Earlier today I learned that one of our colleagues was one of the journalists gravely wounded in the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices. Philippe Lançon, a very well-known journalist for Libération who also collaborated with Charlie Hebdo, spent last year here as a Media Fellow, in our department, and taught two courses for us, as well as gave many talks and was very actively engaged here intellectually, as you might expect of someone of his mind and wit. I didn’t realize he was among the wounded until another colleague emailed the rest of us today. My understanding is that, while seriously wounded, his prognosis is good, but it’s just…hard for me to wrap my mind around this event, as it is for everyone, I think, and to actually know someone who was caught in it makes it that much harder to encompass, while at the same time bringing it closer. The colleague who emailed to let us know is actually teaching a course on freedom of expression in France, inspired in part by some of the work with Lançon, a course that, by bitter coincidence, started yesterday, of all days.
The Eiffel Tower went dark tonight in honor of the victims.
I’m sorry to bring dark things to this site, as you know that is something I prefer to avoid, but of course you know how important Paris and France are to me, and my husband, of course, is Parisian, and these are artists and journalists he “grew up with” (reading their work).
It’s a very grievous thing.