Charlie Hebdo Strong

Eiffel Tower Paris France

Photo courtesy of Sarah Michelle Herrin

Charlie Hebdo Strong
| published January 13, 2015 |

By R. Alan Clanton
Thursday Review editor

The brutal terror attacks which left 17 people dead in and around Paris were meant—among other things—to strike fear and trepidation into the hearts of journalists and reporters. The attacks were also meant, as the proponents of terror will freely admit, to instill widespread fear into the general population.

Al Qaeda and ISIS have both been clear in recent communications that they encourage small cells and individuals to lash out with attacks against police, editors and reporters, and civilians—especially in Australia, Great Britain, France, Canada and the United States.

The recent attacks in France also show an overlap in the cause of jihadists—the killing of insolent and blasphemous editors and cartoonists aligns neatly with the simultaneous murder of Jews. This is why in France, a country with one of the largest population of Jews in the world and a nation proud of its long traditional of free speech and free expression, people are on edge, and law enforcement worries that France is in a state of de facto war with radical Islam.

But Charlie Hebdo, the satirical weekly which was the original target of heavily armed militants last week, lives on, even stronger—arguably—than it was prior to the tragedy of January 7.

The often irreverent, sardonic magazine—which normally prints about 30 thousand copies for distribution across Paris and other cities in France—plans this week to have a print run of as much as 3 million. Many copies will be printed in other languages—English, Spanish, German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Ukrainian—after being translated by a legion of volunteers. Journalists in Paris are also reporting that some copies will be printed in Arabic.

The private firm which handles distribution of Charlie Hebdo outside of Paris says that demand continues to rise as phone calls, text messages, and emails come in from hundreds of locations around the world requesting that additional copies be available this week. Michael Salion, a media spokesperson for the company, says that the publisher may—depending on the level of demand—print even more. The print run will begin with one million, then rise if needed if demand persists.

Clearly, if the intent of the terrorists was to quash expression by mass murder act, that act of vengeance has failed.

And if the militant attack on the newspaper’s offices was triggered specifically by the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, then that form of intolerant retribution too has backfired. According to what was revealed overnight by the New York Times, Charlie Hebdo’s surviving staff says the next edition will feature a solemn, simple cover: the Prophet Muhammad with a single tear streaming down his cheek, under which a caption will read “all is forgiven.”

Last week, heavily armed militants attacked the editorial offices of the magazine with automatic weapons. In a matter of minutes, the terrorists had killed 12 people, including the magazine’s editor, two cartoonists, a bodyguard, and two policemen who happened to be on foot along the sidewalks outside. The attack triggered a massive manhunt and a near-total lockdown of Paris, and was the first in several violent gunfights between terrorists and police.

On the Sunday after the attacks, more than one million people marched through the wide avenues and boulevards of Paris in a show of solidarity for those who had been attacked and killed, and as a display of resolve for the defense of freedoms of expression, press and speech.

On Tuesday, funerals were held in Paris and in other locations. French President Francios Hollande paid official tribute to the three law enforcement officers killed in the terror attacks, awarding them Legion of Honor medals posthumously. Hollande called the police officers heroes, and said that “they died so that we could live free.”

Related Thursday Review articles:

More Than a Million March in Paris; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; January 12, 2015.

Battling ISIS: Will Air Power Be Enough?; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; November 17, 2014.