I am Charlie

I am Charlie, or Je suis Charlie in French.

I became an IFAW employee four years ago because I was looking for a new professional opportunity. I became part of IFAW once I realized IFAW’s work was serving a worldwide ideal of peace.

As almost everybody on Earth knows since Wednesday 7th January, our country, France, was hit by a terrorist attack targeting a satirical newspaper called Charlie Hebdo.

It is well known here in France for its satirical cartoons. Probably most of you have seen these hundreds of people holding a pen in massive demonstrations in our streets, maybe at your door; you might even be one of these people.

As a French citizen, I feel shocked.

As a member of the IFAW communication team, I feel especially concerned for four reasons:

  • Charlie Hebdo, the newspaper targeted, is the only one in France that has a permanent column dedicated to animals. This is a testimony that the cartoonists killed were first and foremost humanists. Back in 2012, Charlie Hebdo has echoed our emergency intervention in Fukushima, Japan, after the tsunami.
  • No issue can exist, and thus be tackled, in our world if it cannot be shown in the media. That is the reason why we try and provide you with as many images and footages as possible. Some of our teams run risks to get these pictures and all of us endorse a great responsibility in showing what we show. Just like journalists.
  • None of our victories would have been achieved without the press, without the freedom of the press, without freedom. Thus, I cannot do anything but express my solidarity with the journalists killed and with the wider community of journalists around the world even if this always seems insufficient.
  • Everything in this world is interlinked, not only people demonstrating in the street all over the world, but also the criminals. We do know at IFAW that those trafficking wildlife have links with those trafficking arms or drugs, and some sources have shown that some violent groups such as the terrorist ones get some cash from selling illegal ivory.

As a final word, being one of IFAW staff on the field in Cameroon terrible elephant slaughter back in 2012, I heard the sound of the Kalashnikov.

The shots heard in the attack against Charlie Hebdo were the same.

This is a terrible reminder that everything is linked in this world and most of all that journalists are precious to us and to our whole societies.

As a consequence, I am Charlie.


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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
Country Director, United States
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
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Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
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Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation
Sonja Van Tichelen, Vice President of International Operations
Vice President of International Operations
Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
Director, EU Office
Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime