“It’s been very hard,” says Michel Catalano, the printing house owner held hostage by the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attackers after French President Francois Hollande awards him medal of honor. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Hollande honors Charlie Hebdo survivors
French President Francois Hollande inaugurates a rebuilt printing house north of Paris — the same building where the Charlie Hebdo attackers holed-up in before being killed by police more than a year ago.
Footage captured from that time shows some of the attackers on the streets of Paris shouting “we have avenged the prophet Mohammad.”
On Thursday, Hollande awarded the French medal of honour to the survivors of the standoff at the printing house.
(SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, SAYING:
“We can see that terrorism is everywhere and that we must fight, fight with strength when necessary. I’m talking about military strength. Fight also with the mind, with ideas, with culture, with arts to show what humankind is and that it must repel hatred and intolerance. Here are all the messages you send here, from this printing house.”
For the printing house owner Michel Catalano who was taken hostage that day — it is a memory he still lives with everyday — even as he takes pride in in the recovery of his business.
(SOUNDBITE) (French) PRINTING HOUSE OWNER WHO WAS HELD HOSTAGE BY CHARLIE HEBDO ATTACKERS, MICHEL CATALANO, SAYING:
“I say all the time because it’s important, there are hard times but I know we can overcome them and it’s really the image I want to give because these are difficult times. That’s why I’m so moved because it’s been very hard. I was still here at 1 a.m. this morning decorating the building because for me it was important it look nice. It’s important that we…”
The attacks launched a solidarity movement — “Je Suis Charlie” — a slogan still imprinted on those who can never forget what happened.