On the whole, the mainstream media in France are pretty poor. If you want some in depth coverage or alternative point of view, you don’t watch the evening news. One exception is the morning news on radio France Inter, which is balanced and informative. And one exception there was Bernard Maris, an economist who offered an intelligent, critical analysis of the laissez-faire economic climate which has led to so much disparity over the last thirty years. Maris was among the victims of today’s attack in the premises of Charlie Hebdo. His opinions won’t be heard any more.
Nor will we see new cartoons by Wolinski, Cabu and other mainstays of the irreverent satirical magazine I used to read – you might say religiously – when I first arrived in France. It was a breath of fresh air, a much needed kick in the teeth of narrow-mindedness and bigotry. Charlie Hebdo has fallen victim to bigotry in its turn.
I’ve been working on a story I wanted to post today, but it seems derisory. So instead, a little poem, which the people who died at Charlie Hebdo might, I think, have approved of.
Publish a picture of the prophet,
Bearded fools will scream and vomit.
Muslims, though, should say, ‘Come off it!
It’s no different from Wallace and Gromit.’
Vive Charlie. Vive la liberté d’expression.