Johnny Hallyday's appearance at a solemn ceremony in Paris today recalls Richard Branson's turning up at Princess Diana's funeral and pausing on the steps of the cathedral to grin and wave at the crowd, as if he was attending a pop concert.
Johnny is a great entertainer, but he is over-rated and there have been better. It's impossible to walk into newspaper shops in France and not see him staring back at you from a magazine cover. Also he is not representative of the French people ~ he is Belgian, and left France to avoid paying his taxes.
I have little sympathy for the victims of Charlie Hebdo. This is not to say that they deserved to be killed in such a horrible way, but they were warned several times about what they were doing, and they should have had the sense to stop, freedom of speech or not. Religion is sacred, no matter who we pray to. Just because UK comedians can get away with Jesus "masturbation" sketches and parodies such as The Life of Brian does not mean that other religions have the same tolerance and ability to ignore the mockery. Nor should they, though to react as they did with not unprecedented violence was heinous. Charlie Hebdo should have been dealt with legally, without bloodshed.
As for the musical interludes at today's ceremony. Yes, we have Jacques Brel who also was Belgian, but Brel ~ the great humanist and a million times more so than any rock star ~ is more fitting with the song Francois Hollande has chosen, and "Le temps des cérises" has long been acknowledged as a poignant example of French patriotism. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that it all doesn't swell into The Johnny Hallyday Show, with the hero launching into "Le penitentier".