Je Suis Charlie The Huge March

Je Suis Charlie

Last week I wrote a post on my travel section about what happened in France on January 7th at the headquarters of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

This hit close to home, and while being someone who rarely watch the news at all, I found myself glued to French news to learn everything I could about this terrible event that transformed the landscape of France for days, with an ocean of people marching in the streets of all its cities.

Yesterday, I came across my friend Annie Andre’s post titled What Is Je Suis Charlie, and I have to say that she did a heck of a great job writing about this event as well.

Annie is a French Canadian/American who was born in Thailand, now living in France for the past couple of years. If you want to learn more about France, go check her out!

In this post I’m not going to mentioned what Annie has discussed already, but I wanted to talk about the mass movement of silent protestations against terrorism that went on in France last Saturday and Sunday and how Charlie Hebdo came back stronger than ever.

Paris, the Capital of the World

Je Suis Charlie

On Sunday Paris was called the capital of the world, because that day there were more government leaders assembled there, then ever before in history. Over 50 government leaders walk side by side in one of the streets of Paris.

On the first row, besides French president François Hollande, British Prime Minister, David Cameron and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel could be seen. Beside them, some 50 world leaders, even some from Islamic countries.

As I was juggling between the French and American news I noticed that the absence of the president of the United States, Barack Obama, was actually more criticized here in the US than it was in France.

I think that the French had other things to think about than the absence of the American president. They also understood that even if he wasn’t there, he had to understand how the French felt, as one French journalist called Obama the president of the 9/11 country.

By that, the journalist meant that Obama knew all about what happened  in France, and how the French felt.

To repair that mistake, though, Secretary of State John Kerry came to France and gave a speech in fluent French at the City Hall in Paris on Friday January 16.

 

3.7 Million People Gathered in the Streets 

Je Suis Charlie

Besides the government leaders, the French people went out in the streets all over the country, like one man.

The gathering in all the major and medium size cities in France was something never seen since the end of World War II, and it even beat that.  Here are some official numbers of some major cities all throughout France.

Paris 2,000,000

Lyon 330,000

Toulouse 150,000

Bordeaux 140,000

Rennes 115,000

Grenoble 110,000

Montpellier 100,000

Marseille 60,000

Many other cities such as Nice Cannes, Lille, Annecy, Strasbourgh, and more, saw huge gatherings of citizens marching in the streets of their respective home town.

Charlie Hebdo from 60,000 Weekly Copies to 3 Million

Je Suis Charlie

The cover of the 3 million copies of Charlie Hebdo making fun of itself with the title: Tout Est Pardonné,(Everything is forgiven) with the prophet Mohammad holding the sign “Je Suis Charlie” (I am Charlie).

 

The little paper that prints 60,000 weekly copies, not only kept its promise to come out this Wednesday January 14, as usual, but instead their 60,000 copies they had promised 100,000 for that week.

However, because of the rate at which the newspapers disappeared from the newsstands, leaving some very frustrated people who didn’t get a copy, they decided to print 300,000 more.

Yet, this was still not sufficient, and Charlie Hebdo for this week came to 3 million copies.

Right after their savage attack on the journalists and cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, one of the two attackers said, we killed Charlie Hebdo, but what they did is the absolute opposite.

Charlie Hebdo sold out 4 times in 3 days, not with 60,000 copies, but with 3 million.

Yes, there is a God.

French are a Lot Like Americains

As I was listening to the American President talking about what happened in France, he said that the French are a lot like Americans, that’s why they will fight for their right to freedom of expression.

That’s very true.

France is a rebellious child who likes the right to her freedom.

The French like to do and say what they want, as long as they’re not harming anyone.

Satirical magazines are meant to inform while using derision.

The right of derision will be defended in France, for sure.

To me, anyone that doesn’t understand this type of newspaper is probably a good 200-300 years behind.

The French president himself was depicted several times in that journal, but that didn’t phased him.

Yet, some people got offended to the point of killing.

Je Suis CharlieThis event being one of the most important event in France not only of the decade, but its whole history, it deserved to be mentioned twice in row in my blog, in my Travel/French section. Please, leave you thoughts and comments below.

 

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10 Comments

  • Annie AndreTwitter: annieandrehacks says:

    Thanks for the mention. It took me a long long long time to write the article. 7 days to be exact.

    Just today I was hanging out with some of the other moms in front of my daughters school here in our small French town. We were all debating about the state of affairs and to our surprise there were a few FRENCH who said they do not believe in the papers right to insult. No she was not muslim either. She is as French as they get and comes directly from Paris. She is a very small majority though and for the most part the sentiment, atleast amoungsly my friends is that people should be allowed to say what they want. Freedom of speech.

    ps
    no one mentioned that Obama wasnt at the unification Rally with the other world leaders.
    Annie Andre invites you to read..What Is “Je Suis Charlie” And Why Did Terrorist attack In France?My Profile

    • Hi Annie,

      Thanks for being here bright and early, and I know time lag helps 😉

      I know what you mean about this woman, I have a friend who is from Cote d’Ivoire and christian, and while he’s OK himself with humor, he says he understands that some people would get offended by their prophet being ridiculed. We had several discussions throughout the week, and the liberal spirit that I am doesn’t agree with that at all! LOL.

      I never understood why some people get so attached to things that are outside of themselves. I personally don’t, but that’s just me. I respect the ones who do, though, but not the ones who kill for some stupid drawings.

      I’m looking forward to speaking with you on Monday.

      Thanks for coming, and have a wonderful weekend in France 🙂

  • Kerry says:

    This is an excellent follow-up post Sylviane. thank you for writing it.
    I saw on the news the demand for this week’s edition of the newspaper in Toronto alone. Yes, the terrorists messed up in so many ways, but in the end they helped boost awareness and circulation of the cartoons they hoped to destroy. It’s all been quite a roller coaster since it happened.
    Take care.

    • Hi Kerry,

      Thanks for sharing this about Toronto. I heard that the paper had been translated and distributed in a few languages and countries, but it’s interesting to see how even in Canada people couldn’t wait to get a copy. That’s great!

      Thanks for coming by and sharing this 🙂

  • Harleena SinghTwitter: harleenas says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    Silence is more successful than supersonic bombs, peace is more powerful than panic. 🙂

    I think it is time that the world takes the Gandhi approach and adopts peaceful demonstrations and revolutions again, after 100 years when he first started it. This goes for the terrorists and the disturbed people as well.

    Paris did show that the world can get together. It should not only be for a few events like these, but for all kinds of world issues. Being together, in unison, and on the same platform can help bring better and fast resolutions.

    I’d say that Charlie Hebdo showed courage and guts to spring back in such proportions even after such a tragic event, and how.

    Regarding the freedom of expression, I did reflect back upon this philosophy, and agreed with what the Pope had to say. But I’ll appreciate the french spirit for justice, which is the birth pace for liberty, equality, and fraternity.

    I hope and wish that there are no more of such events and people use their pens and tongues, instead of guns and bombs to resolve issues.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend 🙂
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    • Hi Harleena,

      All those reactions made me think of what a lot of life coaches often say, and which I always us myself, which is “you can’t control what people do to do, but you can control how you react.” Those people who react violently to simply cartoon characters have probably never heard of that, and even if they did it would take a lot from them to even start to understand it.

      There are two kinds of people in this world, there are the open minded ones and then there are the others. The later ones are the ones causing problem, destruction and wars. That’s very sad.

      Thank you so much for coming Harleena and sharing you thought on this hot topic 🙂

  • donna merrillTwitter: donna_tribe says:

    Hi Sylviane,

    It was so great to see so many nations standing up for freedom. The violence that preceded this was terrible. I never watch TV, but on that day when violence struck, I turned on the old tube, to see the weather. Instead I was glued to the violence happening.. Maybe it is because I just cannot get it through my brain that people would do such terrible things.

    My heart went out to France because I feel so much part of the entire European Nation, especially France because I do have distant relatives living in Paris.

    When the reaction was a peaceful demonstration of many different nations, it gave me chills up my spine that there is hope. There is hope for all of us in the world to maintain freedom of expression, weather we agree or disagree with Charlie is not the point. The point is freedom of speech.

    I just wish I could have seen the American President there marching along with others to represent my country…..oh well, can’t have everything.

    -Donna
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    • Hi Donna,

      Well, like you I’m not someone glued to the news for sure, but this thing had me follow the whole story all week long. Because I don’t fight for much, but I will fight for freedom of speech and I’m a Charlie all the way 🙂

      Like you said, whether we agree or not, it’s not about that. It’s about freedom of speech. France is a republic. The French are people who killed their oppressors (the kings and nobles of the time) to be able to be free, and they cherished that freedom to this day.

      Yes, the absence of the American president was noted, so to make up they sent Kerry the week after. He speaks French pretty fluently because he’s lived there for a while. Wonder why he didn’t come last Sunday 🙂

      Thanks so much for your input Donna.

  • Adeel Sami says:

    Hello Sylviane,

    I do condemn what happened in France by the terrorist but I also condemn what Charlie Hebdo did in their first magazine issue after the attack. But… (speaking for just myself) it is not forcing me to kill anyone in its result.

    I always say and defend that killing anyone is not the answer to anything. In such time of technology and everything, we and the western people are far different in everything and distance is being widening up as times move on so is the radicalization in our side against west. Still, there are people who love peace and harmony and express it through the pen because it is a very beautiful way to let the world know that not everyone is the same as they are shown on TV.

    I always pray for the peace between everyone and hope that the hatred looses its ground very soon, amen…

    • Hi Adeel,

      I think that the problem starts with the lack of understanding other cultures. in the western world there is the right to do and think pretty much anything we want. We can make fun of our very own country leaders, religious leaders and so on. In the eastern world that doesn’t exist.

      As a friend of mine told me once (he’s original from Ivory Cost) In the US and in Europe being a president is just a job, a service to society, in Africa, for example, it’s not a job it’s a power trip that can last for decades.

      The last cover of Charlie Hebdo had nothing mean in it. Again it’s all about understanding it.

      Thanks so much for your input.

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