“1 year after, the killer still at large,” says the special Charlie Hebdo edition, which is due to hit the newsstands on the anniversary of the bloody attack on the offices of the satirical weekly magazine, and began one of the bloodiest “peace time” years in recent history.
On January 7, 2015, two Islamist gunmen forced their way into the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo and opened fire, killing twelve and wounding eleven, four of them seriously. During the attack, the gunmen cried “Allahu akbar,” which has since become the most familiar, nightmarish sound in our culture, combining religion and a thirst for blood in previously unimagined ways. The two gunmen were French Muslim brothers of Algerian descent.
Two days later, on January 9, a man affiliated with ISIS, armed with assault rifles and pistols, entered and attacked the civilians inside a Hypercacher kosher food superette at Porte de Vincennes in east Paris. He killed four people, all of whom were Jews, and took several hostages.
The satirical magazine will print one million copies, to be sold globally in honor of its murdered staff members. The special edition is 32 pages long, featuring cartoons by the victims of the attack.
Perhaps those three days of fury would pale in comparison with the Paris attack of Friday, November 13, in which 130 people died. What’s more likely is that Parisians, like most other Europeans, have over this past year realized the magnitude and real danger of the Islamist menace in their midst. National Front leader Marine Le Pen, although defeated in recent regional elections by a rare act of cooperation on the part of its center and left foes, is still holding strong, hoping to use the national rage against the dangers of Islam as a catapult to the presidency.
Last Friday, France’s highest decoration, The Legion of Honor, was awarded posthumously to the victims of the January attacks. On Monday, President François Hollande unveiled plaques at the two sites of those attacks. Next Sunday, at the Place de la République, Hollande will preside over the planting of a 30 ft tall oak tree in memory of the victims. Pop singer Johnny Hallyday, now 72, will sing “A Sunday in January,” about the millions who marched in protest of the Charlie and kosher supermarket attacks.
And just to show the feisty magazine hasn’t missed a beat despite it all, its new editor, Laurent Sourisseau, a.k.a. Riss, who was seriously wounded in last year’s attack, has written a lead article attacking “fanatics made into imbeciles by the Koran” and “hypocrites of other faiths” who wanted Charlie dead because it made fun of religion. “The beliefs of atheists and lay campaigners can move more mountains than the faith of believers,” Riss wrote. “They will not see Charlie croak. Charlie will see them croak first.”