The first edition of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo after the brutal assassination of eight of its staffers has sold out in Paris, minutes after it was made available.
The weekly’s cover shows the Prophet Muhammad crying, holding up a sign that says, “Je Suis Charle” or “I am Charlie” – the slogan that became popular across the world following the attacks. The headline read ‘All is forgiven’.
Gunmen in Paris mowed down 12 people in all a week ago. While four more were killed in separate attacks across the city.
A WSJ report captured the drama in the newsroom as the latest cover was created. Cartoonist Rénald Luzier also known as Luz is gave a “tearful account Tuesday of how he drew the cover illustration after hours of trying to strike the right tone”. The WSJ quoted Luz saying: “I looked at Muhammad. He was crying. And then, above, I wrote ‘All is forgiven,’ and I wept,” he told a news conference. “And there it was. We had found our cover—not the one the world wanted us to make, but the one we wanted to make.”
The attack on Charlie Hebdo has triggered waves of protest and divided opinion sharply all over the world, including on whether or not to publish the cartoons. Laurent Leger, a reporter for Charlie Hebdo who survived the shooting told the same WSJ writer that it’s been extremely moving – and also hypocritical. “All of a sudden, we are supported by the entire world. Whereas for years we were completely alone.”
Not surprisingly, Charlie Hebdo says it will continue to attack one and all, including those who turned out in Paris on Sunday in a dramatic show of solidarity and support. Last week’s massive rally included heads of states and governments from from Turkey, Egypt, and Russia, countries that Charlie Hebdo has criticized for curbing free speech. “All those dictators at a march celebrating liberty,” Mr. Léger told the WSJ. “We of course are going to continue the mockery. We’ll see if it makes them jump.”
French President François Hollande himself provided material when he met Charlie Hebdo survivors during Sunday’s rally. Just before Mr. Hollande hugged contributor Patrick Pelloux in an emotional embrace on live television, a pigeon defecated on the president’s shoulder. The rest of the Charlie Hebdo team burst into laughter, writes the WSJ.