Return to Transcripts main page


Cartoonist Survived Terror Attack; Paris Terror Investigation Ongoing; Imagine a World

Aired January 23, 2015 - 14:00:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: surviving the "Charlie Hebdo" attack; two weeks later, the magazine's new head tells me

of his terrifying ordeal.


LAURENT SOURISSEAU, "CHARLIE HEBDO" EDITOR (through translator): I was in the room where the killers burst into the room, opened the door.

They appeared with submachine guns.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): Plus the mayor of Paris takes aim at claims of Muslim no-go zones by America's FOX News.


AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the special weekend edition of our program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.

Two weeks after the devastating Paris terror attacks, a compelling story of survival and reflections from the city's mayor on how to move on.

On Wednesday, the French prime minister, Manuel Valls, announced exceptional new measures to combat terrorism; nearly 3,000 new

counterterrorism jobs, half a billion dollars in spending and a push for changes in laws that govern its security agencies.

Seventeen people were killed on January 7th and each scene of carnage has been transformed into a shrine that dignitaries and the public keep

coming to in grief and disbelief.

My first guess is Laurent Sourisseau, the "Charlie Hebdo" cartoonist who goes by the name, Riss. He told me about being shot in the shoulder,

about the fear that he would be finished off like his colleagues were and about the courage it takes to continue his work.


AMANPOUR: Riss, welcome to the program. And we send you really heartfelt condolences for the massive losses of the last two weeks.

SOURISSEAU (through translator): Thank you very much.

AMANPOUR: Can you tell me your reaction, how did you feel about the 4 million French people who came out and marched in support of you all and of

course the 5 million "Survivor" issues of "Charlie Hebdo" that sold out a week ago?

SOURISSEAU (through translator): It gave me a sense of comfort because we were extremely violently attacked during those days. And we

felt a little alone at that time. And all those people who went out into the streets comforted us and made us realize that we weren't alone. So it

really comforted us and gave us the wish to continue.

AMANPOUR: Can I take you back two weeks?

And I notice that you have your arm bandaged up. They shot you and they shot your colleagues.

Can you tell me what happened to you and what you saw that terrible day two weeks ago?

SOURISSEAU (through translator): I was in the room where the killers burst into the room, opened the door. They appeared with submachine guns

and a colleague who was in front of me was in front of him. As soon as I saw this scene, they started to shoot. Then I lay down on the floor with

my face on the ground.

And then I just heard the sounds of gunfire. I could just hear the gunfire. I didn't even hear any shouting, any screaming. All I could hear

was the gunfire and I had my face to the ground. At one time I heard -- felt something in my shoulder and that's how it happened.

AMANPOUR: Riss, we have heard that they asked for Charb by name and maybe others as well.

Is that what happened?

SOURISSEAU (through translator): Once the shooting was over they approached my colleague, who's called Charb, who was next to me. He was

lying down on the floor, his face on the ground and they checked that it was him.

They said, "Yes, that's him. That really is him."

That was the only one where they pronounced the name "Charb," the only one.

AMANPOUR: You managed obviously to get out of there. You survived. You went to hospital.

Did you feel safe when you had gotten out?

What was it like, those first few days after this attack?

SOURISSEAU (through translator): Well, in the hours that followed my hospitalization, I was still anxious because they still -- we still hadn't

arrested the killers. So we didn't know where they were.

You know, and then they were carry on killing by taking people in the kosher supermarket. So I wondered if there were killers roaming around and

who were looking for survivors. So I did wonder if people were not looking for me in the hospital to finish me off.

AMANPOUR: Where do you find the strength to come back to work and to take up a position now as head of publication and to continue what is

obviously dangerous work?

SOURISSEAU (through translator): I don't know that it's a dangerous job. But this magazine has given me so much pleasure for so many years

that we can't deprive ourselves of this pleasure because of a gang of killers and because the surviving team wants to carry on. If the team did

not want to carry on, we wouldn't be able to carry on.

So this is something collective, collectively we want to carry on. And so the journal will carry on.

AMANPOUR: Now, Riss, millions of people in France support you; millions of people around the world do as well. And yet many people don't.

Many people thought that what you did was incredibly offensive and provocative. I would like to play something that even Pope Francis said

just two days ago about what happened.


POPE FRANCIS (through translator): If Dr. Gaspari (ph), a great friend, says a swear word against my mother, then a punch awaits him. But

it's normal. It's normal. One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people's faith. One cannot make fun of faith.


AMANPOUR: Now, Riss, obviously the pope condemned the killings. Obviously he did. But what is your reaction to people who are now saying

that, well, you can't make fun of people's faith, otherwise who knows what's going to happen?

SOURISSEAU (through translator): First of all, we have to distinguish two things, have to distinguish faith and persons. We have never sought to

make fun of people. We have a right to have a faith, to believe in God.

But you have a right to make fun of what the religions are saying, of dogma. There's a difference between dogma and individuals. That's the

first thing.

The second thing: I have convictions which are as precious and important as those who believe. I'm an atheist. As an atheist, my

convictions as an atheist must be respected just as much as those of believers.

And so I accept to live in a world where people do not have my opinions, to live alongside people who have different opinions and to hear

religious convictions that are not mine, that is to live in an open world, to accept more and more living with people who do not have the same ideas.

And if there are criticisms that are made, that's not serious. You don't have to take the caricatures for more than what they are, should not

attach more importance than when you are a believer.

You may not like these caricatures, but is it so serious? It's not so serious. If you don't like the magazine, you don't read it. You push it


And "Charlie Hebdo" does not stop people from believing.

AMANPOUR: What do you think of various British and American news organizations who did not show the cover last week?

SOURISSEAU (through translator): That is their choice. But I'm not criticizing their choice. If people make choices then they have


The fundamental question that I ask the democratic, large democratic countries like France and United States and Great Britain, is whether we

are still in a democracy or if we've slowly become a theocracy.

Are we just led by the laws of men, of people for other people?

Are we in a political system where laws are of divine origin?

Are we still in a democracy or have we become, some would say, a theocracy?

That is a fundamental question about what has happened, to me.

AMANPOUR: You said that you wish you weren't on the front lines, that you wish somebody else could take your place on the front lines.

What is your next step? What is the next step for "Charlie Hebdo"?

Do you continue to satirize Islam?

SOURISSEAU (through translator): Our principle is to make satire about all religions, second principle to speak about Islam when there's

something in the news. We're not speaking about Islam all the time because there are many other things going on, which our magazine must speak about.

So Islam is not a priority subject for us. So we will carry on speaking about religions as we've always done, not more and not less.

AMANPOUR: Thank you very much for joining us and talking to us tonight. And I wish you good luck.

SOURISSEAU (through translator): Thank you very much.


AMANPOUR: And you can hear more from Riss on how the paper will manage without some of the most talented cartoonists in the country.

That's at

And when we come back, as the staff of "Charlie Hebdo" try to rebuild their lives and try to heal their wounds, so, too, does the city of Paris

itself. My interview with the mayor, Anne Hidalgo, after a break.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Many around the world, including leaders and officials, have rallied 'round Paris in the wake of the terror attacks. This week, the mayor of

New York, Bill de Blasio, visited and offered his condolences as the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls spoke frankly about the deep divisions that

plague society.


MANUEL VALLS, FRENCH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Geographic social and ethnic apartheid has developed in our country. Add to that

social misery and daily discrimination has happened because you haven't got the right surname, the right skin color, because you're a woman.

It is by no means -- and you know me -- about looking for excuses. But we also have to look at the reality of our country.


AMANPOUR: In her first international interview since the attacks, the city's mayor, Anne Hidalgo, tells me that her city needs to stay

hypervigilant and tackle ingrained social problems as well. And she was in combative mood when talking about those she saw as critics of Paris in the

U.S. media.


AMANPOUR: Mayor Hidalgo, welcome to the program. And thanks for joining us.

HIDALGO: Merci et vous.

AMANPOUR: When you see what's happening in other parts of Europe, in next-door Belgium and in elsewhere, are you afraid of more attacks on


Do you think that there are connections between these attacks?

HIDALGO (through translator): First of all, we have to be very vigilant because for several months now, we know that jihadist teams have

been setting up in Europe and at European level the police have got together. And we, of course, remain highly vigilant. This is very


The idea has been put into place at national level. Our red alert is still enforced in Paris.

We have soldiers; we have police, who have come to help and soldiers have helped the police as well.

And any -- in any public places, and also in places where there are Jewish institutions, for example, synagogues and Jewish schools, I asked

for mosques to be protected as well, because we have seen that, following these terrorist attacks, they were also targets.

AMANPOUR: There was a terrorist cell called the 19th Arrondissement network, Buttes-Chaumont. This operated under your very noses.

How can people be confident that you will be able to infiltrate, find out, discover, break up these networks in the future?

HIDALGO (through translator): First of all, this network was disbanded some time ago. The same thing goes for the recruitment centers

in Paris.

The question I ask myself today -- and we must be transparent and we must be very serious about that, without any complacency -- is what have we

not done, which led to these terrorist attacks?

Of course today, the question turns around to education, the question of helping people, of inclusion, of cohesion for young people and of

course, these are young French people.

Very often they are of foreign extraction, but they are the ones who have committed themselves to a war. And for me, I would say right -- well,

they're saying it's in the name of God that these are lawless. They are terrorists. They're children from our country, from our towns and


The question we need to know is why, why have they done this?

And then what we need to know is what should we do so it doesn't happen again?

AMANPOUR: Well, your prime minister today gave a rather impassioned speech, Prime Minister Valls, where he said that a geographic social and

ethnic apartheid has developed in our country.

Do you agree with that description?

And I know you've laid out now -- you've said that that has to be addressed.

Do you agree with that description?

HIDALGO (through translator): Yes, I know Valls used very strong words. But it's true that there are a set number of towns, a set number of

estates which are in a very precarious situation.

The youth of today, they need to have possibilities and we have to think about this. Paris is a city where there are inequalities but where

we are working to manage them. We have to work on this seriously.

I also heard an American press source saying there were no-go zones. Now what I would say that in Paris there are no no-go zones. And in

relation to one of the American chains, that was a very stupid thing to say.

That's not how you solve problems. And that's why we are going to have to go against these words. It's insulting for Paris. It's insulting

for -- on the part of people who are, in fact, going against the honor of my city and that's why I'm going to attack it.

AMANPOUR: You say that you are -- you say that you're insulted by what an American television channel has called "no-go zones" in Paris.

What are you going to do about it?

HIDALGO (through translator): Well, some insulted and when we've had an image, then I think they'll have to sue. I think they'll have to go to

court in order to have these words removed.

The image of Paris has been prejudiced and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced. And I think in the great discussion of truth, everyone is to

play its role and we are going to have to be realistic and put things as they are.

When Manuel Valls says that there is a situation of apartheid in a certain number of towns, he's right. And we're going to have to deal with


But when the media comes up and says right in Paris there's certain areas where I was walking with Doggett Bladier (ph) earlier on, that we are

in a situation similar to the ones you find in Baghdad, that's not true. So we're going to have to make sure that what was said, what we really need

is reparation for what was said about us.

AMANPOUR: Can you clarify which exact network you're going to take to court and sue?

HIDALGO (through translator): FOX News. That's the name.

AMANPOUR: And has that upset the citizens of Paris?

HIDALGO (through translator): Of course. The citizens of Paris feel they've been insulted. That's the way they feel. They are complete lies.

The press and the media should tell the truth.

AMANPOUR: On that note, Mayor Hidalgo, thank you so much for joining us from Paris tonight.

HIDALGO: Merci et vous. Thank you so much.


AMANPOUR: So as you heard, Paris City Hall is set to make legal moves against FOX News.

FOX News itself responded, saying, quote, "We empathize with the citizens of France as they go through a healing process. But we find the

mayor's comments regarding a lawsuit misplaced."

But French television has already had its say. FOX on trial by satire -- after this.




AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, as we just heard, the mayor of Paris is serious about defending her city's reputation. Now imagine a world

where the ancient tradition of French satire strikes again, putting FOX News and their so-called experts on trial on the air.

This all started last week as the French were mourning their dead after attacks they called their 9/11. So-called experts on America's FOX

News channel appeared with alarming reports of no-go zones across all of Western Europe, run by Muslim extremists wielding sharia law.


STEVEN EMERSON, FOX NEWS TERROR EXPORT: You basically have zones where sharia courts are set up, where Muslim density is very intense, where

the police don't go in and where it's basically a separate country, almost, a country within a country.


AMANPOUR: Now this description proved unrecognizable to the inhabitants. The French ambassador himself to Washington tweeting, "It is

so ridiculous that I'm ashamed to be obliged to react."

Before the mayor of Paris said that she'd sue FOX, the French media proved the spirit of satire remains alive and well.

"Le Petit Journal," which is France's version of America's "Daily Show," reacts, well, just how you'd expect it to.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Paris is a very (INAUDIBLE) in the world. Look at them now. He was in a terrorist (INAUDIBLE). (INAUDIBLE).

It's too dangerous! Come back! Come back! Run away, run away! Oh, my God, a couscous.


AMANPOUR: Ah, yes, the threat of couscous and kebabs. Well, FOX News and their experts did apologize which came after they described similar no-

go zones in the British city of Birmingham. They had to apologize for that, too.

And Prime Minister David Cameron called their expert "an idiot." But it didn't stop a prominent U.S. governor visiting London this week and

trying to make capital out of these claims.

Louisiana's Bobby Jindal stood outside Parliament to warn Britain about its dangerous no-go zones as CNN's Max Foster found out.


BOBBY JINDAL, REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR: Look, I've heard it from folks here there are neighborhoods where women don't feel comfortable going in

without veils. That's wrong. We all know there are neighborhoods where police are less likely to go into those neighborhoods.

MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: You need to have proper sort of facts to back that up. I've lived here a long time. I don't know of any no-go zones for


JINDAL: Well, I did say so-called no-go zones and I think that the radical Left absolutely wants to pretend like this problem's not here.


AMANPOUR: And we're left to ponder the wisdom of exacerbating racial, religious and ethnic divisions at this very dangerous time. In the words

of the Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, "The press and the media should tell the truth."

That is it for our program tonight. And remember you can always see the whole show online at and follow me on Facebook and

Twitter. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.