France's 'spirit of January 11' or the ghost of a unity that passed

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‘The spirit of January 11’, which alighted upon millions of demonstrators who marched together in homage to the victims of the attacks against Charlie Hebdo magazine and the kosher supermarket Hyper Casher, has evolved into a confusing scrum, a macabre dance with a cortege of grimacing masks, heroic posturing, and denunciations. From the days following the attacks, marked by an authentic collective emotion, and the demonstrations and marches that followed – spontaneous at first but then scene-staged by the media and the authorities – and from the viral outbreak of #jesuisCharlie to the Pentecostal ‘Spirit of January 11’, a brand line has emerged that is supposed to federate the confusing and ambiguous effects of the events.