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‘Without Humor, We Are All Dead': Cartoonists Pay Tribute to Fallen Comrades After Charlie Hebdo Massacre

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“We are Charlie” projected on Place de la République in Paris after the attach against Charlie Hebdo. Photo via Claire Ulrich

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:  

"I do not fear retribution. I have no children, no wife, no car, no credit. It might seem pompous, but I'd rather die standing up than live on my knees." Image widely circulated online.

“I do not fear retribution. I have no children, no wife, no car, no credit. It might seem pompous, but I'd rather die standing up than live on my knees.” Image widely circulated online.

Blogger @Le_M_Poireau mourned the loss of Cabu: 

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:

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:

-The pope is going too far!  -This is my body! Image from Charlie Hebdo's Facebook page.

The pope is going too far!: “This is my body!”
Image from Charlie Hebdo's Facebook page.

Prophet Muhammad is tired of extremists: ”It is a challenge to be loved by idiots.”

Prophet Muhammad is tired of extremists: ”It is a challenge to be loved by idiots.”

There is no God.  -Yes!

-There is no God.
-Yes!
Image by Cabu

100 lashes if you are not laughing!  Images from Charlie Hebdo's Facebook page.

100 lashes if you are not laughing!
Images from Charlie Hebdo's Facebook page.

In its latest cover before the attack, Charlie Hebdo published an eerie cartoon by Charb:

Still no attacks in France. Wait, we still have until the end of January to wish people an excellent new year.    Image from Alexandre Hervaud's Twitter page.

Still no attacks in France. Wait, we still have until the end of January to wish people an excellent new year.
Image from Alexandre Hervaud's Twitter page.

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.

4 cartoonists in heaven, Muhammad and Jesus are dismayed… 

“This is not a religion” – Dorian Danielsen

Proud of my ex-colleagues. CBC newsroom in Montreal supports #CharlieHebdo

Rest in peace and thanks for the memories.

21 comments

  • […] days earlier, two gunmen had attacked the Charlie Hebdo's office in Paris, killing 12 people, including eight journalists and […]

  • […] 皮肉なことに、ディアスがこの知らせを受けたのは、フランスの風刺雑誌シャルリー・エブドへの襲撃の翌日で、スペインの大統領マリアーノ・ラホイがスペイン政府と国民を代表して「表現の自由に対する支持」を示していたところであった。ツイッターでは、#YoConFacu(ファクと共に)というハッシュタグが、ディアスへの支持を表明し、表現の自由を守るために使用されている。ディアスは、今後も風刺を続けていくつもりだ、と述べている。 […]

  • […] Масакарот на персоналот на Чарли Хебдо ја поттикна дискусијата за слободата на изразување на карикатуристите и означи време на преиспитување на цензурата и лошите услови во кои работат карикатуристите во повеќе земји.  […]

  • […] 1月11日の日曜日、ヨーロッパ中で何百万もの人々がデモ行進に参加した。表現の自由の抑圧を狙った行為と、仏紙「シャルリー・エブド」への襲撃に対し、激しい抗議を示すのが目的である。またその同じ日に、EU参加国の内務大臣が集まり、ヨーロッパにおけるテロ対策の共通方針について議論が交わされた。 […]

  • […] The French government unveiled on April 17 a national campaign to combat racism and antisemitism in France. The objective of the campaign is to fight all prejudices, raise awareness and get citizens engaged in the conversation. 100 millions euros will be allocated over 3 years to educate and promote cultural diversity. The hashtag #planantiracisme (the plan against racism) was the number one trending topic on twitter on the day of the announcement.  According to the Report on Racism and Antisemitism by the Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l’Homme CNCDH (National Comission on Human Rights), there was a 30%  increase in racists acts in 2014 (from 1,274 in 2013 to 1,662 in 2014). Antisemitic acts went from 423 in 2013 to 851 in 2014, including the attack on the Kosher store after the Charlie Hebdo shooting. […]

  • […] On April 17, the French government unveiled a national campaign to combat racism and antisemitism in France. The objective of the campaign is to fight all prejudices, raise awareness and get citizens engaged in the conversation. 100 millions euros will be allocated over 3 years to educate and promote cultural diversity. The hashtag #planantiracisme (the plan against racism) was the number one trending topic on twitter on the day of the announcement.  According to the Report on Racism and Antisemitism by the Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l’Homme CNCDH (National Comission on Human Rights), there was a 30%  increase in racists acts in 2014 (from 1,274 in 2013 to 1,662 in 2014). Antisemitic acts went from 423 in 2013 to 851 in 2014, including the attack on the Kosher store after the Charlie Hebdo shooting. […]

  • […] On April 17, the French government unveiled a national campaign to combat racism and antisemitism in France. The objective of the campaign is to fight all prejudices, raise awareness and get citizens engaged in the conversation. 100 millions euros will be allocated over 3 years to educate and promote cultural diversity. The hashtag #planantiracisme (the plan against racism) was the number one trending topic on twitter on the day of the announcement.  According to the Report on Racism and Antisemitism by the Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l’Homme CNCDH (National Comission on Human Rights), there was a 30%  increase in racists acts in 2014 (from 1,274 in 2013 to 1,662 in 2014). Antisemitic acts went from 423 in 2013 to 851 in 2014, including the attack on the Kosher store after the Charlie Hebdo shooting. […]

  • […] acts went from 423 in 2013 to 851 in 2014, including the attack on the Kosher store after the Charlie Hebdo shooting.  France Launchs National Campaign to Curb Down Racist and Antisemitic […]

  • […] Σύμφωνα με την Έκθεση για τον Ρατσισμό και τον Αντισημιτισμό της γαλλικής Εθνικής Έπιτροπής Ανθρωπίνων Δικαιωμάτων, το 2014 σημειώθηκε αύξηση των ρατσιστικών πράξεων κατά 30% (από 1.274 το 2013 σε 1.662 το 2014). Οι αντισημιτικές ενέργειες αυξήθηκαν από 423 το 2013 σε 851 το 2014, μέσα σε αυτές και η επίθεση στο εβραϊκό κατάστημα μετά τους πυροβολισμούς στην Charlie Hebdo. […]

  • […] of the many threats aimed at French journalists for their reporting on Islamic militants since the Charlie Hebdo killing on January 7, 2015. In June, French journalist Anna Erelle (a pseudonym) was trying to understand […]

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