Face of the day


Jeannette Bougrab, the girlfriend of murdered Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier in a screenshot from an interview with France’s BMFTV. She told the channel: “I pleaded with him to leave France but he wouldn’t. My partner is dead – murdered because he did drawings in a newspaper.” — PHOTO: YOUTUBE

Today’s face of the day is Jeannette Bougrab. From the below article I caught a glimpse of the kind of man Stephane Charbonnier was through her words. It is a moving piece that shows that she shares his courage and is not hesitant to speak out. It is clear that she loved him deeply.

The devastated girlfriend of the Charlie Hebdo’s murdered editor Stephane Charbonnier – nicknamed Charb – has told French TV that she always feared he would be targeted.

Jeannette Bougrab, 41, lived with Charbonnier for three years until he was killed in Wednesday’s attack on the satirical French magazine.

Paying tribute to his idealism, she said she believed, as he did, in what he was doing.

She told French news channel TF1: “I haven’t lost Charlie Hebdo, I’ve lost a loved one.

“I’m not here as a former government minister but as a woman who’s lost her man – murdered by barbarians.

“I admired him before I fell in love with him and I loved him because he was like that, because he defied things.

“He saw life as a small thing when you need to defend your ideals.

“Do you know people today who would die for their ideas? No. Because they’ve just died. They’ve just been murdered. And they didn’t do anything.”

And she believes in what he spent his life doing so much she would exchange places with him.

“I wish I could be in his place and give my life rather than it be him that has gone. I wish I could take his place so he could keep fighting.”

Ms Bougrab, a lawyer, revealed she always feared her lover would be murdered – just as Dutch cartoonist Theo Van Gogh was in 2004, according to Britain’s Daily Mirror.

He had been particularly threatened since publishing controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in November 2011.

In a second interview with BFMTV, she said: “I always felt he was going to die like Theo Van Gogh.

“I pleaded with him to leave France but he wouldn’t. My partner is dead – murdered because he did drawings in a newspaper.

“He died standing up for what he believed in. They died so we could remain free in France.

“He defended secularism. He defended the spirit of Voltaire. He, in fact, was really the embodiment of this ideal of the Republic we’ve almost forgotten.

“He died, executed with his comrades, as he would call them.

“If I was President I’d give them the Pantheon.”

Situated in the Latin quarter of Paris, the Pantheon is the burial place of France’s ‘great men’.

Ms Bougrab, a lawyer, former French Secretary for Youth and Community Life and now a member French National Council of State, was told of the shooting during a state meeting.

She sent a flurry of text messages and phone calls as she desperately tried to contact Mr Charbonnier, the Mirror said..

Ms Bougrab told BFMTV: “I sent him a text, a second text, a third text – then I phoned him. He wasn’t answering and he never did that.

“When I got there we weren’t allowed to get in through the cordons. I learned there he was dead.”

And she paid tribute to the Charlie Hebdo staff who lost their lives on Wednesday in the massacre which left 12 dead – including five cartoonists, two police officers

“They were exceptional people, real heroes. I was with a hero I admired. We were totally different politically but he told me I was a Communist who was in denial.”

Wednesday’s attack on the satirical newspaper led to an outpouring of support around the world as the Je Suis Charlie message went viral.

But Ms Bougrab cannot see it as a sign of victory or hope because her partner has lost his life, and it offers her little comfort.

She said: “Absolutely not, because he’s dead. It’s absolutely not a victory. It’s a defeat.

“It’s a tragedy for our country and I cannot take joy from the idea people are demonstrating in the streets because they have torn away the precious being who was my companion in life.”

The daughter of Algerian immigrants , Ms Bougrab served under Nicolas Sarkozy and has been described as a ‘hard secularist’.

She has not been afraid to criticise religion, particularly Islam. She and Mr Charbonnier both supported France’s strong separation of religion and state.

And she warned the lines are less clear in the battles fought in the modern world.

She said: “War today is not a war that is declared. I’m not convinced the measures and legislation available to us today are enough.

“Today the internet and Twitter help hatred spread where anonymous people can decide on fatwas – who lives and who dies – and we haven’t necessarily taken appropriate steps.

“I spent 17 days in Pakistan and nothing happened to me, but now in France, where we tell others how to do things, my partner is dead, murdered because he did drawings in a newspaper.

“I would just like somebody to explain what is happening in France. I think some people won’t follow the adventures of Charlie because they are terrorised, because they fear for their lives and they know that today in France when you take up a pencil you may be killed. That’s what is happening in France today.”
– straitstimes.com


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  • dumbshit

    very moving, she is right on the money with the last paragraph, amazing their difference in political views, “communist in denial” that would fit quite a few people!

  • Cadwallader

    A question: When will the Christian Church here in NZ (and elsewhere) denounce Islam as the vile and ridiculous death cult it is? Have we heard anything at all criticizing Islamos from a cleric in this country? I haven’t.
    Are the Christian clerics gutless or stupid or both? In the event that a senior Christian cleric makes any sort of a statement the msm will depict him as a caring wise person when in reality he’s likely to be a cowering dribbling fool.
    If the Church in NZ has any sort of a future it had better start screaming its residual principles from the roof-tops before it subsides into obsolescence. (Irrelevance is something I think it has already attained.)

    • HR

      Answer: they won’t. The church is becoming less and less relevant, and there are so many religions now they are all splintered. Actually, your question gave me a mental image of Brian Tamaki on TV or riding round on his Harley all covered in snake oil denouncing the atrocities going on in the name of Islam. What a laugh!
      But you are right, the Church should be doing/saying something, and they are not.

      • intelligentes candida diva

        The responsibility to address this ever increasing siege is not up to the churches, of course they can play a part however it is up to me, you and the general populous who do not agree, along with the government of each country to implement sage laws to protect the values of its citizens.

        • HR

          It is up to everyone to oppose these animals, and we all have our part to play, I am with you there. But the silence from the Churches has been deafening, and I love poking fun at the “Bishop”…..

    • intelligentes candida diva

      My understanding is The Pope has spoken out. Also why is it up to the clergy and churches, their say is but one voice? Where are the atheists, agnostics, and so on?Reality is those who hold the key to change are ultimately the law makers and I think a referendum on immigration is a good start for NZ .

      • Rocket

        Morning ICD. Here I am, one you might call an atheist, although I prefer the word sceptic as I do not believe in the tooth fairy, nor little green men in flying saucers either.
        I regularly, when opportunity arises, point out the logical faults in any and all of the religious belief systems.
        Assuming you are a believer, I ask you this:- would you and all others abandon your beliefs if that meant that these Islamic cretins would abandon theirs?

        • Kopua Cowboy

          Why should she? She isn’t running around killing people who use a pen in a way she doesn’t like.

        • intelligentes candida diva

          I have faith.
          To answer your question
          No for the following reasons
          Im an evidenced based person
          Stand for something or you fall for anything.
          At this point in time I do not believe it is the belief system of the collective that is as corrupt as the dominant and violent ones who are promoting extremist aspects to evoke violence and create fear. I am not an expert on The Quran however I am reasonably intelligent enough to know words from any book can be manipulated and interpreted. The forever debate of texts within The Bible is a good example.

          Now I ask you a question in the same vein you ask me would you change your belief system if someone else would ?

      • ex-JAFA

        I’m not sure how much weight any declaration by atheists would carry. For starters, there’s no collective/headquarters to speak on behalf of individuals, so each of us must speak out independently. Then there’s the problem that we deride any and all religions, so those of another faith might think we’re just engaging in a bit of generic theism-bashing rather than condemning Islam.

        • intelligentes candida diva

          The collective of any group for or against anything is one to initiate an action supportedthen by another, ones with courage, thecreed really is not the relavence.
          Why is this womans beautiful face and grief as this post, because Islamic terrorists of any faction are bold brazen and not cowering. I was making an opposing point using atheists as the example. In reality it is each of us who are the collective who oppose the hiding behind a religious theology to perform acts of violence.

    • dgrogan

      These religions are all gutless. Nobody spoke out when the Nazis were slaughtering Jews either – until the true horror was revealed that is.
      Reminds me a lot of what I’ve seen in France lately.

    • mike

      Are you asking for the Pope to declare the Catholic equivalent of a fatwa against Islam?

      • Cadwallader

        I need to ponder that. Not at all sure.

        • Kopua Cowboy

          The answer is obvious, I think. There is nothing wrong with holding up an example and saying, “Jesus condemns this.” The difference is, if an Imam did this, people would die.

    • friardo

      Most christians understand that secular science has stripped their religions of their power, their aura, their mystery and morality. What they say is now largely irrelevant because the church is irrelevant.

      You might say that atheism has grown but most atheists have simply dropped religion behind them and are happy with no replacement at all, or like myself just dismissed religion from the first time they met it, not overtly or stridently, largely ignoring it except as a quaint historical remnant of interest for discussion only if someone else bring such a matter to the surface. Most don’t hate religion for all the harm it has done, that was just the way things were. It will die out quietly.

      NOT ISLAM. It has seen the power of science and secularism, the freedom that separation of state, legislature and religions brings to individuals in such societies. The apostate is worse than Christians or even Jews. Nevertheless I am quite strongly convinced that Islam will collapse into the same impotence that has struck Judaism and Christianity, The strident fire breathing vanity of faith in the clearly non existent will eventually die under the suffocating necessity for rationalism.

  • Sally

    And yet his family has denied they were in a relationship and stopped her attending his funeral. They have asked her to not speak about Charbonnier again.

    • Cambo

      Yes, I found that interesting…

  • intelligentes candida diva

    What eloquence, beautiful. I believe she articulates the sentiments of many.

    When in Paris I stayed in the Latin quarter

  • Eiselmann

    So easy to forget behind every number there are people like you and me , who’s life has been torn apart because they lost someone they loved.