Whilst looking for a piece to recite next week for our Burns Supper, celebrating the immortal memory of the Scottish Bard, I came across these lines that may go some way to summing up what Charlie Hebdo stands for and what its cartoonists and journalists paid for with their lives.  A note introducing the poem states…Burns published this song in the Edinburgh Gazeteer in 1792, updating its political flavour to the period of the French Revolutionary Wars.  The personalities mentioned in the poem were outspoken radicals who, like Burns, sympathized with the Revolution –  at least in its early stages.


Here’s to health to them that’s awa,

Here’s a health to them that’s awa.

Here’s a health to Tammie, the Norlan’ laddie,

That lives in the lug o the Law!

Here’s freedom to them that wad read,

Here’s freedom to them that would write!

There’s nane ever fear’d that the truth should be heard,

But they whom the truth would indite!

(3rd verse of Here’s a health to them that’s awa – Robert Burns)


‘Beneath the rule of men entirely great

The pen is mighter than the sword’