One week after the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris that killed 12 people, the weekly satirical magazine, which has taken refuge in the headquarters of the daily Libération, will publish a defiant new issue Wednesday. The day before its publication, several pieces of information filtered about what has been labeled the “survivors’ issue.”
1. THE PROPHET WILL APPEAR ON THE FRONT PAGE The French daily Libération revealed the front page of tomorrow’s issue of Charlie Hebdo Monday evening. As seen above, it shows the Prophet Muhammad in tears holding a sign that reads “Je suis Charlie.” Above the picture, the title: “All is forgiven.”
In an interview with the radio station France Info, Charlie Hebdo’s lawyer, Richard Malka, said Wednesday’s issue of the magazine would “of course” include pictures of the Prophet Muhammad. “We will not concede anything, otherwise all of this would make no sense,” he said, adding that the “Je suis Charlie” slogan meant, above all, the right to blasphemy. “It means you can criticize my religion, because it’s okay. You can’t criticize a Jew because he’s Jewish, a Muslim because he’s Muslim, a Christian because he’s Christian. But you can say what you want, and the worst things, and we say them, about Christianity, Judaism and Islam, because above unity and pretty slogans, that’s the reality of Charlie Hebdo.” Several newspapers across the world already published last week the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that first appeared in the weekly magazine in 2006. In a sign that Charlie Hebdo’s satire lives on, the cartoonist Luz, who survived the attack, told the radio station France Inter the staff would “use this freedom, because not many people will dare to sue us.”
2. THE COVER WAS DRAWN BY SURVIVING CARTOONIST LUZ “In every Charlie Hebdo issue for the past 22 years, there is not one that hasn’t shown cartoons of the Pope, Jesus, priests, rabbis, imams and Muhammad,” Richard Malka pointed out Monday, adding it would be surprising if this new issue did not show the Prophet. The cover, and several other cartoons, for the new issue are signed by Luz, who has been part of the magazine staff for 20 years. Luz, whose real name is Renaud Luzier, survived because he was late to arrive at the editorial meeting last Wednesday because it was his 43rd birthday, and he'd slept in and stopped to buy a galette des rois cake on his way to work. “When I started drawing, I always considered that we were protected by the fact we drew little Mickey Mouses. With the deaths, the shooting, the violence, everything has changed,” the cartoonist explains in an interview with the French magazine Les Inrocks.
3. ONLY CHARLIE HEBDO STAFF WORKED ON IT The new managing director of Charlie Hebdo, Eric Portheault, refuted rumors that external cartoonists such as Plantu (Le Monde) or Siné (Siné Mensuel) worked on the new and much awaited issue. It was done “only with Charlie Hebdo staff,” he told the AFP. Finalized Monday evening, the issue was not going to be an obituary, the editor of the magazine Gérard Biard promised. “We didn’t want to be whiny. It will not be a tribute issue. If we want to be faithful towards those who have gone, we have to follow the spirit of the newspaper, we have to make people laugh,” Richard Malka said. On the television channel Canal +, Eric Portheault also added the cartoonist Riss, whose right arm — the one he draws with — was wounded during the attack, managed to produce two pictures with his left hand on his hospital bed. In Libération, Gérard Biard also said there will be republished cartoons by cartoonists Cabu, Charb, Honoré, Tignous and Wolinski, as well an article signed by the economist Bernard Maris, all killed in the attack. Luz explained the staff wanted new readers to follow them for the right reasons: “We will explain to them why they can buy Charlie and why others will never buy it.”
4. IT WILL BE TRANSLATED INTO 5 LANGUAGES At least 3 million copies of Wednesday’s Charlie Hebdo, six times its usual run, translated into 5 different languages, are set to be distributed in 25 countries, Patrick Pelloux confirmed. Sales of the magazine, which will count 16 pages, are expected to rapidly run out of stock and a limited number of people will be able to obtain a physical copy. In honor of their fallen colleagues, the remaining magazine staff returned to work as soon as Friday, two days after the tragedy, in a Libération office. According to the daily, the editorial meeting soon turned into the regular hubbub amid a heavy atmosphere, interrupted only by news of the survivors and the funeral preparations of those killed. Charlie Hebdo has an international distribution setup in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada or Australia, according to a Reddit thread. But the expected popularity of the next issue led to a surge in subscriptions to the weekly on Amazon, with prices going up to $186.25 a year.
5. MILLIONS IN FINANCIAL HELP The satirical magazine has received millions of euros in financial support for the publication of its future issues. The French Minister of Culture and Communication, Fleur Pellerin, announced the state would grant 1 million euros for its survival. Google also announced it would donate 250,000 euros via its Digital Innovation Press Fund, while The Guardian said it would provide the magazine with 128,000 euros. In France, other organizations such as the Presse et Pluralisme fund of the National Daily Press Union will also make donations, along with several collections from crowdfunding websites. Charlie Hebdo has faced great financial difficulty in recent years, with 50,000 euros in losses in 2013, and an estimated 100,000 euros in 2014.
6. DUTCH CHARLIE HEBDO CARTOONIST EXPRESSES HIS RAGE The Dutch cartoonist Willem, who works for Charlie Hebdo and was not in the office during last week’s attack, said in the Dutch daily Volkskrant he “vomits on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends,” adding they never read Charlie Hebdo. “We have lots of new friends, like the Pope, Queen Elizabeth or Putin: it really makes me laugh,” he said. He also explained he never goes to editorial meetings because he doesn’t “like them, I guess that saved my life.”
7. A FAKE FRONT PAGE WAS ALREADY CIRCULATING
— Les Guignols (@LesGuignols) January 8, 2015
The popular French satirical television show Les Guignols created a fake Charlie Hebdo cover in tribute to the magazine and its staff. Appearing as a job advertisement, it reads “Urgently looking for six cartoonists”, along with the tweet: “Good news, Charlie Hebdo will be published next week, here is the cover.”
*Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of languages the magazine would appear in, and the number of pages of the new issue. Sorry about that.