Three years on from the massacre, what has become of the 'spirit of Charlie'?


Three years ago on January 11th, 2015, a series of massive marches were held across France to show solidarity with the victims of the murderous terror attack on the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo four days earlier. Its theme, which went global, was “Je suis Charlie” - “I'm Charlie”. Last Saturday, January 6th, three groups organised a gathering in Paris under the title “Toujours Charlie” or “Still Charlie”. But as Joseph Confavreux reports, the event lacked both the caustic spirit of Charlie Hebdo and the collective spirit of the January 11th marches. Instead, he argues, it was more about the groups involved marking out a political and media niche for themselves.

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“Rather than a deep reflection on the basis of a renewed social contract which was less prescriptive and more pragmatic, ideology took hold. 'Je suis Charlie' became the magic label that you bandied around for your own interests, struggles and prejudices; in plain terms, an order. This order, which inevitably harmed the initial momentum, varied according to who used the slogan. It sought to bring together as much as to exclude, to bring together by excluding...”