#jesuischarlie

A bit of a weird title if you don't know what I'm talking about.

If you follow international news (paper, radio, net or else), I don't think you can have missed the news. Yesterday, on Wednesday 07th January, masked gunmen very heavily armed, stormed the headquarters of the French satyrical magazine "Charlie Hebdo". They shot and killed 12 people, including Charlie Hebdo staff (cartoonists, mostly), two French national police officers, and wounded 11 others. Witnesses reported that the gunman identified themselves as belonging to Al-Qaeda in Yemen. They left the scene shouting in French: "We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad. We have killed Charime Hebdo !". (this is coming after controversial front pages in 2006 & 2011, you can read on CH wikipedia's page)

Hours after the shooting, supporters started to tweet out their backing for the magazine and for the freedom of speech under the hashtag #jesuischarlie (French for "I am Charlie"). Since yesterday, it had been used over 1 210 000 times.

Photo © Janis Anzalone, and used with her permission. (links at the end of the post)

Photo © Janis Anzalone, and used with her permission. (links at the end of the post)

Beyond the killing of these journalists, cartoonists, policemen & more, it is the freedom of speech & freedom of the press that have been attacked. It is unbearable in 2015 to think that, after centuries of fight (with too many people giving their lives for it) for freedom of speech, anyone can come & shoot anyone else because they have drawn something they didn't like or thought was blasphematory. They can kill journalists or cartoonists, but they can't kill the freedom of the press. They have only made their message stronger !

It is important for us all to be united, and to stand for our primary right of freedom of speech. I am not a reader of Charlie Hebdo magazine myself, but I do support the freedom of the press & of all artists. Love & peace are more powerful than hatred. Cartoonists have never killed anyone with their pencils & erasers, but their tools are such a threat to extremists !

Multiple demonstrations were held all over the country. 35 000 persons in Paris only, a total of over 100 000 for the whole country. Similar demonstrations and candle vigils spread to other cities outside of France, in Belgium, Spain, United Kingdom, Danemark, Germany, Canada & the US.

I have had goosebumps several times since yesterday, thanks to all the support of all the people in these countries. It touched so many people, it really amazed me (in a good way). Friends, acquaintances, strangers, famous people, SO MANY people rallied behind the French people & the victims of the shooting. I want to thank all of you who left messages of support to my country, on Instagram and on Twitter.

It could have happened anywhere on this planet, and I think it's one of the reason why it touched so many persons, artists, cartoonists, journalists & illustrators around the globe. This international support has been very heartwarming to me, and has raised my hope in humanity, in the fact that we can actually make one if we really want it, and if we are really threatened.

Salman Rushdie , who is also on the Al-Qaeda most wanted list, expressed his support for Charlie Hebdo. He said: "I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, whish has always been a force for liberty & against tyranny, dishonesty, and stupidity. Religious totalitarism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam, and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today".

Photo © Lichia Liu, and used with her permission. (links at the end of the post) Stéphane Charbonnier was one of the cartoonists who were killed.

Photo © Lichia Liu, and used with her permission. (links at the end of the post) Stéphane Charbonnier was one of the cartoonists who were killed.

Today has been declared as a day of national mourning, and at noon everyone stopped for a minute of silence.

Today, 72 newspapers in France & in the world ran a commemorative headline. Le Monde (another French newspaper) will have tomorrow's headline as "France's September 11th".

We all must be careful not to mix muslims & extremists. I'm atheist myself but I consider anyone of any religion as my sisters & brothers. We must not forget that before being French, American or Moroccans (or anything else), we are Citizens of the World. That's how I consider myself anyway. 

Yesterday, the highest alert level was on, in Paris, concerning terrorist attacks. And guess who was working in Paris, just blocks away from the shooting ? My husband, that is. Thankfully, he was a little further at the time of the shooting, but he was like 500 meters away, a couple of hours later, without knowing what had happened. I phone him as soon as I myself knew about it to let him know. I think he would have guessed something had happened by himself, since there were suddenly many many policemen in the stations & elsewhere. Believe me, I was relieved once he was back home in the evening !!

Thank you for reading.

xo

Sonia


Special & heartfelt thanks to Janis Anzalone in the US & Lichia Liu in Canada, for the permission to use their photo & their art. Please do visit the websites of these very talented artists :

Janis Anzalone Lichia Liu