I am Charlie in Washington DC

Newseum, Jan. 8, 2015
Je suis Charlie / I am Charlie at the Newseum

Je suis Charlie in Washington DC

I first saw on Twitter what was going wrong at Charlie Hebdo, a provocative satirical French newspaper. After watching a video filmed from the roof of a Parisian building, my first thoughts were : this is not a movie and this does not happen in the United States but in Paris.

I have been living in Washington DC since 2013. During the holidays, homicide stats have been published. There were 207 homicides in the DC area in 2014. 650.000 inhabitants live in the US capital. It’s about the size of Frankfort in Germany. It’s bigger than Lyon but smaller than Marseille, which are after Paris the largest cities in France. So, we are not speaking about New York or Paris even if the metropolitan area of DC counts fewer than 6 million people.

Considering how fast these fools are killing innocents, Paris should rapidly catch up. January 7th, Charlie Hebdo 12. yesterday, Montrouge, a rough suburb in Paris, 1. By the way, what was this guy doing with a gun in his car at 8 am? That may sound strange to you American readers, but I personally don’t know one single person owning a weapon. And I don’t know anybody knowing somebody who owns a gun… It ‘s going on. Today, January 9th, Paris again, 2. By the time I am writing this, five persons were still held as hostages.

caricature by Cabu - IMF
Charlie Hebdo’s Cover June 1st, 2011

I am Charlie at the IMF

My husband works for the IMF. On the evening of the Charlie Hebdo shooting, there was the traditional Epiphany party for the French staff. Christine Lagarde was very upset and left early in order to join the vigil at the Newseum in DC. Before leaving, she told them how Cabu, one the caricaturists who was killed and who is also a national emblem in France, drew her as a cucumber.  In June 2011 when she replaced Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the head of the IMF, they both made the cover of Charlie Hebdo: A pickle replaced by a cucumber ?

Bildschirmfoto 2015-01-08 um 12.05.01I am Charlie at the French Embassy in Washington DC

The French embassy hermetically closed  its door after the shooting. In the afternoon, the French consul sent an email to the French people living in DC. Since yesterday, this is how the gate looks like: “We are Charlie Hebdo”. Later in the afternoon, Barack Obama paid condolences at the Embassy.

HQ of Axel Springer, Hamburg.
Hamburg, Germany. Headquarters of Springer, one the top european publishing houses.
Cover of Der Spiegel.
Cover of Jan. 10, 2015. Attack on freedom.


I am Charlie in Germany

For weeks now, an increasing number of Germans, known as the PEGIDA movement, are demonstrating in Germany. The anti-Islam movement reunites conservatives and fascists. January 5, 2015, 18.000 people have taken to the street in Dresden, a city in Eastern Germany, where PEGIDA comes from. Upward trend. What happens in Paris now, is surely not made for calming people down.

Fortunately, counter-demonstrators are more numerous in the Western part of Germany. I am Charlie in Germany.

We are all Charlie

The day after the shooting, I was not able to do anything else as to surf the internet. Twitter, Instagram, Google News. Back and forth. I felt like after 9/11. A columnist at Les Echos, a French financial daily newspaper, wrote yesterday “…there is more and more reckless best armed people ready to kill those who inform… People who assassinate to silence”.

I am not a journalist. I didn’t lose friends or family. I am only a blogger who shares her multicultural experience.

Today, I don’t want to be quiet. Today, I am Charlie.

Door in Bethesda with Je suis Charlie sign
Je suis Charlie in Bethesda, Maryland


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1 Comment

  • Let’s make sure that there is always somebody left to speak out against terror and violence. Freedom of speech is the very foundation of Western culture and democracy!

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