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Home News Charlie Hebdo to publish next week despite bloodbath

Charlie Hebdo to publish next week despite bloodbath

Published on 08/01/2015

The French satirical newspaper whose staff was decimated in an Islamist attack will publish as scheduled next week, some of its surviving employees told AFP on Thursday.

Charlie Hebdo will publish next Wednesday to defiantly show that “stupidity will not win,” said columnist Patrick Pelloux, who is also an emergency room doctor.

The newspaper’s lawyer, Richard Malka, said one million copies would be printed instead of the normal 60,000 because of the worldwide attention brought by Wednesday’s bloody attack.

The remaining staff of the weekly held a meeting on Thursday to discuss its future and how to bring out the issue.

“It’s very hard. We are all suffering, with grief, with fear, but we will do it anyway because stupidity will not win,” said Pelloux.

Twelve people, including five cartoonists, were killed in Wednesday’s attack that also left two policemen dead.

The cartoon-reliant newspaper — with a name inspired by the American comic book character Charlie Brown from the series “Peanuts” (with “Hebdo” being French slang for weekly) — will next week bring out a special “survivors’” issue of eight pages instead of its usual 16, Malka told AFP.

The leftwing French daily newspaper Liberation will host Charlie Hebdo’s journalists from Friday, because the weekly’s own blood-soaked, bullet-riddled offices are sealed after the attack. France’s Le Monde newspaper and Canal+ television network are also providing assistance.

– Under constant threat –

Charlie Hebdo’s staff had been the target of death threats for years, starting in 2006 when it reprinted 12 cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed published the previous year by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

Even though the paper was under police protection, two masked men wielding assault rifles were able to carry out Wednesday’s methodical, military-style attack and escape.

Previously, the worst attack the newspaper had suffered was in 2011 and came the day it published more of its own caricatures of Mohammed. Then, suspected Islamists firebombed its empty premises.

Wednesday’s attack wiped out most of its leading figures.

The newspaper’s 47-year-old editor-in-chief, Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, who was also one of its cartoonists, was murdered along with his police bodyguard.

Four other cartoonists, all major names in France — Jean “Cabu” Cabut, 76; Georges Wolinski, 80; Bernard “Tignous” Verlhac, 57; and Philippe Honore, 73 — were also slain, as were three other employees, including a notable economist for French radio, Bernard Maris.

Others killed were a maintenance man the assailants shot on the ground floor as they entered the building, and a policeman they executed in cold blood as he lay wounded on the pavement outside.

Pelloux, who is head of France’s emergency room doctors’ association, said the news editor and two others who contributed to the newspaper were wounded in the attack.

They were Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau, also a cartoonist in addition to being news editor, as well as Philippe Lancon and Fabrice Nicolino.

This week’s issue of Charlie Hebdo has sold out, with some copies appearing on eBay at greatly inflated prices. The newspaper is usually priced at three euros ($3.60) apiece, and often sells only half of its 60,000 copies per week.

– ‘Charlie has to come out’ –

The 44-year-old publication, which seeks to amuse and provoke readers over current events with irreverent cartoons taking potshots at everything from celebrities, presidents, the pope, jihadists and religions, has long struggled financially.

It recently launched an appeal for donations to keep going.

In the wake of the attack, though, the French government and dozens of media organisations promised to ensure Charlie Hebdo continues.

“Charlie has to come out. To not do so would be an abdication” of the media’s duty, the head of the AFP news agency, Emmanuel Hoog, said after a meeting late Wednesday with several radio, television and newspaper counterparts at the French culture ministry.

Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin said: “We have a mission — we have to organise ourselves so the next edition of Charlie Hebdo comes out.”

France’s justice minister, Christiane Taubira, added on Thursday, to France Info radio: “Public aid to help Charlie would be justified. We cannot envision Charlie Hebdo disappearing.”