Photos from Paris: A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

Photos from Paris: A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

January 7, 2015 was not only a dark day in France, but also in every country that holds the freedom of speech, expression, and the press so dearly. The brutal attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper located in Paris’ 11th arrondissement, left twelve people dead, including eight journalists and two police officers. On January 8, a police officer was gunned down in the Paris suburb of Montrouge. January 9 brought further violence when an armed man killed four and injured four others in a Jewish supermarket in Porte de Vincennes in the eastern area of Paris. Throughout the three-day string of violence, 17 lives were needlessly taken.

During the time of the Charlie Hebdo attack, I was writing in a café in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, located in Paris’ 6th arrondissement. One hour later, I was in the Picasso Museum in the Marais, the historically Jewish area of Paris. It was then that I received a text message regarding the morning’s events. Bewildered, I had a million questions. As I tried to wrap my head around the situation, I looked at the faces in the museum. Engrossed with the works of Picasso, it appeared that no one knew. Soon, however, everyone would learn of the event that set off a firestorm of violent acts and subsequent uprising across not only France, but also the world.

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

The French motto of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité {Liberty, Equality, Fraternity} is emblazoned on everything from coins to stamps to buildings. It’s been part of the country’s lexicon since the end of the 17th century, however these three words are the cornerstones of any true republic. It is due in part to these French principals that I am afforded the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as a United States citizen. Just as in America, France guarantees freedom of speech, press, and religion. More than just an assault on a newspaper and supermarket, these common ideals and rights came under attack last week.

In a country historically known for mobilizing and taking to the streets, France held the largest demonstration in their history on Sunday, January 11. Officials estimate that over 1.6 million people participated in the unity march in Paris. With two official routes leading from Place de la République to Place de la Nation, the surrounding streets swelled with people of all ages, colors, religions, and nationalities. With over 40 heads of state in attendance, as well as the families of the victims, the overwhelming scene was peaceful, almost serene.

As I write this, I’m still in a bit of a fog given this series of events. What happened in Paris could easily happen in any other city. It’s certainly not just a French problem. Extremists of all kinds hide in both dark corners and plain sight throughout the world. They are our neighbors and co-workers. They are the ones next to us in the café and sitting in traffic. They strike when least expected. They are cowardly and cunning. And it’s because of the sacrifices of others that I can not only write what I want, but also worship whoever I choose. These are my inalienable rights, ones that are often taken for granted, until they are threatened.

The eight journalists who died at the Charlie Hebdo offices gave the ultimate sacrifice: their lives. Some of the controversial cartoonists were under police protection, but they didn’t allow death threats to silence their work. And because of their sacrifice, along with the other nine rampage victims, the world has been brought together with a simple phrase, Je Suis Charlie, to defend the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and to support those who risk their lives daily to keep ours safe.

 Scenes from Place de la République

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

Scenes near the Charlie Hebdo office

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

Scenes from Paris’ Unity Rally

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

 A Look at #JeSuisCharlie

The post Photos from Paris: A Look at #JeSuisCharlie appeared first on Leah Travels.

Continue reading at Leah Travels