‘It could have been my family’ – Montreal woman reacts to Paris shootings

By Kassandra Gavin-Henry
Jan. 15, 2015

On Jan. 7, 2015, Fanny Marcil was working at a restaurant in downtown Montreal when she learned about the terrorist attack at Charlie Hebdo, a French magazine in Paris.
Marcil, 20, is from La Charente, France, three hours from Paris. She moved to Montreal 12 years ago for work.
Marcil has friends, a great aunt, and an uncle in the area of the attack, as well as a great uncle who lived 25 minutes away from the shooting.
She immediately texted her mom after learning the news, worried about loved ones in the area.
“The whole topic is very close and dear to my heart, as a French person.”
Charlie Hebdo, a weekly French satirical magazine, was attacked by a terrorist group which killed 12 people, including the magazines top editor, cartoonists, and two police officers.
Familiar with the postings of Charlie Hebdo, Marcil said people in France have a very different sense of humour, along with their freedom of speech.
“I understand they just want people to laugh, but they’ve mocked a lot of things that are just not right.”
During work, Marcil was watching a news report on the shootings with a Muslim co-worker.
When she noticed her friend had stopped watching, she asked why.
“He told me to look, and the front page was on the TV.”
When asked about the trending hashtag Je Suis Charlie, Marcil said she agrees but also doesn’t agree.
“I am Charlie, but I am also not.”
Marcil said she believes what has been done is not comparable, yet both sides have done something wrong.
“If you tell Charlie to stop doing that they do, it goes against what the French people have been fighting for.”
After the shootings at Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Oct. 22, 2014, Marcil said she could see something similar happening in Montreal.
“You think it’s going to happen in America, not in France.”
Malpeque MP and former Solicitor General, Wayne Easter, said he finds himself in a different position after being on lockdown during the shootings at Parliament Hill.
“There’s always been threats, the difference is they’re being made in a public way.” The purpose of these attacks is to cause fear, Easter told a journalism class at Holland College Jan. 16.
“We can’t complicate our very values and freedom out of fear.”
Easter said he sees the greatest fear amongst young staff on Parliament Hill, as the secretaries and interns are between 21-28 years old.
“Some people are still fearful to go to work.”