supporting their controversial comics," an editorial in the paper says.

Parts of the Russian press that are particularly mistrustful of the West suspect a conspiracy involving its secret services. "Has the terrorist attack in Paris been carried out by the Americans?" asks the front page of Komsomolskaya Pravda, a popular daily. "About a million French people rallied yesterday... but few choose to talk about the real reasons behind the tragedy," it says, darkly.

Liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta is the only major publication in Russia expressing solidarity with the French cartoonists by saying "We are Charlie Hebdo" on its front page.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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