World's Cartoonists, Satirists Unite in Condemning Paris Attack
The Twitter Hashtag #jesuischarlie goes viral in support of the 12 people killed at the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo
“Very little seems funny today,” said Ian Hislop, the editor of British satire magazine Private Eye, commenting on the brutal attack on his French colleges at Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 people dead. “I am appalled and shocked by this horrific attack — a murderous attack on free speech in the heart of Europe.”
His comments were echoed by satirists and cartoonists from across Europe and the world in response to the shootings, the most deadly terrorist attack in Europe since the July 7, 2005, bombings in London.
Shortly after news of the attack broke, Dutch cartoonist Ruben L. Oppenheimer tweeted his sketch of plane flying into two upright pencils, similar to the visual of the Twin Towers.
Cannes president Pierre Lescure and past president Gilles Jacob retweeted the sketch, one of dozens by prominent cartoonists posted in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo and with the dead, who include cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Bernard Verlhac and Jean Cabut and magazine editor Bernard Maris. The French satirical magazine had been the target of a firebomb attack in 2011 after it reprinted controversial Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
One of the most retweeted cartoons was from Australia's David Pope, which shows a dead cartoonist in a pool of blood. Above him, a masked man holding a smoking machine gun says, “He drew first.”
In Paris thousands took to the streets to protest the attacks, holding pens in the air in tribute to the slain journalists and holding signs saying “Not Afraid” or “Je suis Charlie” ("I am Charlie"), in solidarity. The Twitter tag #JeSuisCharlie quickly went viral. Similar demonstrations were held in cities across Europe. The Notre Dame church in Paris announced it will ring its bells at noon Thursday — a very rare occurrence — to mark a minute of silence to be observed at schools and government buildings throughout France.
French actress Adele Exarchopoulos (Blue Is the Warmest Color) attended the rally in Paris' Republique square, posting a photo to her Instagram account of the demonstration, as did actress Charlotte Le Bon (Yves Saint Laurent).
French actor Omar Sy (X-Men: Days of Future Past) tweeted “My thoughts are with the victims and their families” and posted a photo of Martin Luther King Jr. with the caption "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, the light can. Hate cannot drive out hate, love can."
And some of France's most acclaimed directors, including Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Claude Lelouch (Les Miserables) and Olivier Nakache (The Intouchables) were among the signatories to a statement issued by the French authors, directors and producers guild expressing “full solidarity” with the journalists of the weekly, saying, “Bravery honors creation and freedom. Nothing — neither threats nor violence, whatever the motive, whether political, religious or otherwise, will hinder the freedom of expression and the freedom of creation,” the organization said.
Newspapers across Europe found their own way to show solidarity with Charlie Hebdo. Danish newspaper Berlingske said it would publish several cartoons from the French paper in its Thursday edition.
German daily the Berliner Kurier has taken things a step further with a cover page showing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad bathing in blood reading a copy of Charlie Hebdo and the headline: "No, You Can't Kill Our Freedom."
Denmark's Jyllands-Posten newspaper ran a commentary from cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, one of the creators of the controversial Muhammad caricatures from 2005 that sparked riots in some Islamic countries. Westergaard, who himself has been the target of an assassination attempt by Islamic extremists, called Charlie Hebdo “a great and anarchistic magazine ... that spares no one.”
Tim Wolff, editor-in-chief of Germany's most popular satirical publication, Titanic, said he would not be toning down his barbed spoofs on Muslims and Islam in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks and would not be taking extra security measures.
“We have published very critical jokes about Islam in the past and we have found that Muslims, at least in Germany, are quite capable of dealing with this kind of humor,” he said. “If these attacks are the work of Islamists, then it makes satire even more relevant. Following such attacks, there should be more satire. … As a satirist, we are beholden to the principle that every human being has the right to be parodied. This should not stop just because of some idiots who go around shooting.”
Rhonda Richford in Paris contributed to this report.