Saturday, August 8, 2015

Very Disturbing on So Many Levels, From Vanity Fair: Charlie Hedbo's Money and How It's Dividing France

Charlie Hedbo, flushed with cash and no longer publishing Mohammad cartoons. 

I wasn't aware of the background of one Hedbo staffer, who is also an emergency doctor:

"Patrick Pelloux has another life outside Charlie. He is an emergency-room doctor, accustomed to traumatic injury, a man schooled to make tough decisions fast. But nothing in his training prepared him for the scene he confronted on January 7—his colleagues at Charlie Hebdo shot at point-blank range with Kalashnikovs. Summoned by a call from a friend, Pelloux was the first to reach the satirical weekly’s small meeting room. Grief and professional instinct vied with each other as the physician-journalist performed rapid triage on his fellows: dead, dead, gravely injured, dead."

"On Pelloux sifted, through almost a dozen corpses. Two of his friends, the cartoonist Jean Cabut (known as “Cabu”) and the economist Bernard Maris, were still seated, slumped against each other at the table. Others had slipped from their chairs to the blood-soaked floor. Pelloux relives the carnage daily, in his dreams, and in the exercise in survival that has become his precarious Parisian existence."

"His hair dyed blond in an attempt at disguise, Pelloux met me upstairs at Café de Flore, in Saint-Germain. He’s 51 but looks younger, a man with a restless energy in his darting eyes. It was a beautiful spring day in Paris, the kind that can only summon whispered gratitude for the gift of life, preferably on the Left Bank. The doctor is followed these days by a retinue of police, dedicated to protecting him from any follow-up squad of jihadist killers, and several psychologists, who monitor the tribulations of his psyche. 

“I am no longer the same—in fact, I no longer know who I am,” Pelloux told me. 

The reference points I had disappeared. I saw all my friends with bullets in their heads or thoraxes or abdomens. The killers wanted to assassinate laughter, slaughter the smile. Dictators and torturers never laugh. This was a political act of pure Fascist and Nazi extraction.”

I think that those who have lived through terrorist attacks, or lost family members in terrorist attacks each have their own unique way of "living" after. It's a different kind of living, a different kind of life. 

This man is very, very brave. And I think the article really identifies so many of the big issues. It's very well done. 

"Pelloux refuses to be intimidated."

“We have to talk of Islamofascism. We have to call it by its name,” he told me. 

And this is a chilling, accurate and concise summary of where we are at, and obviously why he can go on, living each day in the wake of such horror. 

We cannot go back to the Middle Ages. You don’t kill people because they make cartoons and laugh. It’s crazy. Islamic State wants to destroy everything, lead us to nothingness. If they have their way we’ll have to go into museums—the Met, the MoMA—and destroy the Picassos, repaint every canvas. We are at war. I wake up saying to myself, We are at war—an underhand war."

We certainly are at war. 

The infographic at the end of the article is also particularly chilling. 

This article simultaneously scares and inspires me.