On Wednesday, a day before the one-year anniversary of the deadly attacks on its Paris headquarters, French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo will release 1M copies of a special edition. The newspaper, which has never shied from unmasking intolerance, taking special aim at politicians and religious fundamentalists of all ilks, today revealed the provocative cartoon (see next page) that will run on the front cover. Under the line, “One year on, the killer is still out there,” is a drawing of a bearded man, representing God, on the move with a gun slung over his shoulder. Along with the special one million print run, tens of thousands of copies are to be sent abroad where support for the magazine was demonstrated from village squares to the red carpets of Hollywood.
On January 7 last year, Islamist militants stormed Charlie Hebdo‘s offices in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, killing 12 people in the resultant violence. The events led to two separate hostage stand-offs which left more dead. In the days and weeks following, support came from around the world as the “Je Suis Charlie” slogan went viral and sparked debate about freedom of the press.
Last year’s post-attack issue of Charlie Hebdo sold out nearly 8 million copies in six languages. Cartoonist Laurent Sourisseau, who took over the management of the weekly in the aftermath, has penned an editorial for this week’s edition in defense of secularism.
The country has been on high alert since the more recent November 13 attacks in Paris which killed 130 people. Especially in light of that, French news reports say that soldiers will be out in force protecting official buildings and religious sites for the Charlie anniversary this week.
A memorial ceremony is planned for January 10 at the Place de la République.