January 11 – silent march

I was printing photos in my basement darkroom in my home in the south of France when I heard the news on the radio. It happens I was about to go further south, to the island of Porquerolles for my birthday on January 10. January 11 was the day of the marches in France. The closest one was in Aix-en-Provence and that’s where I went on Sunday. It was a cold but sunny day in Aix and there was a considerable crowd waiting at 2 o’clock in front of the City Hall. Many families, many children. It was mostly a silent march, except for occasional applause.
What else can be said? I was not a regular reader of Charlie Hebdo, I read rather Hara Kiri, the ancestor of Charlie, in my youth. But it isn’t about who read it or who did not. I joined the march as a photographer — I don’t draw the world but photograph it. No one tells me what to photograph or how to photograph it, because I have the privilege of living in a country that protects freedom of expression. But as the tragic events of January 2015 have shown us, this right we all take for granted here is under attack. The world has suddenly become more dangerous, more uncertain, with executions in the heart of Paris.
But there has also been an incredible movement of fraternity and solidarity, and an outpouring of support through a multitude of forms : articles, cartoons, photographs, poems, songs. Four million people took to the streets on Sunday, I one of them. With camera in hand.

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