Supporters of freedom of speech, freedom of the press and resistance to armed threats, adopted the slogan Je Suis Charlie (I am Charlie) as a symbol of personal identification with and support to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting occurred in Paris on 7th January 2015. The slogan has a strong protest symbolic power. The personal identification of protesters with the victims of the attack conveys the idea of their personal commitment and empowerment.
However, when used in protests outside the Francophone world the meaning of the slogan formulated in French is not easily grasped (e.g. Junior doctor protest – London, UK – Apr 2016 and Stop the war coalition march – London, UK – Dec 2015).
Moreover, its non-registration allowed uncontrolled developments, twisted uses and awkward associations of the slogan.
Adopted to support a specific cause, its transformations into messages and adaptation to topics often far away from the original intent ended up cancelling out the value and meaning of this symbol.
Scroll down to learn more about strenghts and limits of this action, or discover our analysis of the other three case studies.