The Corner

A Melancholy, Long, Withdrawing Roar

Telling, but not surprising news from France.

Wall Street Journal:

PARIS—French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has moved out of temporary office space to new high-security premises, said a person familiar with the matter, nearly nine months after a terrorist attack decimated its newsroom. A spokeswoman for the paper declined to comment for reasons of security. The high-security location shows how the threat of violence continues to weigh on the magazine, which is long known for its irreverent take on organized politics and religion…..

But if that’s telling, so is this:

But Charlie Hebdo also faces a personnel problem, as high profile contributors have quit the magazine, citing the lingering trauma from the attacks.  Rénald Luzier, a cartoonist who signs his illustrations with the pen name Luz, said in May that he would leave in September because of what he said was heightened pressure. Luz penned the caricature of the Prophet  Muhammad that appeared on the front page of the first Charlie Hebdo after the January attacks.

Luz had already announced back in April that he would no longer draw Mohammed because “it no longer interests me”.  He also accused France’s ‘far right’ (yes, we can debate the label forever) for trying to stir up fear in the wake of the attacks.

At the time, I wrote this:

I don’t blame Luz for declining to draw Mohammed any more. The pressure he was under must have been immense. It’s a shame though that he could not have been more honest about his motives. His ‘boredom’ is less than convincing, and the attack on the National Front is, well, let’s just say it’s a handy reminder that Charlie Hebdo, more a magazine of the soixante-huitard​ left than any sort of libertarian paragon, once tried to get that party banned.

Marine Le Pen, the National Front’s current leader, is, of course, facing trial on charges of inciting racial hatred after comparing Muslim street prayers to the Nazi occupation, remarks that, however ill-judged the comparison, would not merit prosecution in any country that valued free speech.

France, like so much of Europe, does not.

Back to the Wall Street Journal:

On Saturday, paramedic  Patrick Pelloux, one of the first on the scene of the January attacks, also said he intends to leave at the end of the year. Mr. Pelloux, who wrote a medical column for the publication, featured prominently in the media spotlight in the wake of the attack and was photographed embracing French President  François Hollande at a Paris rally to honor the victims.

“I remain Charlie Hebdo in my heart, but you’ve got to know how to turn the page one day,” Mr. Pelloux said in an interview on student radio station Web7Radio. “I think I no longer bring anything to this paper.”

Again, I don’t blame any of those who quit—not for a moment— but I cannot help thinking that those departures are yet another reminder that violence works.

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