French weekly magazines review 22 November 2015

Text by: Clea Broadhurst
8 min

All the French weeklies have special editions and they pay tribute to France this week, in the wake of the Friday the 13th Paris attacks, most of them bearing the colours of the French flag, Bleu blanc rouge (Blue, white and red). But Marianne’s cover is all black.



The magazines this week use the word French President François Hollande has used after the Paris attacks. They also pay tribute to the victims, offer analysis on how to carry on after such an ordeal and how to understand these acts of terrorism without equating Islam and Muslims with extremism.

Click here to read more articles on Paris attacks

L’Express and Le Nouvel Observateur headline with how to fight and crush the Islamic State (IS) armed group, or Daesh to use a pejorative Arabic acronym widely adopted in the French media.

Le Nouvel Obs’ editorial is all about not giving in to the fear that the enemy tries to instil in all of us. But it also asks why France has gone into Syria, while pointing out that the nation didn't attack France but rather some "extremists" that should not represent an entire country.

Using strong and powerful words, the magazine goes into depth about how to “fight”, asking how to cut back IS’s funding - “Dismantle”, start by finding the brains of such operations; “Protect”, reinforce the country’s security; “Resist”, continue to live despite this climate of fear and adapt to the new and unknown dangers. And finally “debate”, try to understand suicide attacks and why these specific places were targeted.

L’Express’s editorial asks the burning questions, those asked by most French people. Why has this happened, how did it happen and what should we do next? Why couldn’t this be prevented? What are the authorities doing? Isn’t it about time to find an agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin to crush IS? It concludes by saying that these questions need to be addressed unless we want to see more French people die on French soil.

Click to see the graphics

The magazine goes into Hollande’s strategic turnaround and how he now needs to lead from the frontlines. It also has a piece dedicated to the French citizens that are part of IS, explaining how the attacks in Paris confirm that France is one of its main targets and how the organisation recruits many here in France.

Le Point's cover shows people embracing each other close to the Bataclan, the concert hall that was the theatre of a bloody massacre, the night of the attacks, with the headline “Our war."

The editorial calls for “War to save civilisation”. It says the events reveal how important national unity is, how opposing political parties should - as much as possible - stick together in the face of danger. How upgrading security levels and how the need to neutralise all jihadists should become a priority and, finally, now that “we are at war”, how to rethink France’s involvement at an international level, even if this means working hand in hand with Russia and Iran to destroy IS.

Le M du Monde headlines with “Living with it”, and has a three-page cover honouring the French flag. Its editorial is a call to celebrate life, now more than ever, especially, it says, given that other countries that suffer from war and terrorism carry on living.

It expresses France's gratitude for international messages of sympathy, with a special mention to HBO’s John Oliver’s speech about how destroying France’s culture would be such a challenge, since it has Jean-Paul Sartre, Edith Piaf, wine, cheese and mounted pâtisserie centrepieces that he calls “Freedom towers”. Le Monde ends by stating they had gone ahead with publishing this week’s culture and art magazine to show just how much there was a need to carry on with what makes France what it is.

Marianne headlines with “We will always stand up!” Its editorial states that now everyone knows that this is war, an invisible one since the enemy choses when and where to strike, a war that opposes radicalism against Western values.

The magazine has several articles celebrating Paris and the places that were hit on Friday, “Places where we party, places where they chose to spill their hatred” states one journalist. It also goes into how the authorities have failed when it comes to antiterrorism.

Click to enlarge the map

One article says the 13 November is a turning point. Not only because it means maybe thinking about getting cosy with Russia and Iran but also because that means moving to a sixth French republic, saying that the fifth has hit a wall and is inadequate to face today's challenges. The government needs to build a stronger consensus if it wants to wage and win the war against terrorism.

Le Figaro magazine has the Eiffel Tower covered by the French flag on its cover and headlines with “France standing tall”. The editorial leads with the word “Resist”.

It says that France has closed its eyes to an organisation - meaning Daech - that rejects its values. It continues by stating that this time around, after the attack on Charlie Hebdo in January, it was clearly not lone wolves that attacked randomly and that it’s important to differentiate between Islam and terrorism.

Finally satirical paper Le Canard Enchaîné headlines  “Organising resistance from the bistrots”. It goes into several reasons why France is now at war because of failures to take necessary measures to fight terrorism, concluding that it's now time to bring out the big guns.

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