French Editor Who Gave Refuge to Charlie Hebdo Staff After 2011 Attack Says: "I'm Devastated."

Comments

1
Excellent interview. Well done, Sydney.
2
bullies killed by bullies, again and again. violence is justified and unjustifiable, again and again.
3
@ 2, cartoonists are not bullies. Not here.
4
Welp, now I'm trying not to cry on the bus.
5
Great interview, nice job. The whole thing makes me think what I would feel if someone did a drive-by on The Onion or Mad back in their day.
6
Great interview. Made me sad reading it
7
Hi Sydney, welcome. Missed your intro the other day. I hope your time at the Stranger is rewarding.

A bit of criticism. You asked some important questions and did a good job making this situation relevant to American experience and issues around these same problems. However, among the things that stuck with me from my very brief exploration of the journalism major was "Never ask the survivors of a tragedy how they feel." I realize something is needed to get the ball rolling, but it should be something else.

His direct answer to that question tells us nothing. Moreover, there's an unspoken part of his first sentence that hangs in the air as plain as day ("I lost friends"—"how the fuck do you think I feel?!"). He explains very eloquently how he feels in response to the other, far more open-ended and useful questions.
8
@2 - my response to those who do not seem to understand what free speech really means:

"Satire is not specifically French, it has been used since centuries in many countries, yes, to offend, provoke, stimulate, argue etc... yet it is still "humor". Freedom of speech does not mean having endless access to diets, cooking recipes, gossip, dating tips, horoscopes and what not. CharieHebdo's satire style had nothing to do with the political satire propaganda used by nazi-communist-totalitarian regimes; it may ridicule, but will not "offend to a grocening extent" for a mind with a little bit of critical sense/sense of humor. These murdered cartoonists were also writers, philosophers, thinkers apart from being good "farceurs" - highly engaged in societal matters. They are icons because they always fought for freedom of speech, always fought against totalitarism of any kinds and brainwashing consumerist media, *not* because they have been sadly murdered. If religions are to be respected, those "claiming to be religious" should respect life first."
I found this from a commenter after an article that was trying to "remind" us that while it was truly truly, *sniff*, sad, what happened to CharlieHedbo, let us not forget what they were really about.
I am saddened when people are incapable of recognizing free speech when they see it. Yes. What they put up was incredibly offensive. It was meant to be. They took the words and actions of others and showed them for the ugliness that they really were, using satire. It's painful to see things about us mocked or to see others being mocked - however, in context, it's powerful. It creates conversation and hopefully shames those who gave CharlieHebdo and other's like them in the media, their fodder.
If someone uses hate speech and comes up and says they are doing the same as CH or others and you can't see the difference.. if that's what this is about? I don't know how to help you. You're missing a gradient color out of your rainbow of what makes the world go 'round - and maybe we have to leave it at that.
I'll give a purely theoretical example:
My son is autistic. It was a very painful experience when I had to face the fact that he was - because quite frankly, I was in denial. I knew something wasn't right - had for a long time, but autistic? No. When they used those words, my stomach sank and I spent days in a daze. I didn't go to websites to read about autism or anything like that. I avoided them like the plague because it was a blatant slap in the face - and I didn't want to wake up.
Now let's say some jerk face politician or group made some horrible comments about autism, or referred to them as "retarded". I even had a gamer ask me if my son was "retarded" when they heard him in the background over vent. Then, let's say, a magazine, like CH, takes the words of that group and recreates it in a picture.. maybe even a drawing - showing individuals from that group, or that politician as autistic (very visibly so) as a way to mock what they said. What should my reaction be? Would I be hurt? Yeah. I would find it painful to look at. I wouldn't like it. I can imagine my stomach sinking again. Just like it does now when I hear comics make jokes about autism - something, before I had my son, I probably would have laughed at - or at least rolled my eyes, but certainly not gotten offended by.
However let me tell you the difference:
A. I would DIE for the right of that magazine to do what they did. Even if it hurt me personally. It's political speech. End. Of. Story.
B. I'd kick the ass of anyone who came up and called my son "retarded" and I would reserve my true anger for the political group that was being mocked in the first place - because without their hatred? Their would be nothing to be mocked.
If you cannot see the difference between A & B? There is not much to be done. I realize that it would be nice to live in a world where we all turned the other cheek - but you know - Free speech is free speech. Grow up and deal.
Je suis Charlie. All the way, baby.
9
Beautiful interview. Thanks.
10
Bien sur. C'est Dommage.

Nous sommes Charlie!

Je regret the la tragedie.

11
@3 of course they were bullying, have you looked at the nastiness?

@8 yes, it is free speech and (really ugly) satire, and i'd say all speech is political speech; it is also bullying. if a classmate of your kid kept putting up nasty pictures of you to piss your kid off, you'd call it for the bullying it is. you'd switch schools when the teacher and court says, "nothing to do, free speech and all." (and when you can't switch schools- tell your kid to get over it?) (charged examples aside, peace to you and your kid, i'm really glad autism is becoming better understood and accepted.)

senseless cartoons, senseless violence, again and again one violence is justified and another unjustifiable. yes, hateful old drunks with juvenile sensibilities can be bullies with a pen, and this doesn't make their murderers any less murderous, nor does it make their violent speech any less violent. bullies brutalize bullies, hatred excuses hatred, again and again and again.
12
Great interview and especially good job of connecting with someone who could articulate what the victims are to the French and the French left in particular.
13
@11,

Critical and mean speech is not violent. What is with millennials and y'all's insistence that someone saying something mean to you is the same thing as physical harm? Fuck off with that shit.
14
@12
I hardly see anything nasty in Charlie Hebdo's stuff. They usually make a difference between Islam and the wackos, for example, and if we can't laugh at wackos because it is nasty to do so, what else aren't we allowed to do?

I'll bet you also think that Dan Savage calling out the bigots is nasty.
15
@11 what @13 said and: public figures, nations, ideologies, religions - these are not vulnerable children in a school. I am willing to grant you that bullying and satire exist distantly on the same spectrum. But it is intellectually depraved of you to equate them. The subjects of the cartoons should stand up to questioning to be worth their stature. Satire and lampoon are -sometimes gross- meaningful
16
@15 whoops! Meaningful traditions in the history of questioning those Untouchable Institutions.
17
Re: 7, I realize that though journalism schools teach the precept of not asking tragedy victims/survivors how they feel, it is regularly violated in particular by if-it-bleeds-it-leads local TV news operations.

The Stranger's provocations tend to fall in either of two categories: a) irreverent/inconsequential/humorous/crude, b) remarkably expedient in moving politicians and/or public opinion.
18
@15,

Even regarding vulnerable children in a school, there are (or should be) limits to what is considered bullying or not. Consistent harassment that makes it difficult for the victim to function (let alone excel) in an educational setting? Bullying that needs to be stopped. One kid insulting another kid in a one-off? Likely not bullying.

One necessary aspect of becoming a functioning adult is figuring out how to live in a world where plenty of people don't like you and aren't afraid to show it.
19
@18 no argument here.
20
@13 if the intent is to offend and incense and otherwise cause hurt, as the cartoons clearly are, it is violent; sticks and stones break bones but words can wound much more deeply.

@14 calling out, denouncing or insulting someone, bigot or not, is one thing. getting lots of people to call someone shit-sperm is indeed bullying, being to no end but to use hurting someone else to make oneself feel in charge.

@15 these cartoons are felt, and and intended to be felt, as personal attacks, not as dialogue in (imaginary) secular space, though that is a buffer used to excuse them. they are crude, acrid, with no effect but to bully, and the whole is childish: drunk 80 year old teens taunting those emotionally unstable enough to kill their taunters.

i do not see anyone 'getting what's coming' nor w'hat they deserve,' just sorrow begetting sorrow, hate sprouting hate, again and again. one violence justified, another unjustifiable, again and again.
21
@20 "getting lots of people to call someone shit-sperm is indeed bullying"

are you making shit up now? yes, you are because CH didn't get "lots of people to call someone shit sperm".

I challenge you to find anything "nasty" in the following 15 covers since it is unclear how your comments relate to actual facts: http://time.com/3657976/charlie-hebdo-co…
22
@14 I believe @20 is talking about the mainstreaming of santorum by Dan.

The point is still daft: Santorum is part of the government, and pushes an agenda that rubs people the wrong way who care about their civil liberties. Yes "santorum" is gross and R-rated. No -given Santorum's position & power - it is not bullying. The fact that it took off is a testament to the popularity of the the originating sentiment (that the guy is a sacrosanct asshole).

@20 I see, you are the undisputed expert in HOW CARTOONS ARE MEANT TO BE FELT.
23
@21 as @22 says, 'shit-sperm' is in reference to dan savage (cf @14) bullying rick santorum with the term; i should've been clear on that. i was thinking of http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/imag… (via http://gawker.com/what-is-charlie-hebdo-… ) for the cartoons i call nasty (which aren't on the covers), and they are nasty not because there is some objective standard of 'nasty' but because nastiness is their intent- what does muhammad's butt and balls contribute but to rile and bully? (see also http://fiskingfeminist.tumblr.com/post/1… for some of ch's homophobia and racism, which, unlike time, contextualizes the images.) i know people find nastiness humorous, and ch is consistent in being nasty and vile to everyone they find contemptible- bullies bullying bullies, again and again.
@22 what about being a public figure immunizes a person from being a target of bullying? and a bully can't be bullied? ch intends to provoke, in the basest way; it designed to offend, to prop up their own sorrow on another's.
24
@23 sorry but I don't find much that could be nasty in these images. Muhamet's butt isn't nasty, it's actually kind of cute. Why would anyone find nudity nasty, which I believe is the point of the cartoon: to ridicule bigots who find butts nasty even though they have got one of their own.

I am not at all impressed by that fiskingfeminist article. There is no real analysis of what is meant by the cartoons and very little context, only blank assertions of what they think it means without any consideration of how literally the words are to be understood, or whether the joke is said from the point of view of everybody's classic brutish, militaristic brother in law (a standard way to poke fun at reactionary point of views). The one about Taubira as a monkey (the basis used by some to claim CH is racist) is truncated of its large heading that says "blue racist gathering" as a reference to the far right National Front racist propaganda toward Saubira ("she is as smart as a monkey"). etc.
25
This is what no wrote on my facebook and I wanted to share it there :

I am usually not the kind of person who like to share his thought,

But since this event is a lot about the liberty of expression i wanted to express my opinion.

First i would like to say two things :

- don't take any of my words as the true but as a personal opinion.

-I apology for my English, I usually ask someone for correction but i am just going straight on this one because if i wait i may change my mind about writing this.

So i felt particularly touched by this event,

Because is am french and also because i am a cartoonist.

I saw a lot of different discussion and opinion about it and i their is my thought.

A lot of peoples felt offense with the cartoon that Charlie had publish.

I am not, probably because i grew up with this kind of humor.

Making fun of everything with a very dark Humour.

It's actually my wife who is American who notice to me how some Radio show,cartoons,conversations and joke were very insulting sometime.

I did not get it until i moved to the us and realize that.

And i agree with you that they can be insulting depending you point of view.

The US don't have one culture,it's all of them in one country and peoples learned how to respect each other and the culture that surround them.

In France we like to laugh about everything.

Like the humorist Desproges said "On peut rire de tout mais pas avec n'importe qui" (we can laugh about everything but not with everyone).

Well that is part of the problem.When you want to try to make a cartoon that make laugh people because they understand the humor of it and they read it in the correct way.How can you stop spreading to the people that may miss read it and feel insulted.

In a world where everything is connected and where the media don't have any border.

So talking about miss interpretation.

I am reading "Understanding comics" By Scott McCloud right now.

He reference the painter Magritte in the beginning to talk about Icons and visual message : http://literary-exploration.com/wp-conte…

He said that the pipe is not a pipe but the representation of the pipe.

The cartoon that the journal Charlie made are just a representation of what people may see.

Take this one for example : https://sp.yimg.com/ib/th?id=HR.21137301…

He said " 100 lashes if you don't die laughing"

I don't think they say that Islam is bad and Mahomet stupid.

They actually have a lot of respect for other religions and culture and were working on different Anti-racism projects together.

They are just making fun of peoples who use religion as a way to control others

It's just another way to make people think about that.

This how i see it, this is my interpretation but i totally understand that some people don't see that.

I always try to justify myself to others that comics is a serious things (as a profession) but this time i would have to say the inverse.

You took it too seriously.

The peoples who died where very well educated and smart persons and i have a lot of respect for them and nothing can justify what happen to them.

French humor can be offensive : https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/image…

"guess who it is?" by Goupil Acneique

That doesn't mean they don't care.

"Est-ce qu’elle se gêne, elle, la mort, pour se rire de nous ? Est-ce qu’elle ne pratique pas l’humour noir, elle, la mort ?" - Desprauges

"Is the death bothers, to laugh at us? Is she not practice black humor, her(she) the death?"

This just a way to talk about things and to make you thinks about and it also can be a way to make you laugh instead of crying.

I hope that peoples will understand what i try to say.

I also hope that French peoples will not stereotype with what happen and reject Muslim peoples.

I feel bad for them also,

I can imagine walking in the street and feeling judge.

They are not the peoples who did that.

This is not the same things.

Let's work together, make a world where we can live together.

And also,

let's laugh together.

http://www.charentelibre.fr/2015/01/08/l…
26
I wrote this on my facebook and I wanted to share it there:

I am usually not the kind of person who like to share his thought,
But since this event is a lot about the liberty of expression i wanted to express my opinion.

First i would like to say two things :
- don't take any of my words as the true but as a personal opinion.
-I apology for my English, I usually ask someone for correction but i am just going straight on this one because if i wait i may change my mind about writing this.

So i felt particularly touched by this event,
Because is am french and also because i am a cartoonist.
I saw a lot of different discussion and opinion about it and i their is my thought.

A lot of peoples felt offense with the cartoon that Charlie had publish.
I am not, probably because i grew up with this kind of humor.
Making fun of everything with a very dark Humour.

It's actually my wife who is American who notice to me how some Radio show,cartoons,conversations and joke were very insulting sometime.
I did not get it until i moved to the us and realize that.

And i agree with you that they can be insulting depending you point of view.
The US don't have one culture,it's all of them in one country and peoples learned how to respect each other and the culture that surround them.
In France we like to laugh about everything.

Like the humorist Desproges said "On peut rire de tout mais pas avec n'importe qui" (we can laugh about everything but not with everyone).
Well that is part of the problem.When you want to try to make a cartoon that make laugh people because they understand the humor of it and they read it in the correct way.How can you stop spreading to the people that may miss read it and feel insulted.
In a world where everything is connected and where the media don't have any border.

So talking about miss interpretation.
I am reading "Understanding comics" By Scott McCloud right now.

He reference the painter Magritte in the beginning to talk about Icons and visual message : http://literary-exploration.com/wp-conte…
He said that the pipe is not a pipe but the representation of the pipe.
The cartoon that the journal Charlie made are just a representation of what people may see.
Take this one for example : https://sp.yimg.com/ib/th?id=HR.21137301…
He said " 100 lashes if you don't die laughing"
I don't think they say that Islam is bad and Mahomet stupid.
They actually have a lot of respect for other religions and culture and were working on different Anti-racism projects together.
They are just making fun of peoples who use religion as a way to control others
It's just another way to make people think about that.
This how i see it, this is my interpretation but i totally understand that some people don't see that.
I always try to justify myself to others that comics is a serious things (as a profession) but this time i would have to say the inverse.
You took it too seriously.

The peoples who died where very well educated and smart persons and i have a lot of respect for them and nothing can justify what happen to them.
French humor can be offensive : https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/image…
"guess who it is?" by Goupil Acneique
That doesn't mean they don't care.

"Est-ce qu’elle se gêne, elle, la mort, pour se rire de nous ? Est-ce qu’elle ne pratique pas l’humour noir, elle, la mort ?" - Desprauges

"Is the death bothers, to laugh at us? Is she not practice black humor, her(she) the death?"

This just a way to talk about things and to make you thinks about and it also can be a way to make you laugh instead of crying.

I hope that peoples will understand what i try to say.
I also hope that French peoples will not stereotype with what happen and reject Muslim peoples.
I feel bad for them also,
I can imagine walking in the street and feeling judge.
They are not the peoples who did that.
This is not the same things.
Let's work together, make a world where we can live together.
And also,
let's laugh together.
http://www.charentelibre.fr/2015/01/08/l…