Yesterday, as you are no doubt aware, was a bad, sad day for France. An act of terrorism directed at the office of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine, has left twelve people dead and twenty-four injured, four of them severely. You can’t also have failed to notice that the message of Je suis Charlie has gone viral. It means simply “I am Charlie” signifies support for the freedom of expression, a basic right of any democratic state.

Le Parisien has a rolling update of events here.

You’ll see copies of the messages from Obama and Queen Elizabeth, and many touching photos of support – the impromptu rassemblements that sprung up all over the country. More are organised for today. For example, the main town of Creuse, Guéret, has one at 12.30.

Today, in consequence, is a day of mourning. It was declared yesterday evening. I wasn’t sure if Rors would even have school today. Back in Ireland, there was a day of mourning on the day of Pope John-Paul’s funeral and all schools were shut. So I was busily surfing the net last night, trying to find out what today might entail. To mark this atrocity, flags will fly at half mast for three days and today there will be a minute’s silence at midday at all schools and other educational establishments, and also all places of public administration.

Days of mourning are not quite as restrictive as they once were. In 1974, after Président Georges Pompidou died, everything shut for the day. However, they remain a powerful symbol of a nation’s united grief and, in this case, outrage.

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