Charlie Hebdo attack: ‘they tried to kill freedom’

by Vasile Badoiu

Hebdo1280Two gunmen forced their way into the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris on 7 January 2015 and killed 12 people.

For Nour Abida, a journalism student at Coventry University, it was shocking in a very personal way.

She is a French Muslim whose home is in Paris – and she knew one of the journalists who was killed. She worked with the famous cartoonist Charb on a children’s newspaper in Paris.

She said: “I’m very shocked about what happened in Paris. It’s the most deadly episode we have had in many years. It’s comparable to 9/11 for us even though there weren’t as many victims.”

Like many people, she saw it as an attack on freedom of speech. “Instead of using words and talking to show they disagreed with those cartoonists and this newspapers, they used guns. So yes, they have tried to kill the freedom of expression.”

This tragic event, which ended up with the killing of 12 people, was a shock for the entire world. On 11 January about two million people and 40 world leaders marched to honour the victims and to voice support for freedom of speech.

A week after the attack, the new edition of the  Charlie Hebdo was published. Three million copies were printed rather than the usual 60,000, but it was not enough. Eventually seven million were printed.

Nour said: “I think it outlines the unity of French people, even though most of them don’t usually read Charlie Hebdo. They would buy it just to show sympathy and to show they support the fight against terrorism and violence.”

According to the Coventry Telegraph, “a mere 30 copies of Charlie Hebdo are thought to be sold in the UK in a normal week – but distributor Comag is understood to have increased this to somewhere between 700 and 1,200 copies” for the special edition.

The event inspired Nour to start a project at the university to discuss world issues and journalism. She said: “I don’t think that most people are aware of the ordeal some people have to overcome in their lives and this needs to change because we are the next generation and in a few years we’ll be the ones taking the power.”

Sub-edited by Simon Pipe


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