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Although they slaughtered his colleagues, shot off the decrease half of his face and prompted him to spend 9 months in hospital, journalist Philippe Lançon insists he doesn’t hate Mentioned and Cherif Kouachi.
The Kouachi brothers, who had hyperlinks to the terrorist group al-Qaeda, attacked the workplace of the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015 — 5 years in the past in the present day.
Armed with assault rifles, they killed 12 folks and injured 11 extra. Lançon, who was a columnist for the paper on the time, was one of many survivors.
“I do know individuals who hate them and who hate people who find themselves backing them. That is not my case,” he instructed The Present’s host Matt Galloway.
“Perhaps as a result of I do not need to take into consideration these guys, so I do not hate them,” he stated, clarifying that he was terribly saddened by what that they had achieved.
“I suppose they had been silly folks — morons,” he added. “However … we do not know what’s in the dead of night aspect, actually, of those folks.”
Lançon just lately printed a e-book about his experiences on the day of the assault and his lengthy highway to restoration, referred to as Disturbance: Surviving Charlie Hebdo.
That morning, he was in an editorial assembly when out of the blue he heard shouting and commotion in the primary workplace. He instantly knew that one thing was flawed.
The journal wanted armed safety due to repeated demise threats following the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2006.
Lançon noticed the police officer assigned to guard writer Stéphane Charbonnier transfer for his gun, an motion that appeared prefer it was occurring in sluggish movement, “like in a Western,” he stated.
Lançon dropped to the bottom. He by no means noticed the Kouachi brothers’ faces, only a pair of black-clad legs coming in direction of him, nearer and nearer.
Lançon did not understand at first that he had been shot a number of instances, shattering his jaw and bursting open the flesh of each arms. He shut his eyes and performed lifeless.
Within the minutes earlier than the 2 males left the constructing, Lançon was certain he would die. However on the similar time, he stated, there was one other little voice in his head saying, “you will not die.”
“Life could be very sturdy, you recognize,” he stated. “I used to be just like the baby who performs the lifeless man, however he is aware of he isn’t lifeless. One thing in him is aware of he is not going to die.”
When he opened his eyes once more, Lançon lastly began to register a few of what was occurring round him: the lifeless our bodies of his colleagues, the gushing accidents on his arms, the shattered tooth in his mouth.
A younger cartoonist grabbed Lançon’s cell to name his mom, and when he handed it to her, he noticed his reflection within the telephone. Solely then did he see that the proper aspect of his jaw was fully gone.
“I bear in mind completely that I assumed, ‘effectively, now you’re a monster,'” he stated.
The lengthy highway to restoration
Lançon spent months recovering in hospital, and has stopped counting the variety of surgical procedures he has undergone (“greater than 20,” he says).
He could not communicate or eat strong meals, till medical doctors took the fibula bone from considered one of his legs and used it to reconstruct his jaw.
Even 5 years later, “the restoration course of in a method remains to be occurring,” he stated. “It isn’t over.”
‘We’re in a democracy’
The Kouachi brothers had been killed by police two days after the assault.
It is believed they had been pushed to hold out the taking pictures due to a controversial 2006 caricature that Charlie Hebdo had printed of the Prophet Muhammad, who many Muslims imagine shouldn’t be depicted in photographs.
Many individuals deemed the cartoon offensive.
However Lançon stated that, regardless of the large toll, he nonetheless feels that publishing that cartoon was the proper choice.
“It’s a satirical newspaper … their job is to make enjoyable about the whole lot,” he stated.
“That is why they determined to publish cartoons of Muhammad, not as a result of they’re good cartoons or not as a result of they hated Muhammad or no matter, however solely to remind those that we’re in a democracy the place each type of factor will be printed.”
Lançon stated he believes there is no such factor as balancing freedom of expression with what folks discover offensive. “[Either] you assume freedom of expression is essential, otherwise you assume it is not,” he stated.
[Either] you assume freedom of expression is necessary, or it is not.– Philippe Lançon
However he additionally would not purchase the concept an offensive cartoon might clarify “why two brothers determined sooner or later to take Kalashnikovs and to arrange the slaughter of so many people who find themselves cartoonists and journalists in a newspaper.”
“There’s something deeper. And this [deeper thing] is linked with the … private life of those two folks,” he stated.
“And this I do not know. And no one will know.”
Written by Allie Jaynes. Produced by Howard Goldenthal.