PARIS– In the aftermath of a terror attack that shattered its newsroom, the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo is bouncing back with a fearless new edition that will come out Jan. 14 in 3 million copies across 25 countries, according to local newspaper Liberation.
Charlie Hebdo, which was previously selling about 60,000 copies per week, has indeed emerged stronger than ever from the attack.
Titled “Tout est pardonné” (“All is forgiven”), its cover, created by famed Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Luz, portrays a caricature of Prophet Muhammad weeping and holding a sign that reads “Je Suis Charlie.”
The magazine was raided on Jan. 7 by Cherif and Saïd Kouachi, two radical Islamists who acted under Al Qaeda command. The two brothers stormed the newsroom during the editorial meeting and murdered 12 people, including the cartoonists Charb, Cabu, Wollinski, Tignous et Honoré for caricaturing Prophet Muhammad, as Cherif Kouachi told a BFMTV journo before getting shot dead by French police on Jan. 9.
Since the shooting, the few remaining Charlie Hebdo journalists have been working out of national newspaper Liberation’s Paris headquarters.
Instead of crushing Charlie Hebdo, the massacre has shed light on its relevancy and the work of its journalists, who have fought to exert their freedom of expression and promote secular values through caricatures that some have deemed hilarious and irreverent, others offensive and blasphemous.
Patrick Andre, the managing director of Messageries lyonnaises de presse (MLP) which distributes Charlie Hebdo, told Liberation that international orders have skyrocketed from 4000 copies to 300,000 copies.
The magazine’s attorney, Richard Malka, has already addressed eventual criticism of the upcoming cover. “(If you look at) each edition of Charlie Hebdo for the last 22 years, there isn’t one that doesn’t feature a caricature of the Pope, Jesus, priests, rabbis, Imams and Mahomet (Muhammad in English),” Malka told local radio station France Info.
Malka added, “We will not give in because if we do this whole thing will have no sense. The spirit of ‘Je suis Charlie’ also means the right to blasphemy.”
On Sunday, nearly 3.7 million people, including more than 40 political leaders, rallied across France to pay homage to the 17 victims killed at Charlie Hebdo and at the Kosher supermarket last week.
Charlie Hebdo has also earned high-profile support from politically-engaged Hollywood figures, such as as George Clooney, who paid tribute to the magazine and the Paris terror attacks during his speech at the Golden Globes, and Harvey Weinstein who wrote a column for Variety.
“Charlie Hebdo is a reminder of the beauty of art and the beauty of language. No one can ever defeat the ability of great artists to show us our world,” Weinstein wrote in his guest column, adding “Laughter and satire will never disappear, and will always be the most effective tools for a free world.”