Jimmy Cliff in 1973

Sooner or later you’re gonna have to stand up tall
Sooner or later when your backs against that wall
Sooner or later you’ll have to be the one you are
And you just might find that you’re out of time and it’s just too late

In less than 48 hours the magazine Charlie Hebdo will publish its first magazine since the massacre last Weds in which 12 people were killed at their offices and a further 4 murdered in the subsequent hostage attack at the Hyper Cacher shop.

 A Day of Reckoning

The cover comes out Weds morning the 14th Jan although it may well be publicised late tomorrow, Tuesday 13th. The remaining staff at Charlie Hebdo have probably been pondering a choice — they may choose to refer to the slaughter directly as many cartoonists in the preceding week have done — the Indy’s defiant rising finger being one great example. Alternatively, Charlie may choose an image that reinforces their entire being and shows the world that this small bastion of free-speech intends to carry on doing what it does best: offending, pricking pomposity and raising a finger of its own to the forces of hate. In other words an image that says to the World: here at Charlie Hebdo it’s business as usual. An image such as this may well involve a drawing of Mohammed or Mecca or one of many other symbols holy to Muslims.

There will be a great many people especially those in the media who will be hoping, praying dearly that Charlie opts for the former because if they go for the latter then too many people who claimed ‘#jesuischarlie’ will be faced with an uncomfortable day of reckoning. Do they republish the cover — it will surely be one of the most talked-about news items of 2015 — in its entirety or will they choose the ‘#jenesuispascharlie’ option and avoid broadcasting or reprinting the image at all…?

The Channel 4 reporter Jonathan Rugman smelled the rotteness of this latests hashtaggery very early on when on 7th Jan he said:

“Let’s be honest. We are not “all Charlie”: many media outlets self-censor in ways the magazine rarely has so as not to cause offence.”

How true. We may well see Wednesday morning just who stands up tall and who cowers behind a poorly-pixellated picture of one of the biggest image stories of 2015.


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