Last January 07, 2020, France commemorated the fifth year of the fateful day Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical news magazine, was attacked by militant islamists. Two jihadists linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist group, slaughtered 12 people, mostly journalists and cartoonists including the magazine’s editor Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier and the policemen assigned to protect him, whilst leaving 11 others critically injured.
In marking the 5th death anniversary of their slain colleagues, the weekly magazine released a special issue featuring contributions coming from the families of the victims as well as the survivors of the massacre.
French social media sites were alive with tweets and Instagram posts using the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie (I am Charlie) to honour and keep alive the memory of the victims who died as a result of the Charlie Hebdo massacre five years ago.
About 50 people gathered to pay their respect at the site that formerly served as the Charlie Hebdo headquarters. Many gave tributes and laid wreaths, while others read commemorative plaques. It was described as a moment of solidarity in which several minutes of silence were observed in remembering the victims who died and suffered in one of the most violent Islamic terrorist attacks in France. Among those who attended was Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, former French President Francois Hollande and Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet.
French Minister of Culture Announces Plans for Creation of Centre for Cartoonists
In marking the 5th death anniversary of Charlie Hebdo victims, the French government joined the commemoration by announcing that a “House of Press and Satirical Cartoons” will be established.
According to incumbent Minister of Culture Frank Riesler, the cartoon centre is a project that was conceived and longed for by Georges Wolinski, one of five satirical cartoonists killed in the 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre. While living, Wolinski had plans to create a place where satirical cartoonists could congregate and meet to enable the advancement and promotion of their satirical illustrations.
“I am convinced that today, we need to dedicate a place where creators of press cartoons and satirical cartoons can meet and train as well as put in exhibit their creations, as had been wished for by Georges Wolinski.”
The Minister of Culture’s statement also conveyed that the government acknowledges that press cartoon is a powerful form of creativity and expression in ensuring the independence of media, and in keeping the vitality of the country’s democracies. He also acknowledged the need to protect and defend press and satirical cartoonists, as the recurring threats continue to weigh down on them as a new form of censorship on what they should create as “witness to our time and to the dangers that threaten our freedom.”