Je Suis Charlie

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Je Suis Charlie

French Property Insider
Volume XIII, Issue 2
Thursday, January 8, 2015 • Paris, France

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There simply is no other news to speak of in Paris. By now, the reverberations are heard and felt the world over about the violent terrorist attack that took place yesterday minutes before I wandered over for my usual lunch at Café Charlot and taking place just a few blocks away at the offices of the publication “Charlie Hebdo.”

Charlie Hebo Love HateRue NicolasRue NicolasAttack on Charlie Hebdo - Paris, FrancePolice respond to the attack on Charlie HebdoThousands fill Place de la RépubliqueThousands fill Place de la RépubliqueDemonstration in Los Angeles - Je Suis CharlieDemonstration in Los AngelesKatherine and Madeleine Fugate - Je Suis CharlieKatherine and Madeleine Fugate

It’s not a very important publication from the point of view of readership, with a declining readership to about 50,000 last year and suffering economically like most journals in today’s world. But, it stood out as one that took risks of making fun at things others might consider more serious. Yesterday they learned just how serious, with their editor, Stéphane Charbonnier (who used the pen name “Charb”) killed in the attack, along with three other cartoonists, known as Cabu, Tignous, and Wolinski.

There’s so much news and conversation about the horrendous event that shook a middle class neighborhood in central Paris and now the entire world and about the two brothers who entered the offices and orchestrated the murder with precision who are still at large, that we certainly don’t need to regurgitate it all here. Pick up any paper, open any Web site, turn on any news channel and you’ll hear all about it. France 24, the national news channel, has not stopped their coverage of the event since noon yesterday, with the exception of reporting on the weather. All other news has been considered ‘non-newsworthy’ as they focus on this tragedy. (Visit their site to watch the news coverage live on your computer.)

Last night many, many thousands of people filled Place de la République just a few blocks from my humble home to show their solidarity against the attack on what the media is calling an attack on our primary and shared values — freedom of speech being at the very top of the list. American writer Katherine Fugate who is a part-time resident of Paris, was among those as far away as Los Angeles, demonstrating for freedom of speech with the new catch phrase “Je suis Charlie” to show solidarity. (Je Suis Charlie)

It’s that freedom of speech that affords me to write what I want to write and you the right to read what you want to read. Where would we be without it? I’ll tell you where: we’d be ignorant.

Yesterday, Charlie Hebdo was hardly known. Today, it’s known the world over. My first thoughts went to the phrase “Don’t shoot the messenger.” It’s a “metaphoric phrase used to describe the act of lashing out at the (blameless) bearer of bad news.” (Wikipedia.org) When messages came in the form of a human envoy, the bearer of unpopular news was in jeopardy of the receiver’s anger. The phrase was expressed by Shakespeare in Henry IV and again in Antony and Cleopatra when Cleopatra learns that Antony has married another woman, she flies into a rage, “beats the messenger herself, and eventually draws a knife. He runs away, thinking his job was to tell the truth, not to bear its consequences.” (Act II, Scene V, shmoop.com/)

What fascinates me, too, is how the action works against the goals of the perpetrators. If what they wanted was revenge for those who had “insulted” the prophet Muhammad, it’s not going to serve well for the Islamic community by world opinion. In an Op Ed article in the New York Times yesterday by Nicholas Kristof, he questions “Is Islam to Blame for the Shooting at Charlie Hebdo in Paris?

They would have gained much more respect by using the proverbial pen in place of the sword, just as Charlie Hebdo has now gained respect for having stood for the principals of freedom of speech simply by being their victims. Often the actions of a person, an organization or even a government, don’t take into consideration the natural reaction and the final outcome. When the Paris taxis went on strike recently against the unfair competition of Uber, Uber’s business increased by 600% — not what they intended or wanted! When the French government was deeply in debt (as it is now) and attempted to restore its financial status through unpopular taxation schemes (as it is now), the French revolution took place!

Today is declared a day of mourning in France. French President François Hollande said: “At 12 noon there will be a moment of silence… and I invite the whole population to take part.” On this, I am in agreement with France’s most unpopular president.

A bientôt ,

 Adrian Leeds, French Property Insider - By Phil MashAdrian Leeds

Director of The Adrian Leeds Group

(By Phil Mash)

Respond to Adrian: fpi@adrianleeds.com

P.S. Many thanks to all of you who wrote in to show your concern and support. We are moved by your comments and thoughts.


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