France: tribute to the teacher killed for showing caricatures of Muhammad

France: tribute to the teacher killed for showing caricatures of Muhammad
France: tribute to the teacher killed for showing caricatures of Muhammad

On October 16, 2020, Samuel Paty, 47, was stabbed and then beheaded in a street near his college in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, a quiet town in the Paris region, as he was returning home.

His killer, a radicalized 18-year-old Chechen refugee, shot dead by police, accused him of showing caricatures of Muhammad in class, after a fake news campaign on social media regarding the content of his course.

In his college, his city, in Paris, at the Ministry of Education or at the presidential palace of the Elysee, several ceremonies took place in homage to the one that President Emmanuel Macron had described as quiet hero of the French Republic.

A montage of images of the various gatherings was published in the early evening on Mr. Macron’s Twitter account.

We will continue, professor, this fight for freedom and for the reason of which you are now the face.

A quote from:Emmanuel Macron, President of France

A square located opposite the Parisian faculty of the Sorbonne was also to be renamed Square Samuel-Paty. At the beginning of the afternoon, in the college where he taught, some 300 people gathered in a tent, far from the cameras.

In the presence of the Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, students and members of the staff, about twenty teachers followed one another at the microphone, sometimes in tears.

His former colleagues pay him tribute

A purple ribbon was hung from their clothes, because we will always remember Samuel with his legendary purple scarf, backpack and helmet on our ears when we arrive, said a colleague.

They mentioned the man, the friend, the father, the teacher who, in the teachers’ room, sometimes called philosophical debates on freedom, his Star Wars mug in hand, according to another teacher.

A plaque honoring the teacher was unveiled by students.

Photo: Reuters / Éric Gaillard

Speaking ofa crime as revolting as it is unimaginable, Mr. Blanquer assured that far from dividing us, this drama helps to unite. Mr. Paty did not give up teaching what was difficult, he insisted, evoking a context of rise of fanatic and hate speech.

After the ceremony at the college, several students and teachers joined a rally at the Place de la Liberté in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, where a book-shaped monument was unveiled in front of a thousand people.

Samuel Paty was looking for a way to make people think, told this week one of her sisters, Gaëlle, in the newspaper The cross.

Show the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, those who had been at the origin of the bloody attack against the editorial staff of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in 2015, should be for the teacher the starting point of a debate, she added.

Social media at the heart of the drama

They signed his death warrant, after a parent of a student supported by an Islamist activist launched a virulent campaign against him on social networks.

Samuel Paty, professor of history and geography, was beheaded on his way home.

Photo: Reuters / CHARLES PLATIAU

The daughter of this parent is being sued for slanderous denunciation. Affected by an exclusion for indiscipline, the teenager had lied to her father, saying that she had been sanctioned for having protested against Mr. Paty’s request made to Muslim students, according to her, to report themselves during her class, which was wrong.

In the investigation, five other students, aged 13 to 15 at the time of the facts, were indicted on suspicion of having designated the teacher to his murderer.

In the morning, a plaque was inaugurated in the entrance of the Ministry of National Education by Prime Minister Jean Castex, alongside the parents and family of Samuel Paty, who wished to stay away from the press.

The unveiled plaque bears the inscription: Homage to Samuel Paty, September 18, 1973 – October 16, 2020, professor of history-geography and moral and civic education. Assassinated by an Islamist terrorist for teaching and defending the values ​​of the Republic including freedom of expression.

Mr. Castex introduced Samuel Paty as a servant of the Republic, victim of Islamist terrorism and human cowardice.

Several hundred residents of Eragny-sur-Oise, where Samuel Paty lived, near his college, gathered in the middle of the morning for a ceremony. He lived here, he was killed here. […] This barbarism has upset us, said Maguy, 75, living near the scene of the tragedy.

Young people read texts evoking freedom of expression, and a colorful fresco was unveiled on the wall of a gymnasium, accompanied by a quote from the writer Victor Hugo: Freedom begins where ignorance ends.

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