Nous sommes Charlie, but where’s Charlie?

The first edition of Charlie Hebdo after the atrocities, went on sale in various countries. People queued for it in France and elsewhere. A few were lucky and obtained a copy.

Charlie Hebdo 2A week later, I wanted to have another look at the back issues in the window of the second-hand bookshop in my village. (See “Salouer la gueule“.) But before I reached it, I stopped dead in my tracks in front of the local newsagent.

The shop is frequented by locals, expats, and tourists. It stocks copies of national and international papers and magazines. You want a copy of a national or international one, you tell staff. They will do their utmost to find and save a copy for you. Regulars can collect such issues after offices have long closed.

What stopped me were the shop windows. Flabbergasted, I looked at each window on either side of the newspaper’s entrance. Their slick glass panels, usually advertising wild national lottery schemes and impossible gains, advertised something else.

Each was completely covered with black and white notices in all sizes, stuck at all angles – even upside down. In various languages, the message read the same. “Nous sommes Charlie: Charlie Hebdo not available!”

It was clear staff had grown tired of having to disappoint customers. One did not even have to enter the shop. Only thing for it, was to download the apps or search for the Charlie Hebdo website.

Thank heavens, this isn’t Ireland. There, according to the UK Guardian, Charlie Hebdo may just no longer be sold. Ireland’s blasphemy laws are now used by Muslim organisations to ensure the magazine will be banned. (See Guardian: Sale of Charlie Hebdo in Ireland.) So much for “nous sommes Charlie” and freedom of speech.

Which made me wonder: what is Ireland going to do? Imitate China and similar totalitarian regimes by forcing google and other search engines to make sure Charlie Hebdo apps, website, and links are inaccessible?

Click here to read the Guardian’s article with info about the Charlie Hebdo Apps.
Click here for the Charlie Hebdo website.


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