The ghastly events in Paris at the offices of Charlie Hebdo have shaken me deeply, and I pay tribute to the memory of the writers, cartoonists, police officers and others who were so viciously murdered in the cruel attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
And I hope and pray for the injured, such as Simon Fieschi, beloved boyfriend of Maisie, daughter of my very good friend and fellow author, Ursula Dubosarsky. Simon was badly hurt after being shot in the attack and the family is still waiting on news of his prognosis after he was put in an induced coma.
We know this area of Paris quite well. My sister lives only a minute or two’s walk away, and she often goes that route to the shops. In fact, as my brother in law told me yesterday, she almost went that way, at that time, on the 7th–it was sheer chance that she decided to go another way that morning.
The irreverence of Charlie Hebdo was not to everyone’s taste. So what? Why should everything be to everyone’s taste, and offend no-one? Mockery is a salutary thing in any culture. The magazine is in a great French tradition of calling everything into question, and not taking anything for granted. And the brave and witty people who worked there were upholding one of the great rights of a truly civilised society.
Those who think to silence free speech can never win if we stand in solidarity against them.