The Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris came as a shock to the world. In France, people walked the streets in grief and despair, the rest of the world showed their frustration through social media.  

Jean Jullien

Jean Jullien’s twitter account

Within hours after the brutal bloodbath where twelve were pronounced dead including four of France’s best-known satirical cartoonists, one of them being Charlie Hebdo’s editor Stephane Charbonnie, the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie or “I am Charlie” in english has trended worldwide and was supported by countries from all continents. In just a few days, a simple phrase has become an expression of despair and compassion.

On social media handles like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram, the hashtag has trended for days as users shared cartoons made by Charlie showing hope that the freedom of speech and the right to express oneself will not be driven by fear and tragedies brought about by terrorism.

One of the most relevant quotes that stood out was Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s expression of Voltaire’s beliefs:  “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.’’

The Charlie Hebdo website, which has crashed for obvious reasons, came back online with the phrase “Je Suis Charlie” in bold letters.

Hundreds of relevant people and institutions that showed their support, including the US embassy in France, as well as French and American cartoonists who posted tributes and touching messages expressing their grief.