As a journalism student and a French citizen; I wanted to write a post about the Charlie Hebdo’s terrorists attack. I will provide links to explain the events, even if most people are aware; but what I really want is to express myself on that subject.
It has been a really dark week in France, and since the beginning I found it really hard to express my feelings on what had happened. Living abroad meant that I knew really little number of French people, and so talking about it with my friends was hard because they did not felt about it the same way I did, and they did not feel the same need as me to talk about it.
I am not going to lie, it is true that I had never heard of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo beforehand, however I knew some of the fallen cartoonists’ works. But I am not going to lie either, when I heard the news of the shooting, I was completely shocked; I sat on my chair and starred at the videos playing on my laptop. Maybe I am still young and I have this habit of idealizing the world and the people, but I could not believe that people were capable of committing such violence and such crimes. Yet we can hear news of barbaric acts all over the world everyday; targeting innocent people and killing tens, hundreds, thousands…
And it has now been a week since the first shooting, but I still feel the lump in my throat when seeing tributes online, on TV, on the radio or in the newspapers. As far away as I am, I have never felt as close to France as last week. They attacked the city I was born in, they attacked my country, they attacked the institutions and the vision of the world I was raised in. How ironic is that, “War on Freedom” (Headline from the Telegraph) in the city called “the city of love”; how weird is it to say, “They have been killed from drawing”; all that make me question the world we live in.
And while talking about this world, I know that I am not talking on behalf of France, but I feel that it is important to thank the rest of the world, for their unity and their support concerning this war; because it is not only a war against France, or a satirical magazine; it is a war against the freedom of expression, one of the foundation of Republic. In the same way, I want to apologize for the millions of Muslims in France and all around the world, for the people that blame them for what happened. I know that my knowledge of religion is not good enough, so I am not going to extend on that subject, but I will still and always believe that I know the difference between any religion, and fanatics that kill people.
“Ils voulaient nous faire taire, mais il n’auront qu’une minute”
It means, “They wanted us to remain silent, but they will only obtain one minute”. I found it while looking for every information, every detail and every tribute of these attacks, and it is one of those that reflect exactly what I think. I am not going to deny it, I am scared, I don’t think I have ever been this scared for the future. But it is also the kind of fear that drives me towards a goal. It is that feeling that makes me want to stand up for our rights and not simply accept silently what happened, and certainly not say, as some people said “They deserved it”. The freedom of expression is one of the basic human rights, and even if it is hard to define, no one deserves to be killed for a drawing.
Seeing the reactions of the terrorists to the magazine and they drawings, made me realise how frightened they can be by media, and at the same time perceived the range of the power of media; the power of words on people. That is what motivates me to be a journalist, the power of these words on the people, that is what I want to use to make a change in the world, to make our planet a better place for all of us; and so if there is one thing that I have to learn from these shootings, it would be that if I want to make a change, the medias’ power can help me reach that goal.
These are some of the best tributes that I found, both in French and in English:
* “Je suis Charlie. Je suis policier. Je suis juif. Je suis musulman. Je suis juste un citoyen du monde et un habitant de la terre consterné un peu plus chaque jour par la connerie humaine »
* “Ils voulaient mettre la France à genoux, ils l’ont mis debout. 17 morts, 66 millions de blesses”
Link for a better understanding of what happened :