Wednesday 17 January 2018

'Charlie Hebdo' and the legacy of the eternal outsider

A candle burns beside a sign reading Je suis Charlie.
A candle burns beside a sign reading Je suis Charlie.

Laura Costelloe

One month after France was plunged into a state of shock and anger following the horrific incidents at the 'Charlie Hebdo' offices and a kosher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes, what has the reaction to these tragedies meant for the thousands of residents of French 'suburbs', many of whom do not identify with the "Je suis Charlie" message of defiance?

Media coverage of the initial aftermath of the terrorist attacks centred around the theme of "Je suis Charlie", a slogan which ostensibly united France - and the world - in horror at the actions which unfolded. Images in newspapers and televisions reflected the reputed 1.5 million French people who marched in solidarity with the victims of these atrocious attacks.

On the surface, France was 'united' in horror, with President François Hollande declaring that "nothing can divide us, nothing can separate us". However, this media coverage hides the reality of a fractured and divided France, exemplified by the experience of those living in the banlieues.

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