That’s the first word i can think of when I learn that Islamic terrorists have murdered my friendBernard Maris, one of 12 people, including 8 journalists, killed in an attack on the satirical French weekly, Charlie Hebdo.
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I once invited Bernard to be guest editor of Metro France for a day. He was erudite and brilliant,always keen to explain complex concepts. I remember our first meeting, in a cafe. He spoke to me like a father to his son, and gave me some wise advice on how to be a good journalist.
I’m devastated as a journalist. We each entered this profession mindful of the trail blazed by ourpredecessors and hoping that one day our own words would end an injustice somewhere.
Charlie Hebdo is one of the last newspapers in France still fighting for freedom of the press and freedom of expression. It used that freedom every week, publishing political cartoons that werepowerful enough to make people think, and powerful enough to provoke such a disproportionatereaction.
And I am devastated as a young Frenchman who grew up devouring satirical comics like theones in Charlie Hebdo that drew such a virulent reaction. As a kid I watched cartoons by Cabu,an artist of immense talent with a dry sense of humour. On the sly, I read the explicit comics ofWolinsky. As a student, I laughed until my sides split over the Charb’s drawings each week onthe cover of Charlie Hebdo.
By killing those writers and illustrators of such immense talent, these terrorists killed a part ofFrance, a part of the French identity: sometimes arrogant, sometimes bawdy, but essential forgood conduct of democracy.