Tuesday, 13 January 2015

A Guest Post from Lora Fountain - JE SUIS CHARLIE

The following was not written as a post but as an email to friends and colleagues, including myself, but is reproduced here by kind permission of Lora:

Dear All,

It’s hard to write to everyone about the last week’s horrific events, and so far  I’ve just been replying to the e-mails as they have come in. Now I think the best thing is to send a group mail so you can try to understand what it has been like here.

“The sign reads ‘I am Charlie, I am a Cop, I am Jewish, I am French, I am Liberty, I am Humanity, I am, I exist!’ ”

The events of Wednesday and Friday affected our neighborhood because they took place within an a couple of kilometers of each other and less than that from my office, the XI Arrondisement it is a traditionally Socialist arrondisement, as well as being an historically Jewish part of town. It affected me and my husband in particular because, as some of you know, he is a cartoonist,  [from Everdayfolk - Lora's husband is the wonderful cartoonist Gilbert Shelton]
Gilbert Shelton's Bastille
 and as the community of cartoonists in France is pretty small, both he and I knew several of those who were murdered in the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Whether or not you agreed with the editorial content of Charlie, the magazine was in keeping with the long French tradition of taking the mickey out of everyone who took themselves too seriously. The editors and artists took pleasure in taking on every holy cow that crossed their path and had been doing so since 1969. Many of the cartoons were in questionable taste, but they could make you think about the subject, whether it was the Pope, a politician or whatever, and the artists and writers were not racists or islamophobes. 

Lora Fountain 
Like most of my friends, I was on the street yesterday afternoon. Appropriately enough, the demonstration went down Boulevard Voltaire, which is named after the writer who said “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.”

 In the part that I saw of the nearly two million people on the streets yesterday, the sense of fraternity and tolerance was very clear. We rubbed shoulders (literally) with people from all over Paris and beyond who felt the need to show their solidarity; there were spontaneous outbreaks of the Marseillaise and applause several times for the police (first time THAT has ever happened in living memory), especially for a group marching behind a banner reading “Police in Mourning”. It was very moving, and I am glad to have been part of it, even though some of the heads of state who attended were not particularly to my liking. But they were just a few and were totally overwhelmed by the numbers of people who really represented France. 

"Charlotte, at five months, was the youngest participant that I saw"
Attached are a few photos.
“Alex, wearing signs ‘Je suis Charlie’ and ‘Je suis Juif”, celebrated his 17th birthday on Sunday in the streets with two million other Frenchmen and-women.”


The past week was terrible, but all the kind messages of support from friends from all over the world made it a little easier to bear.

I wanted to reprint this email here that in all this, Lora wanted to reach out and say thank you - so from Everdayfolk a big thank you and thumbs up to Lora, everyone on the march and cartoonists all over the world who help give us perspective and make us laugh at the same time.

Lora Fountain is Managing Director of
You can read their blog at http://lorafountainagency.com/
or reach them on twitter @AgenceFountain @Lora Fountain

1 comment:

  1. Very sad and beautiful, Lora. Here in San Francisco, on the night of the killings we joined a large group of mostly French people at the French Embassy in a vigil. Lots of Je Suis Charlie signs, and for those of us who didn't have a sign, we held up pens and pencils, which we then tossed in an ever-growing pile. We sang the Marseillaise twice, and I was glad that I knew the words. When the French people heard that we were American, they thanked us for coming. I was sorry there were not more Americans there.