In Paris: Signs of change, photographed by Nathalie Prébende

Merci, Nathalie Prébende, French photojournalist, for sharing with GallicFever your vivid “Je suis Charlie” reportage. We’re so proud to be among your publishers.

Editor’s note: Don’t miss details like coiffure-as-political statement, sign text translated (where needed). See photos full-size, read captions, play slide show and click comment link — just move your mouse over the photo mosaic . . . .

After a hideous coup : mourning the Charlie Hebdo victims

Ten journalists and cartoonists of the French satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo, and three police officers, all died violent deaths on 7 January 2015. Some of the journos’ photos are here, in Le Point.  In this post, GallicFever offers some French and American tributes to the victims.

Drawing by Kanako, courtesy of MyLIttleParis

Drawing by Kanako, courtesy of MyLIttleParis

Descending on the Charlie Hebdo offices, a pair of religious radical terrorist gunmen murdered two policemen in and near the scene, and massacred veteran staffers assembled for their Wednesday morning editorial meeting. A hideous coup.

As “E.W. Count,” I was a longtime nonfiction and fiction writer about the New York Police Department and I remain an honorary member of the French-American police friendship association, 911/17. As they say in France these days, je suis Charlie, and, je suis flic. I identify with and deeply mourn the journalists and policemen who perished in the horror maelstrom at Charlie Hebdo.

Martin, a Princeton University French teacher honored murdered French police

1/10/15, in NYC solidarity, Martine, a Princeton University French teacher, honored French police

The officers assassinated inside the Charlie Hebdo office and on the street outside, are respectively, Franck Brinsolaro, and Ahmed Merabet. Montrouge officer Clarissa Jean- Philippe was gunned down, point blank, by a third terrorist whose murder spree later claimed the lives of four Jewish men doing pre-sabbath errands on Friday afternoon in a Vincennes kosher grocery. I mourn my fallen fellow Jews, Yohan Cohen, Yohav Hattab, Philippe Braham and François-Michel Saada. As they also say in France lately, je suis juif.

Tuesday, 13 January, saw the Jewish victims buried in Israel; François Hollande honored the three police officers (NY Times video link) in the Paris courtyard of the police prefecture. According to Le Parisien, President Hollande said, “[the unity] we have shown . . . [is] our most sturdy weapon . . . .The French people has rendered to the police . . . the most beautiful homage possible.”

Parisians honor murdered police

Parisians remember their three police officers, assassinated by three terrorists, January 2015

As successive shocks emanated from Paris, I was comforted by a statement of solidarity and condolences offered by the International Association of Chiefs of Police President, Richard Beary. “I am horrified,” Mr. Beary wrote, “and deeply troubled by the tragic events that have taken place in Paris. . . . [We] mourn the lives of those who have perished and applaud the bravery and dedication of the law enforcement officers who gave their lives in an effort to protect the innocent victims of this horrific attack.

911/17 Patch

Patch worn by members of 911/17 French-American police friendship association

“As the French National Police and other agencies in France continue their efforts to apprehend those responsible for this attack, I want them to know that they have the support of the global policing community. . . .

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and colleagues whose lives have been devastated by this tragic and senseless crime.”

Indeed, it remains no easy feat to think about anything else. Bon courage to all my French friends and colleagues.

Haunted Paris: The French role in the roundups of July 16, 1942

My French teacher mother and I never had agreed on much – other than a passion for the City of Lights. Long retired from the job to which she’d willingly devoted thirty-plus years, she shocked me with a sudden, bitter question: “How could I have spent my working life,” she wondered, “promoting the language and culture of France to young people. . .?”

For the first time at that moment in the 1980s, I heard her pronounce the name, “Drancy.” “The French deported four thousand children,” she informed me,“from Drancy, just outside Paris, to the gas chambers of Auschwitz.“

The Velodrome was razed; a plaque explains its dark history.

Razed after WWII, this Paris bicycle race stadium served as a detention center for Jews destined for deportation to the Auschwitz crematoria.

As I discovered much later, she had some facts mixed up. The 4,000 Jewish children (exactly 4,115) who were rounded up by French police in and around Paris on the early morning of July 16, 1942, were first transported in Paris SNCF city buses, not to Drancy but to a huge bicycle-race stadium in the 15th arrondissement. After four days in the wretched conditions of Le Vélodrome d’Hiver, the children, with 4,045 Jewish adults, were transported from “Le Vel d’Hiv” to the Pithiviers and Beaune-la- Continue reading