23 June, 2021

Check Out Charlie

Joining the Charlie Hebdo tragedy with France’s maladjusted millions

Check Out Charlie

The last I spoke to ‘Charb’ or Stephane Charbonnier, the slain editor-in chief of Charlie Hebdo, was on November 22, 2014. We had featured together in a current affairs programme on the Franco-German television channel Arte. I was analysing the week’s news. Charb was live-cartooning.

“How are things going at Charlie, have the threats lessened somewhat?” I asked him later. “Oh no,” he twinkled. “They haven’t in the least. If at all, they’ve increased.” “Your offices were burnt...in two separate attacks. Are you not afraid?” I asked. “Who isn’t afraid? But I willingly chose this profession. I wasn’t forced to become a journalist or cartoonist. But a safe nine-to-five job was never for me.... I also know what my convictions are,” he said, his youthful smile belied the seriousness of his words.

Charb and his colleagues never compromised. “We run a mile from the politically correct,” Wolinski, the doyen of the pack, said once....

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