Who is Charlie Hebdo? After talking to you about Charlie Hebdo, we found out that you didn’t really know much about the magazine before the January 7 attacks. Tout est pardonne because we didn’t either. Don’t worry, we did some research to answer your questions.
What was the magazine pre-Je Suis Charlie?
Where did the name, Charlie Hebdo, come from? Interestingly enough, Charlie Hebdo was one of the first to republished American comic Charles Schulz’s popular Peanuts cartoons and it adopted the main character’s name as part of its own! “Hebdo” is short for the French word “hebdomaire” which means “weekly.” The Charlie Hebdo that we now know was originally launched in 1969. The magazine ran until 1982 when it closed for ten years before a 1992 re-launch. Why the ten-year hiatus? It looks like the magazine’s publications have always been audacious and controversial enough to keep the magazine on the edge.
What was their work like before the recent attacks?
The magazine has satirized religious figures, politicians, military leaders, business tycoons and celebrities for years. From Mitt Romney to Michael Jackson, Charlie Hebdo has drawn it all. Want to see for yourself? Click here to check out some of their previous magazine covers or here for a New York Times video of the artists planning a 2006 cover featuring the Prophet Muhammad.
Were there previous attacks?
Sort of. Here’s a short timeline of the bumps that the Charlie Hebdo magazine has faced through the years.
- 2006: Charlie Hebdo re-publishes a controversial cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad by Danish magazine Iyllands-Posten.
- 2011: Charlie Hebdo’s Paris office is firebombed after publishing an issue that was “guest edited” by Prophet Muhammad entitled “Charia Hebdo.”
- 2012: Charlie Hebdo publishes cartoons satirizing films “The Intouchables” and “Innocence of Muslims.” France closes embassies, consulates, cultural centers and schools in twenty countries. At least nineteen people die in violence in Pakistan related to government-sanctioned protests against the American anti-Islam video.
Now that you know Charlie Hebdo has seen extreme reactions to their publications in the past, has your perspective on the magazine changed?
Why does this matter? What does it mean for you?
It has been about two months since the most recent Charlie Hebdo attacks, so why is it still relevant to us?
“We cannot back down on free speech in any way,” says comedian Tina Fey.
With the overwhelming flow of information that we have access to, it’s easy to flutter from one pertinent issue to the next without addressing them. Charlie Hebdo was hard to talk about because a lot of us knew so little about it. Now that you know a bit more, what do you think? Is it fair to satirize anything and everything at the risk of desecration or offense? Should they have worked to prevent violent repercussions after the first few threats?
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