Evanston newsstand to carry most recent Charlie Hebdo issue

Tori Latham, Assistant City Editor

Evanston residents will soon be able to get their hands on a copy of the most recent issue of Charlie Hebdo. 

The French satirical magazine will be available at the Chicago-Main Newsstand, 860 Chicago Ave., as early as Friday morning, newsstand manager Eric Ismond, said.

“Years ago, we carried the magazine, and we’ve been dealing with the distributor for years,” Ismond said. “About seven years ago there was not enough demand to keep carrying it, but now everyone is interested.”

On Jan. 7, gunmen targeted the Charlie Hebdo Paris offices and killed 12 people in response to the controversial magazine’s frequent cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad and criticism of Islam. The cover of the most recent issue, printed after the massacre, shows Muhammad with a tear rolling down his face and holding a sign that says “Je Suis Charlie,” a phrase of solidarity that became popular among those who denounced the attack.

The issue’s print run has reached 7 million amid a surge in interest in the publication, according to international media reports. The magazine usually prints 60,000 copies.

Only 300 magazines will be sent to the United States, and those issues will be distributed to cities across the nation, Ismond said. He does not know how many copies Chicago-Main will receive.

“No store will have very many,” he said. “I’m guessing we’ll only have a handful. I’m hoping for more copies in another shipment, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens.”

The magazine will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis and only one issue will be allowed per person, according to the newsstand’s website. 

City manager Wally Bobkiewicz said he was not surprised to hear that Chicago-Main would have copies of Charlie Hebdo for sale.

“While there has not been much community discussion about the magazine being available there, most comments I have heard have been along the lines of, ‘Of course, the Chicago-Main Newsstand will have it. They have everything else,’” he said.

Evanston restaurant owner Pascal Berthoumieux, a French citizen, also said he expected the city to have the magazine.

“Evanston is known to be a more liberal town,” Berthoumieux said. “It makes sense to me that they would import the issue.”

Ismond said it is the store’s policy to try to carry everything available.

“We’re happy to be a part of it,” he said. “There have been a lot of people interested in it, and we want to take care of the people who want to see or buy a copy.”

There has not yet been any negative response toward the newsstand’s decision to carry the magazine, Ismond said.

Berthoumieux said he knew how difficult copies were to come by, whether in the United States or in France, so he was glad to hear it would be available in the city. He was able to subscribe to “Charlie Hebdo” and plans to carry the weekly issues at his pastry shop, Patisserie Coralie, 600 Davis St., as a way to express his encouragement for free speech and stand in solidarity with the French people.

“Lots of Americans have showed support for the French,” Berthoumieux said. “You can’t compare this trauma to 9/11, but when 9/11 happened, we were all Americans and now, we are all French. We are all Charlie.”

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