Among those killed in a terrorist attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo earlier this year was the magazine's editor-in-chief, Stéphane Charbonnier. Now the Charlie Hebdo editor's manifesto is being published posthumously and will soon be released in English. Like much of Charlie Hebdo itself, the book will probably draw controversy, but if nothing else, the fact that is being published shows that terrorism cannot stifle free speech.
Charbonnier was killed, along with 11 other people, during the January 7 terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo's offices. Two days prior, however, he had finished work on a book entitled Open Letter: On Blasphemy, Islamophobia and the True Enemies of Free Expression. The book, already available in France, is due to be released in English in January from Little, Brown and Company.
“In Open Letter , [Charbonnier’s] words are powerful and provocative,” Little, Brown and Company publisher Reagan Arthur said in a statement. “I’m honored to be able to publish this important and lasting work on free expression.”
Charlie Hebdo was and continues to be controversial for its frequently offensive content — though that is obviously no justification for murder. While the January 7 attacks brought an outpouring of support and global expressions of solidarity, many were and remain critical of the magazine itself. So how Charbonnier's new book, which reportedly defends some of Charlie Hebdo 's more offensive moves, such as running cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammad, will be received remains to be seen.
However, while people are and should feel free to vocally disagree with Charbonnier's views — being killed for your beliefs certainly doesn't make them correct, after all — it is still worthwhile to note that terrorism was unable to silence Charbonnier, even in death. Charbonnier was killed for exercising his right to free speech, but the right to free speech continues none-the-less.