French press review 21 January 2015

France tries to learn the lessons of the Charlie Hebdo killings. The paper has a new editor. A look at the latest conspiracy theories about the massacre. And a poll looks at how young people view history.


Just two weeks after the attack on Charlie Hebdo, La Croix wonders what we should learn from what happened.

For the Catholic daily, there is no doubt that France has changed a lot in the past few weeks.

Click for RFI reports of the Charlie Hebdo killings

First, there is the reaction of the French population to the attacks - the historic unity march in Paris that saw two million people take to the streets.

"The French did not just say no to terrorism, they said yes to us," says the daily.

Another positive point is the political response, it believes.

La Croix congratulates French politicians on the mood of national unity and hopes what happened will change the relations between the French and their represantatives.

But the attacks also raise questions about French society and force us to ask how divided it really is says La Croix.

"The events exposed the gap between France's different communities," it says.

L'Humanité has a piece on cartoonist Riss, who has just become the new head of the satirical paper.

The announcement was made after Riss, who started working for Charlie in 1992, came out of hospital, where he was treated for wounds received when he was shot during the attack.

He only survived because he managed to throw himself on the floor before the attack started.

If you want to know the new chief of Charlie, you should have a look at the last cartoon he drew, says the communist daily.

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It's in Charlie's current issue and shows a cartoonist working hard. The caption reads: "Cartoonist at Charlie, 25 years of work. Terrorist, 25 seconds of work. Terrorist, a job for lazy people and idiots."

Riss told L’Huma he wants to "reinvent Charlie" but "he isn't sure that's possible after what’s happened".

The cartoonist also reacted to people who people refusing to call themselves Charlie.

"You have the right to say 'Je ne suis pas Charlie’," he says “but what matters is why you are saying it."

Libération is fighting conspiracy theories.

The newspaper explains that a lot of people are accusing the French government of manipulating the truth about the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

For example, there's one rumour saying that Ahmed Merabet, one of the policemen who died, isn't really dead.

That one is easy to debunk, explains the newspaper, the pictures clearly show blood on the pavement.

Another theory says the attack was a set-up by the French secret services because the car in which the Kouachi brothers left the scene of their crime was not the same one the police found later.

The proof of is supposed to be the colour of the wing mirrors, which appeared not to be the same on two different pictures.

That one is easy too. The wing mirrors of the car were chrome-plated. That's why on some pictures they appear silver and on others black.

Le Figaro has an interesting article on how young people perceive history.

The right-wing paper is talking about a poll conducted by the Foundation for Political Innovation in 31 countries.

They asked people aged between 16 and 29 how they perceive today's world and the events of the last century.

For example, 64 per cent of French youth and 69 per cent of American youth think the 9/11 attacks on the US was the most important event since 1989.

For young Germans the answer is the fall of the Berlin wall and for China it's the economic crisis of 2008.

The poll is quite interesting because it also shows that, overall, young people are well informed when it comes to historical events of the First and Second World Wars.

Another interesting fact, according to Le Figaro is that for 87 per cent of French youth school is the primary source of information when it comes to those wars.

A sign of hope, says the daily.


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