The ELLE France’s tribute to Charlie Hebdo

Une ELLE Charlie

For this issue, ELLE France decided not to run a photograph on the cover of the magazine. Instead, ELLE decided to run an illustration by Soledad, their emblematic illustrator, who gave them the honor of running some illustrations that they are publishing this week, one of which is this dove, who holds not just a pencil in it’s beak, but so much hope. Hope for our families, for our children. For tomorrow.
In an homage to all of the victims, a special report was constructed around exclusive illustrations and reactions from French personalities (Isabelle Adjani, Elisabeth Badinter, Emmanuelle Béart, Claude Halmos…).

“Most of us, being too young, never lived through anything like this. So much violence followed by such a fervor. The war, and then the liberation, but in an accelerated version. These five days of exceptional intensity, from January 7th to January 11th, put aside our daily complaints, our little worries or our immense problems. And this political party that has let go of us, and this future that each survey, invariably, describes us as anxious and depressed…
Is it this pain of loss, this fear of emptiness, that allowed us to relearn how to be alive, to be French, to be fraternal? Must we watch the end fly past us, like a film, to finally feel a shock of salvation, and take on the streets as we have done, almost four million of us, united, calm, with dignity and emotion?
Get past what opposes us, multiply what unites us. In a magnificent moment of television, on Sunday evening, Abd Al Malik and Jean d’Ormesson spoke on the France 2 channel. One is a singer and director, black and muslim, the other, a writer, a national monument, blue eyes, and Gauloise softness. And yet they had the same words to express a hope they secretly wished someone would never contradict: the desire that this intense Sunday could transform the country to something else. A post-crisis country, a post-hate country, a post-lies country. And if everyone among us – citizens, media, politicians – looked at themselves in the mirror? And if we stopped constantly trying to win our audience over, inevitably out of fear? And if we try instead to combine our forces, to explain the world in all of its complexity?
And to think that the death of the “Heros of Charlie” had to happen to get to this point… We should have all said that we’re all “Charlie”, “jewish”, “police officer” in order to feel French. They must be laughing up there, these dudes, to see themselves loved by so many “idiots”, as they once mentioned (referencing a 2008 “Charlie Hebdo” cover).
Because now, there are millions of us! Oh sure, France will not get over this, after this series of assassinations that tried to destroy the idea of liberty – that of a designer, a citizen, a jew, a police officer, a woman – this France will not become a beautiful country in one shot. So many things were neglected for so many years, starting with the second word of our national emblem, “Equality.” Have we really given a chance to all the citizens, no matter what their origin? Of course not.
Sure, that does not excuse in any way the most rude of behaviors. But at least it allows us to wake up from this long nightmare and imagine, together, the France of tomorrow. Isn’t that what the journalists of “Charlie Hebdo” try to do each week? With a mix of bragging and modesty, they illustrate in order to make us laugh, they say. But deep down, it’s much more than that: they’re trying to get us out of a state of lethargy.
Because their deaths made us re-learn or even learn what fraternity means, what it means to feel as though you belong to one nation, imperfect certainly, but so beautiful and vigorous – in that they won. And we thank them, in the heavens or in hell, because we imagine them having a drink with Mephistopheles rather than strolling around in a habit with Jesus, we thank them for waking us up.
Let’s hope it lasts, Ladies and Gentlemen!”

Françoise-Marie SANTUCCI, Editor-in-Chief of ELLE France

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