It isn't my intention to lay polemics in this post. But somethings have to be said.
The Charlie Hebdo incident points to an inability on the part of our civilization to think in terms of "systems". People keep talking about how complex and interconnected our world is but it is to no effect, people truly don't get it.
At the top of this mess is a seemingly confusing set of antiquated French laws that treat the publishing of a prophet's cartoons as okay, i.e blasphemy is fine, but on the other hand it is considered a crime to publish material provoking hatred among his followers.
You must be a toddler to not understand that the two could be interrelated, especially when we talk about the Islamic religion. Messing around with one could automatically trigger the other and often the consequences in our post 9/11 world are on a macro level, not just restricted to France.
Faith is old as the earth. It's complex. It's super sensitive. If you don't understand it, leave it alone. You don't know the unknowns.
Unfortunately the editorial team at Charlie Hebdo did not exercise broad based thinking. This could have easily been done in a review meeting some days before publishing, where each member weighed the pros and cons of what they were about to attempt. They could have had a PR guy who had expertise in foreign relations chime in with inputs. 'Hundreds of French people live and work in Middle Eastern countries. Could this at a very minimum risk their lives? Many Muslims live in our own country but aren't well integrated. Could this create more friction in society?'
Given the attrition rate in newspaper readership these days, I'm not surprised that the desire to be ever more edgier takes predominance over the need to exercise control. A national tragedy could only have been prevented if the decision making went correctly or if a system of laws were crisp and clear of what is allowed and what isn't allowed. I'm quite sorry for the French.