On the morning of January 7 on a quiet street in Paris, two men armed with automatic weapons killed 12 people and severely injured four others during an attack on the office of French magazine Charlie Hebdo. For several years, the weekly had received threats from extremists around the world for its daring, often offensive satire.
A banner at one of the spontaneous vigils that sprung up throughout France after the assault said that the planned attack “killed 12 and wounded 66 million” citizens. In France, the shock following the massacre was compounded by the fact that for four decades, the five cartoonists were taken for granted, as much a part of the French culture as lilies in May or Bastille Day. Cabu, Wolinski, Charb, Honoré and Tignous were the “naughty uncles” that would make light fun of everything and everyone. Their irreverence knew no bounds; they could both draw a smile from teenagers and grandparents alike and offend them at the same time. They always went too far, pushing the envelope of what can be made fun of, with a particular fondness for religious satire.
Editor-in-chief Charb, whose full name was Stéphane Charbonnier, was under police protection, and his bodyguard was killed with him during the attack. Below is a quote from Charb from 2012 that is tragically prescient of the events to come:
Blogger @Le_M_Poireau mourned the loss of Cabu:
Je pense à l'homme si doux qu'était Cabu et je pleure. #CharlieHebdo
— Charlie Poireau (@Le_M_Poireau) enero 7, 2015
I think of the gentle soul that Cabu and I weep #CharlieHebdo
While a parody account of God reminded the world of their loss with a touch of humor:
Je viens de recevoir plein de dessinateurs géniaux au paradis. Ils me dessinent à poil et on se marre. Désolé qu’ils soient plus avec vous.
— Dieu Officiel (@DieuOfficiel) 7 Janvier 2015
I just welcomed four great cartoonists in heaven. They are drawing naked and we are having a blast. Feeling bad for you on earth who have lost them.
There is not much to say that has not already being debated at length in the media and on social media. So here are a few of the most irreverent cartoons that Charlie Hebdo published as well as some images that have circulated online in tribute to the slain cartoonists. As Chapatte, a fellow French cartoonist wrote in his in memorium cartoon: “Without Humor, We Are All Dead“.
Some of the controversial cartoons from the magazine that targeted religion:
In its latest cover before the attack, Charlie Hebdo published an eerie cartoon by Charb:
And here are some of the most striking cartoons and images on the web that have circulated in tribute to those killed. Some were created after the attack, while others were older images repurposed for this recent tragedy.
— NOiD (@noid_gb) enero 7, 2015
4 cartoonists in heaven, Muhammad and Jesus are dismayed…
— Sophie Dupont ✏️ (@sofille65) enero 7, 2015
— waltercolor (@waltercolor) enero 7, 2015
“This is not a religion” – Dorian Danielsen
— Jean-Baptiste ✏️ (@dijibe) enero 7, 2015
— Matthew Hotton (@MatthewHotton) enero 7, 2015
— Bruno Guglielminetti (@Guglielminetti) enero 7, 2015
Proud of my ex-colleagues. CBC newsroom in Montreal supports #CharlieHebdo
Rest in peace and thanks for the memories.