What The 'Charlie Hebdo' Anniversary Issue Depicts Proves That The Magazine Still Isn't Afraid Of Controversy
On Jan. 7, 2015, a dozen people were killed when terrorists opened fired in the newsroom of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine. A year later, the publication still isn't shying away from controversial topics and cartoons, as the Charlie Hebdo anniversary cover depicts God as a killer on the loose. The latest issue, coming out Jan. 6, is a testament to the magazine's bravery and continued struggles, taking on all believers from every religion that are offended by its cartoons.
A million copies of the special anniversary issue will hit French newsstands Wednesday, and thousands more will be sold abroad. The cover, drawn by editor Laurent "Riss" Sourisseau, shows a bearded God with an assault rifle and blood smeared on his clothes. In French, it reads: "One year after: The assassin is still out there." The two men responsible for the massacre were killed by the police in the days following; however, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for planning the attack, so the headline speaks to the fact that the larger enemy (radical Islamist militants, and radicals from any religion) is still at large.
On top of the cover, Sourisseau also wrote an editorial defending the right to make fun of every religion, denouncing "fanatics made stupid by the Koran, but also bigots from every religion who wished upon us the hell they believe in, because we dared to laugh at religion."
Although a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed is believed to have sparked the attack, the magazine didn't stop creating cartoons and articles about religion, a highly controversial topic around the world. Since last year, the Charlie Hebdo staff has moved to a secret location with armed guards and 24/7 security, but the risk of being further targeted hasn't affected their content — Charlie Hebdo is as committed as ever to practicing and defending the freedom of speech.
Wednesday's issue will also feature cartoons by Stéphane "Charb" Charbonnier and the four other cartoonists killed. Charbonnier's book, Open Letter: On Blasphemy, Islamophobia, and the True Enemies of Free Expression, finished two days before the attack, will go on sale Tuesday as a posthumous manifesto that further speaks to Charlie Hebdo's belief in free expression.
While last year's terrorist attack intended to quiet the magazine's political and cultural commentary, it did just the opposite — Charlie Hebdo jumped from selling 30,000 copies to over 290,000 each week, according to the Daily Mail. The magazine won't be threatened, intimidated, or silenced.