Messages and banners filed on the Place de la République in Paris on January 7, 2016, in tribute to the victims of the January 2015 attacks
Organizations defending secularity celebrate Saturday freedom of expression in tribute to the victims of the attacks of January 2015 and in search of a „Charlie spirit“ become less consensual or even, for some, denatured.
Three years after the death of 12 people in the attack on the weekly Charlie Hebdo – the beginning of a wave of jihadist attacks in France that left 241 dead – many supporters of the newspaper will gather at the Folies Bergères in Paris, for an afternoon of debate and a show in the evening.
The event, titled „Always Charlie!“, Is organized by the Republican Spring, the League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Licra) and the Committee Laïcité République, three associations very active in the secular fight that has evolved into field of ideological clashes very lively.
Some 1,500 people are expected, including politicians, including former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, founder of Femen Inna Shevchenko, Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen or philosopher Elisabeth Badinter.
Charlie Hebdo will be represented by his editor Gérard Biard and its director of human resources Marika Bret. But other members of the team will not be there „for security reasons,“ according to an organizer.
The weekly described in its issue Wednesday its daily bunkérisé, his „three years in a tin can“, under high protection.
Three years later, „the tribute“ doubles as a spirit of „combat“. „Yes, the fight, because we did not expect to relive the debates that have been resurfaced in recent weeks, extremely violent,“ said AFP President of the Republican Spring, Amine El Khatmi. „It has been found that more and more people are openly saying,“ I’m not Charlie +, + this journal is going too far, „he says.
This local socialist leader still has in mind the accusations of „Islamophobia“ that targeted Charlie Hebdo after his one on the bombings in Barcelona last August, titled „Islam, religion of eternal peace.“ But also, more recently, the frontal collision with the site Médiapart Edwy Plenel, who had accused the weekly to participate in a „war on Muslims“ – before confessing to have „surreagi“ – against the backdrop of Tariq Ramadan.
„The challenge of our event is to remember that to say + I am Charlie + it does not mean + I am Charlie Hebdo + One can perfectly assume disagreements with what this weekly does, be disturbed, shocked, but this is no more important than the right of a newspaper to be able to enjoy without hindrance of the freedom of expression „, argues the head of the Republican Spring. „It seemed like it was three years ago, it seems to be less so today,“ he says.
– „National Union“ –
Copies of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, on the display of a kiosk in Lyon, February 25, 2015
What remains of „Charlie’s spirit“ or „the spirit of January 11“, this historic Sunday of 2015, which saw more than four million French people come down in the streets after the attacks? He is today „polysemous, many people invoke, but not in the same direction,“ said political scientist Thomas Guénolé, a member of France rebellious. It deplores anis an „attempt to privatize the spirit Charlie by components of public debate, as well as by political figures“, from the extreme right to the left vallsiste.
According to this committed observer, „it would have been possible to maintain a quasi-unanimous national unity, including among French Muslims, in favor of freedom of expression, the right to caricature, against communitarianism and the Islamist expression“ if was not born a „principle of suspicion“ towards Muslims.
A historian of secularism, Jean Bauberot also deplores the fact that militants „make themselves owners of the Charlie spirit when the demonstration of January 11th was consensual“. There were „all supporters of secularism with their differences, it is normal that there are,“ says he.
Amine El Khatmi defends the commitment of „activists“ who, as such, may be „excessive“. „I prefer vigilantes and Republicans in front of people who publish death threats“ and „unbearable insults that the writing of Charlie Hebdo,“ he says.