Wednesday, 21 January 2015

English version of the Charlie Hebdo editorial following the attack

Knowing that despite the staggering seven million copies printed, not everyone would have been able to see it, French blogger Antoine Léaument has kindly shared the editorial published by Charlie Hebdo in its issue following the terror attacks last week.

With a similar aim of getting as many people as possible to read the piece, I have produced a rough and ready English translation of said editorial that you can read below.

I attended two of the gatherings that took place in London (on 07th and 11th January) to show solidarity with the victims. My pictures of the events are here and here.

You can make a donation to Charlie Hebdo here.

Will there still be "yes, buts"?
Charlie Hebdo Editorial, No. 1178 of January 14, 2015

For the past week, Charlie, an atheist newspaper, has performed more miracles than all the saints and prophets combined. What we are most proud of is that you have in your hands the paper we have always made in the company of those who have always made it. What made us laugh the most is that the bells of Notre Dame have rung in our honor ... For the past week, Charlie worldwide has moved much more than mountains. For the past week, as Willem has so beautifully drawn it, Charlie has lots of new friends. Anonymous people and global celebrities, the humble and the well-off, the disbelievers and the clerics, the sincere and the Jesuits, some we will keep for life and some here only briefly. Today we take them all, we do not have the time or the heart to sort them out. But we are not fooled either. We thank with all our heart those, in millions, whether private citizens or embodying institutions, who are really on our side, who, sincerely and deeply, "are Charlie". They know who they are. And fuck off to the others, who, in any case, don't give a shit...

One question, though, torments us: are we finally going to get the political and intellectual vocabulary rid of the dirty words "fundamentalist secularist"? Are we finally going to stop inventing scholarly semantic convolutions to similarly qualify the murderers and their victims?

In recent years, we have felt a bit alone, trying to push back with pencil strokes the direct crap and the pseudo intellectual niceties that have been thrown in our faces, and the faces of those friends of ours who strongly defended secularism: islamophobes, christianophobes, provocaters, irresponsible people, throwers of oil on fire, racists, you-got-it-coming ... Yes, we condemn terrorism but. Yes, threatening cartoonists with death, it's not nice, but. Yes, burning down a newspaper, it's wrong, but. We've heard everything, and so have our friends. We have often tried to laugh at this, because this is what we do best. But now we would like to laugh at something else. Because it is already starting again. The blood of Cabu, Charb, Honoré, Tignous, Wolinski, Elsa Cayat Bernard Maris, Mustapha Ourrad, Michel Renaud, Franck Brinsolaro, Frédéric Boisseau, Ahmed Merabet, Clarissa Jean-Philippe, Philip Braham, Yohan Cohen, Yoav Hattab, François Michel Saada, had not yet dried that Thierry Meyssan explained to his Facebook fans that it was obviously a Judeo-Americano-Western plot. We could already hear here and there, delicate mouths pouting over the last Sunday's rally, drooling from the corner of their lips the eternal quibbles aimed at justifying, openly or quietly, terrorism and religious fascism, and getting indignant, among other things, of celebrations of the police = SS. No, in this massacre, there is no death less unjust than others. Franck, who died on the premises of Charlie, and his colleagues killed during this week's barbarism, died to defend ideas that maybe were not even theirs.

We will still going to try to be optimistic, although it's not the season. We will hope that, as of this January 7, 2015, the firm defense of secularism will be obvious to everyone, people will finally stop, as posturing, as electoral calculation or as cowardice, to legitimise or even tolerate communitarianism and cultural relativism, which open the way to one thing only: religious totalitarianism. Yes, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a reality, yes, international geopolitics are a succession of maneuverings and dirty tricks, yes, the social situation of, as they call them, "populations of Muslim origin" in France is deeply unfair, yes, racism and discrimination must be fought relentlessly. Fortunately, there are several tools to address these serious problems, but they are all ineffective if one is missing: secularism. Not positive secularism, not inclusive secularism, not secularism-I-don't-know-what: secularism, period. It alone allows, because it advocates the universality of rights, the exercise of equality, of liberty, of fraternity, of sorority. It alone allows full freedom of conscience, a freedom that denies, more or less openly, according to their PR positioning, all religions as soon as they leave the field of strict privacy to descend unto the political field. It alone allows, ironically, believers and non-believers, to live in peace. All those who claim to defend Muslims by accepting the religious totalitarian discourse are in fact defend the executioners. The first victims of Islamic fascism are Muslims people.

The millions of anonymous people, all the institutions, all the heads of state and government, all the political, intellectual and media personalities, all the clerics who this week proclaimed "Je suis Charlie" need to know that it means also "Je suis pour la laïcité/I am for secularism." We are convinced that for the majority of our supporters, this goes without saying. The others can fuck off.

One more thing, an important one. We would also like to send a message to Pope Francis, who "est Charlie" also, this week: we only welcome the bells of Notre Dame ringing in our honor when it is members of Femen who make them resound.


  1. Thank you so much for translating the editorial. Please see

  2. If Charlie Hebdo stands with Femen, a group that openly celebrated castration of males on their website (and perhaps still does.. I'm not going to check), then Charlie is not for equality, and I am definitely not Charlie.

    When the terrorists attacked Charlie, they explicitly spared the women. This was an attack on men, but we all know there will be no white ribbon campaign for it. Men are supposed to die this way.

    1. Randy, FYI, Elsa Cayat, a psychologist who was writing a column every week in Charlie Hebdo, was killed by the terrorists. She was a woman... some other female journalists survived only because they were not in the editorial room that day.


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