Charlie Hebdo attack: Staff vow to keep going

Front pages of French newspapers after the attack on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Picture: AFP
Front pages of French newspapers after the attack on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Picture: AFP
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THE remaining staff of Charlie Hebdo have defiantly vowed to show that “stupidity will not win”, as they revealed plans to publish the next edition of the newspaper just seven days after their colleagues were gunned down in the worst terrorist attack in France in a generation.

One of the surviving staffers of the satirical publication, columnist and doctor Patrick Pelloux – who was among the first to enter the offices after 12 people were killed by masked men carrying Kalashnikovs – said that the next edition, due to come out on Wednesday, will have a print run of around a million – far above its usual circulation of 60,000.

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It is believed the eight-page publication – around half the size of the usual title – will include contributions from cartoonists from around the world.

Meanwhile, a Muslim police officer, the founder of a major arts festival and a member of catering staff have emerged as being among the 12 victims of Wednesday’s attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo.

A psychologist who wrote a column for the paper, as well as a copy editor, were also among those killed alongside five well-known cartoonists – Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier, Georges Wolinski, Bernard “Tignous” Verlhac, Jean “Cabu” Cabut and Philippe Honoré – and an economist, Bernard Maris, who was on the board of Charlie Hebdo.

Policeman Ahmed Merabet, widely described by local media as a married man and a Muslim, was on cycle patrol when he became embroiled in the incident.

Graphic footage surfaced in the hours after the massacre of him lying injured on a pavement and apparently raising his arms in defence before one of the gunmen shot him dead. Michel Renaud was one of two founders of the biennial Carnet de Voyage in Clermont-Ferrand. Those he worked with at the festival are “in mourning”, a statement on its website said.

Newspaper reports in France have said that Mr Renaud had gone to visit Charlie Hebdo’s offices with another member of his organisation, Gérard Gaillard, who survived the gunfire, to visit cartoonist Cabu, who was a guest of honour at last year’s Carnet de Voyage. It has also been reported that he had been invited to be a guest editor at the paper.

Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Elsa Cayat was the only woman killed in the massacre. She wrote a twice-monthly column for Charlie Hebdo entitled Charlie Divan (“Charlie Couch”) and published essays on relations between men and women and sexuality. Copy editor Mustapha Ourrad also died in the gunfire, as did Franck Brinsolaro, a 49-year-old police officer who was attached to the Service de Protection des Hautes Personnalités and was tasked with Charb’s personal protection.

Mr Pelloux, an accident and emergency doctor who wrote a regular column for the paper, took care of his wounded colleagues and friends after arriving on the scene.

“It was horrible: many had passed away, they were shot execution-style,” said Mr Pelloux, who was outside the building at the time of the attack and on his way to another meeting before he was called back to give medical assistance.

“We were able to save the others, who are feeling better this morning.”

But he vowed that the remaining staff would stay strong.

“The paper will continue because they didn’t win,” he said, adding that the magazine was well aware of the controversy it caused. “It’s very hard. We are all suffering with grief, with fear, but we will do it anyway because stupidity will not win.

“We need to ensure an even better newspaper, so we will do it. I don’t know how we’ll write it with our tears.

“Charb knew that in all rallies held by fundamentalists all over the world, Charlie Hebdo was mentioned and targeted,” said Mr Pelloux. “We were an enemy of paper and pencil.”

Rival publication Siné Mensuel said it would provide articles and cartoons for the coming issues of Charlie Hebdo.

“Our cartoonists, editors, journalists raised their hands without hesitation,” a spokesman said.

Martin Rowson, chairman of the British Cartoonists’ Association, writing in a national newspaper, yesterday called for his fellow cartoonists to “join him in donating a free drawing”.

Dr Barbara Lebrun, senior lecturer in contemporary French politics and culture at the University of Manchester, said that one of the biggest shocks was that the attack was on a newspaper that did not represent the French political or ideological establishment.

She described the newspaper as “anti-clerical and anti-establishment all its life”.

Google France yesterday adopted the black Je Suis Charlie logo, while Google internationally sported a black ribbon in memory of the victims and donated £200,000 to the newspaper.

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