A thunder woke me up early this morning… when I looked through the window the sky was dark and grey and it was raining a lot… I just thought that it did not look like a good day, this kind of weather can be depressing sometimes… I could not imagine how right I was going to be about that…
As usual I checked my messages and realised that many family members and friends from France have posted the same picture « Je suis Charlie » (I am Charlie) so I immediately knew that something had happened in my country… I called my mother and I also checked the news and realised that a tragic terrorist attack took place in Paris at Charlie Hebdo’s office on 7 January morning killing 12 people, among them 10 journalists and 2 policemen !
I was shocked to hear such thing could happen and so sad thinking about the families of these people who had no idea about what would happen to them when they left their homes in the morning to go to work as they do everyday… then I have realised that some of my friends in Australia have heard about it too but were frustrated not to understand the what, the how and mostly the why…. Don’t get me wrong, we do get news here in Adelaide about other countries but it is not very detailed so I thought maybe I could write something about it hoping this will help to have a better understanding of what happened from a french point of view.
Actually, for those who have never heard about Charlie Hebdo : it is a famous French satirical weekly paper, featuring cartoons, reports, polemics and jokes. It was created in 1969 and it is well known for being irreverent and non-conformist since the publication often makes fun of politics, culture and religion… mostly Catholicism, Islam, Judaism… Their style is pretty provocative with a good dose of humour since they are making fun of any kind of subjects with caustic cartoons to illustrate their articles. The success of this paper is also due to a great team composed of famous and talented cartoonists and journalists who are not afraid to speak their minds. As you can imagine many readers are huge fans and absolutely love it, some don’t care and some just hate it and don’t hesitate to let them know by criticizing any publication (which is quite easy nowadays with social media). Charlie Hebdo is used to being insulted, to being sued and to getting a lot of threats (their offices were bombed at night a couple of years ago)… but this has never stopped them to go on and express their opinions ! Afterall France is known to be a free country where the press is free… it is called freedom of expression and french people are very proud of it and so am I!
Unfortunately on 07 January 2015, two well armed men, suspected to be islamic terrorists, decided that Charlie Hebdo paper was going too far by making fun of their prophet. They decided to make their own justice by depriving the staff from the freedom of speech… sentencing them to death! The terrorists intruded the building and took the journalists and the cartoonists by surprise during the weekly editorial board meeting shooting at everybody. Two policemen standing on their way were also killed. It was a very violent attack, very cruel…and everybody is still shocked !
France is sad and mourning the deaths of these 12 people who had lives, families and who died when their only crime was to write, to draw their opinions and to protect the freedom expression ! Who would have ever imagined that a drawing could killed in France?!
France and many countries have expressed their sorrow in the face of tragedy! Trying to shut down a media organization is called terrorism! It is an attack of our values, an attack on the freedom of expression and the press, a core element of our free democratic culture!
You can hide our eyes but we will still see!
You can close our ears but we will still hear!
You can shut our mouth but we will still speak!
You can hold our hands but we will still write!
You can try to shut us down but we will still believe!
Because we are FREE !!! We are all Charlie ❤