It is now 18 months since two gunmen forced their way into the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris and set about murdering the staff of that magazine. The gunmen from al-Qaeda in Yemen called for the editor — “Charb” — by name before murdering him and most of his colleagues. In an interview shortly before his death, taking into account the threat to his life which entailed constant security protection, Stéphane Charbonnier had said, “I prefer to die standing than live on my knees.” Charb did die standing, in the office of the magazine he edited.
In the 18 months since the attack on Charlie Hebdo and the massive demonstrations in solidarity on the streets of Paris, France has suffered a terrible set of further terrorist assaults The ISIS attack (which killed 130 people) last November on the Bataclan Theatre and other sites around Paris and the attack (which killed 84 people) in Nice on July 14 are the deadliest and most prominent. But other acts of terror — including the murder last month in their home of two members of the police, carried out by a man pledging allegiance to ISIS –have gone on and almost become normal.