I just returned from Paris last month, where my husband, Jonathan and I went to see the revitalized play, “An American in Paris.” Our dear friend, Garen Scribner, was cast for the play and we went to watch him perform. It was a fantastic play, lots of acting, singing and dancing and a great rewrite of the original script for the 1952 movie staring Gene Kelly.
Now that I am back home in Floyd, and editing the upcoming Artemis Journal, I was shocked by the recent tragic shootings in Paris last week, in which 17 people were murdered at the Charlie Hebdo Magazine office and a Jewish grocery store.
As the editor of a poetry and art journal, Paris has always inspired me and represents a city where the freedom of thought and tolerance abounds. You see it in the many museums, the public art and statues in city parks, the theatre, the many small bookstores throughout the city and the feisty dialog of our French friends who live in Paris. Of course the French have problems with a growing rise in anti Semitism and anti Muslim, which obviously needs to be addressed and is highlighted by the tragic events of last week.
The tragedy began at the Charlie Hebdo when two brothers stormed the office and gunned down 2 police officers, a maintenance worker, eight journalists and a visitor, including the Magazine’s editor. The tragic line of events continued at a Jewish grocery store, in which another gunman took twelve hostages and killed four victims.
In response to the tragedy, Sunday’s rally in Paris brought an estimated three million people who took to the streets to honor the 17 victims. This is the highest on record according to the French Government. World leaders joined in the march and observed a minute of silence before the march began.
So many marchers crammed the streets and created a bottleneck at Place de la Republique, that side streets were opened to help ease the crowds. The French values of “liberty, equality and fraternity” were on display throughout the march, as well as the phrase “Je suis Charlie” (French for “I am Charlie”) which came to be a common worldwide sign of solidarity against the attacks. My French friends were so sad by these tragic events and in my calls to them they said “we had to go to the streets to show we were not afraid”.
Standing in solidarity with the French, Artemis’s theme for our upcoming journal is “The courage of our convictions” which addresses this important topic of freedom of speech and expression. “Je suis Charlie!”
Jeri Rogers, Editor
Feb.15th deadline for poetry, art, photography & short stories, submissions
For further information go www.artemisjournal.org