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#CharlieHebdo: a time for questions
- Languages: fr|it

#JeSuisCharlie, and tomorrow? The horrendous massacre in the offices of the satirical weekly, the vile murder of the policemen, the sordid anti-Semitic act at Porte de Vincennes provoked an unhoped-for as well as admirable democratic outburst in Paris, a city that, ideally and for a Sunday, became “the capital of the world,” as President François Hollande summarized it.


To the “French September 11” answered a collective ‘January 11’, which we would like to think was universal. Because those three bloody days truly constitute a terrorist attack similar in significance to the attack against the World Trade Center.





  • The Charlie Hebdo tragedy forces us to question the flaws of integration
  • Radical Islam continues to recruit numerous adepts among the young and in disaffected neighborhoods
  • The extreme Right wants to use this tragedy to stigmatize a whole community, that of Muslims


It is the heart of French and European identity that has been struck. Freedom of the press, freedom of opinion, freedom of irreverence, freedom of worship, republican institutions, secularity, diversity, it is the constitutive principles of our societies that the terrorists wanted to affect.


It is those values that have been so overwhelmingly defended, asserted, and proclaimed at the popular mobilization of January 11. The presence, on boulevard Voltaire, of Europe’s main heads of state gathered around the leader of France in front of several million demonstrators was, for the first time, both a tragic and a magnificent incarnation of the principles that the EU seems to carry too often only in an incantatory and symbolic manner.


But for this day - so clearly marked by a refusal of terror, fear, and submission – to have a tomorrow, it is necessary now more than ever to address straight-out the questions, doubts and polemics that surged in public opinion after the Paris slaughter. 


There will of course be an indispensable answer on the security front. Prime Minister Manuel Valls has warned, “that to an exceptional situation exceptional measures must answer but never measures of exception that would depart from the principles of law and values.”


But it would be irresponsible not to ask ourselves about the roots of this deadly hate that made French terrorists execute other French citizens because they were caricaturists, journalists, police officers or Jews.


It would be an act of extreme blindness not to recognize that radical Islam continues to recruit numerous adepts among the young and in disaffected neighborhoods.


That the extreme Right wants to use this tragedy to stigmatize a whole community, that of Muslims. That some declare that a moderate Islam cannot exist and that immigration is the source of every fundamentalist drifting.


This would mean forgetting the Muslims who died in the terrorist attacks, such as police officer Ahmed Merabet, coldly shot down by the Kouachi brothers, or the young Malian Lassana Bathily, also a Muslim, who protected the clients of the Hyper Casher, as a Righteous would have done in the past.


The Charlie Hebdo tragedy forces us to question the flaws of integration, the disinheritance of some suburbs, the lack of a true project of European unity, where our societies instead favor radicalism, the loss of landmarks, the so-called responsibility of the West to the rest of the world, the misunderstanding of secularism.


None of these questions (like that of the right to satire, including blasphemy and its possible limits) can singly give us explanations for the terrorists’ killing madness. But none of them can be swept away with the back of one’s hand. Without answers, they will feed other fanaticisms tomorrow, other instrumentalization, new extremes.


It is our duty to put all these debates in the public arena. They echo the very reasons that compelled us to create Eutopia as a space to foster European spirit and intellectual debate:  what are the foundations of our living-together and what common project do we wish to carry forward and share?



Translated by Jennie Dorny and Raimes Combes


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