'Charlie Hebdo's Anniversary Cover Is Out, And The Magazine & France Have Never Been The Same
Nearly one year after the French satirical magazine lost eight of its staff in a terrorist shooting, Charlie Hebdo has released an anniversary issue. What a difference a year makes for both the weekly magazine and France. One million copies are to be printed and available on newsstands in France and around the world. The cover features a bearded God carrying a Kalashnikov with the text, "One year on: The assassin is still out there."
Jan. 7 will mark a year since two brothers broke into the magazine's Paris headquarters and began shooting, killing 12 people. The country immediately went into high alert as soldiers were deployed around the city and police tracked down the shooters. The gunmen holed themselves up in an industrial area near Charles de Gaulle airport where they were eventually shot down by police.
In response to the attack, a huge wave of support for the magazine poured out from both the French and people around the world. Facebook profile pictures were changed to the slogan "Je Suis Charlie" or "I am Charlie," which, according to BBC News, was shared six million times over the following week. The night of the attack, thousands gathered for a candlelight vigil in remembrance, and four days later, as many as 1.6 million people, including many world leaders, marched in solidarity throughout the streets of Paris.
The magazine has seen increased commercial success in the last year. Before the shooting, Charlie Hebdo was close to going broke with circulation dropping under 30,000, according to Agence France-Presse. Since then, numbers are way up. The one million copies printed for Wednesday's issue — while large — pales in comparison to the 7.5 million sold after the attack featuring Mohammed and the headline, "All is forgiven."
The average week sees a circulation of 180,000 subscribers with 100,000 on French newsstands and 10,000 distributed in other countries. That has translated into financial success, which led to a disagreement over how the ownership of the paper should be divided following the former director's death in the attacks. One of the newspaper's notable writers has said he plans to leave this month.
One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the paper's ability to offend one and all. The paper has released covers following several prominent news stories, including the highly publicized drowning of a Syrian child whose body was found on a Turkish beach. According to The Telegraph, the cover led to 20 death threats to the magazine. Cartoons following the downing of the Russian Metrojet jetliner in Egypt drew criticism from the Kremlin itself.
France, meanwhile, has seen even greater terrorist attacks in the November Paris attacks that killed 130. The country remains under a state of emergency that has allowed the country's police to conduct searches without warrants and place citizens under house arrest. In addition to targeting those with potential terrorist ties, the law has been used to target environmental activists.
Controversially, the government, headed by Socialist President Francois Hollande, has also pushed for the ability to revoke citizenship from convicted terrorists — but only if they hold dual nationality. The Associated Press reported that 80 to 90 percent of the French are in favor of such a law, but some — including Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo — say it would treat citizens differently, compromising the equality principle of the French constitution.
How France responds in the long run to the terrorist threat may very well become a target of Charlie Hebdo. The paper hasn't shied away from taking on powerful figures in the past, though religion is still one of its bigger targets.
Image: Charlie Hebdo