What is Charlie?

Une fois n'est pas coutume, je vais rédiger un billet en anglais, dans le but de répondre à cette question compliquée : quelqu'un peut-il expliquer ce qu'est cette chose "Charlie" ?

The answer to "Who is Charlie Hebdo" is on their website. In this post I'll try to answer to "what is the charlie thing" for me. 

An old newspaper

Sheldom Cooper would answer Charlie Hebdo is an old Newspaper. First named Hara Kiri, then Hara Kiri Hebdo, the firsts issues are from 1968.

The first famous covers are from 1969, with the Concorde, or the Moon Race. When everybody was saying "Wahou!" to Neil Armstrong's first step on the Moon, Charlie asked "What are we doing there ?"  ans a week after "The Moon, we don't care !".

Against religious or political power. 

Charlie Hebdo defends poor people, victims of war, dictators or of powerful societies such as Mosanto.

You have drawings and a lot of texts. The papers are rather serious, about politic, economy, ecology,  science, culture, psychology... For instance, in this week issue, I appreciate Philippe Lançon's speaking about his injuries. The 2015 january 7th issue had a cover with Michel Houellebecq saying "In 2015 I loose my teeth, in 2022 I observe Ramadan". Lançon has lost his teeth during the attacks. In his article he write about fictions such as "Soumission" or "The Arrival" than aren't prediction.

Blaspheme is a right in France. Joking about a pope or a prophet is not forbidden, it's not a lack of respect ever. People may feel sad, but they aren't forced to buy the newspaper, that was available only in France few years ago. It's sometime difficult to understand the cover without reading the editorial or knowing what happen in France the week before. Riss pieces can be found here.

Famous people

Charb, Wolinski or Cabu are more famous than Monty Python in France. In the 80's, children could see Cabu between Candy, Captain Harlock or Golodrak (Grendizer).

When I heard that Cabu had been shot dead on January the 7th, I thought the assassin couldn't have been a french people, or someone grown in France. He was a nice guy, always laughing and drawing. He is a symbol of peaceful  childhood.

Tignous or Honoré may be less famous, mostly known by Charlie's reader, such as the psychologist Elsa Cayat. Bernard Maris is a famous economist who wrote several books and could be heard on "France Inter", a national radio channel.

Two years later

Much people worldwide may have forgotten that 12 people have been killed in France 2 years ago during the Charlie Hebdo shooting claimed by Al-Qaeda. The french people still remember. Why? Journalists, caricaturists have been killed because they thought, wrote, draw... We wan't to be free! We don't want someone saying to us "Don't speak about Charlie Hebdo, you will be a target."

After ISIS Paris attacks in November, we learn that the problem was not our mind, but just the fact that we were living here, that we had fun drinking wine or listening to music.   The same thought appear after Nice July 2016's attack. Innocent people died just because they were at the wrong place, just enjoying fireworks.

Charlie Hebdo represents resistance, courage and freedom.


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