Schools across France paid homage in memory of Samuel Paty, a 47-year old history and geography teacher at the College Bois-d'Aulne in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Saturday, October 16, one year after Paty's murder.
Presenting a commemorative plaque outside the Ministry of Education, Castex said Paty was a man "who wanted to do his job, a demanding and sometimes thankless job." "Who only aspired to transmit the values of freedom, secularism, tolerance, free will," Castex said.
The plaque, presented in the presence of Paty's family, read: "Homage to Samuel Paty… Murdered by an Islamic terrorist for teaching and defending the values of the Republic, including freedom of expression."
Paty's killer, Abdullakh Anzorov, an 18-year old Chechen, was killed by the police during a confrontation right after the attack. Aljazeera reported that the teen who murdered and beheaded Paty was in contact with a Russian-speaking Syrian fighter. Macron, commenting on Paty's murder, said that cowards slew him because he represented the secular, democratic values of the French Republic. "Islamists want to take our future; they will never have it," he said.
Before his murder, Paty was threatened multiple times after showing his class cartoon depictions of Muhammad on October 6, 2020. The Muslim Prophet, according to Islam, should not be depicted in any visual representations. Depictions of Muhammad have been a sensitive issue in France since Charlie Hebdo published cartoon depictions.
France's educators were stunned by Paty's murder. A nation birthed by frequent revolutions against the Church and the Crown, the French people have always been proud of their provocative irreverence. Educators in France call Paty's murder an attack on the core values they've taught to generations of children, including the separation of church and state and the right to blaspheme.
As a show of defiance against those trying to subdue the French spirit of expression and secularism, Charlie Hebdo republished the cartoon depictions of Muhammad on February 5, 2020. The republication marked the start of the trials for the terrorist attacks caused by their initial publication of the same cartoons five years ago.
Continuing the homage to Paty, a square in the Sorbonne University Paris' Latin Quarter will be named after Paty. Several schools were already named after Paty, including a school in the multi-ethnic suburb of Valenton.
Jean-Michel Blanquer, the Education Minister, speaking during Paty's homage ceremony, said that the "French republic won't abandon its values of freedom and democracy." Blanquer believes that Paty "was doing what was expected from a teacher: transmit knowledge." "We will never forget him," he added.