World Leaders Did Not ‘Lead’ Charlie Hebdo Marches, But Rather Posed For A Private Photo Op

President Obama is getting a lot of heat for being a no show to a march that was being led by leaders from all across the world, which included British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angele Merkel, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

This is the picture you have probably seen in various news outlets:


Certainly an image which shows leadership, solidarity, and peacetime between the world’s powers in the wake of a national tragedy for France.

But alas, it is all about mere optics when it comes to the camera. I was curious when I first saw this image splashed across the TV screens. I thought it very odd that the leaders of many, many important countries would be marching in the middle of the street, on high alert for another attack, with very little security detail there to protect them. Why would so many world leaders be left so vulnerable?

Borzu Daragahi, a Cairo-based Middle East and North Africa correspondent for the Financial Times, posted on Twitter what really went on in regards to the march “led” by the world leaders:

So, in reality, President Obama didn’t miss a “march.” He missed a photo op. Very different things. The message of unity is not taken away and the meaning is still the same. However, no leaders were marching with protestors. The families, friends, and supporters of the victims of Charlie Hebdo were leading the marches. We cannot forget that.

According to CNN:

The rally began with a march through Paris streets at 3 p.m., but a massive group of people stayed into the night. Among them was Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Great Mosque of Paris and president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith.

With the media utilizing optics to tug at our heartstrings, we can be thankful we don’t have media outlets like Israel, who edited out the female leaders who attended the photo op.