Opinion: Defeating prophet-nuts

POSTED: 02/5/15 8:41 PM

Paris is of course far away and whatever happens there, no matter how terrible, does not really affect the islands or its people. There was no public outrage in Philipsburg over the terrorist attack at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 7, and there was hardly a politician who thought it worth his or her while to make a public statement about this attack on the freedom of expression. At the border, the French flag went half mast, while the Dutch tricolor and the St. Maarten flag stayed up high, as if nothing bad had happened to the fellow countrymen of our neighbors. So much for shared sympathy.

Charlie Hebdo is in the meantime alive and kicking ass. A week after the terrorists killed eight members of the editorial staff and four others, Charlie was back with the now iconic cover depicting Mohammed holding a sign saying ‘I am Charlie’; above the prophet’s head floats the text ‘Everything is forgiven.’

That edition was printed – and sold – in record numbers: 7 million, a stark contrast with the regular circulation of 60,000. The effect of the attack is still palpable, in a way prophet-nuts won’t like: the number of subscribers to the magazine jumped twenty-fold from 10,000 to an astonishing 200,000.

And the cartoonists are not backing down. They suddenly are working for a much larger audience, so it is fair to say that the terrorist-action had the opposite effect of what the shooters had in mind.

According to Charlie Hebdo’s co-manager Eric Porteault the €14 million (around $16 million) the company stands to receive from the 200,000 subscribers will go to the family of the victims.

It was the intention to publish the next Charlie next week Wednesday, February 11, but that won’t happen. The next edition is now scheduled for two weeks later, February 25.

Support Charlie, and stand up for the freedom of expression.

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