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Je Suis Charlie, Charlie Hebdo: Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut, Charb (Stephane Charbonnier), Tignous (Bernard Velhac)

Je Suis Charlie, Charlie Hebdo: Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut, Charb (Stephane Charbonnier), Tignous (Bernard Velhac)

Among the 12 dead and 11 wounded in today’s cowardly and loathsome attack on the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris were four cartoonists: Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut, Charb (Stephane Charbonnier) and Tignous (Bernard Velhac).

I dug up what I could quickly find on the four cartoonists, and have included relevant links below. Most of them don’t seem to have a dedicated web presence, but my French is weak, and I’m not certain where to look. (I also have not taken the time to translate the text in the drawings above, so I’m not certain what they say. I was just trying to quickly find some representative artwork.)

Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) is known for it’s provocative cartoons and mocking satires of religious fanatics (across the board), political corruption and whatever they find worthy of ridicule. They have pissed off just about everyone, but they have particularly come under attack from professed Muslim extremists (I say “professed” because claiming you are something does not make it true, and certainly does not give you the right to speak for others). The Charlie Hebdo offices were firebombed in 2011, supposedly in response to cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad.

To those who are tempted to respond to this kind of act with anti-Muslim sentiment, I’ll point out that in doing so, you are handing these terrorists their victory. They want nothing more than to incite kneejerk, reactionary anti-Muslim sentiment in the West, and fan the flames of religious and cultural intolerance on all sides. To do so allows them to think they are warriors in a holy war, rather than the rat-like, delusional petty criminals they are.

Those who are doing the most to defeat their aims are spreading messages of tolerance and acceptance, not returning hatred for hatred.

Supporters of freedom of expression are using the phrase “Je Suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) and the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie in messages of solidarity around the world.

[Images above: “Je Suis Charlie” from Charlie Hebdo website, Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut, Charb (Stephane Charbonnier), Tignous (Bernard Velhac)]

[Via The Comics Reporter]

[Addendum: Slate has been publishing some of the responses to the tragedy, in the form of cartoons, from cartoonists in France and elsewhere: #JeSuisCharlie: Cartoonists Raise Their Pencils in Solidarity With Charlie Hebdo.

Also, reader julien has contributed an account of Cabu and the history and place of Charlie Hebdo in French society, with insights only available to someone living in France. See this post’s comments.]


13 responses to “Je Suis Charlie, Charlie Hebdo: Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut, Charb (Stephane Charbonnier), Tignous (Bernard Velhac)”

  1. Merci Charley, moi aussi je suis Charlie !

  2. Mahee Ferlini Avatar
    Mahee Ferlini

    Thank you for sharing and promoting this

  3. Hi, I’m french and following you. I can translate the pictures :

    The first :

    – When I think that 40 years ago I was on a barricade…
    – Try to forget it, Dad

    The third :

    What a funny planet
    – Not a tree, not an evolved being…
    – Books, other books, a planet suffocated by books
    – “PS renewal” by Julien Dray, “we are not really morons” by Vincent Peillon, “ideas for the day after tomorrow” by Segolène Royal
    – “I am hope” by Bertrand Delanoe, “Sarkozy don’t always says bullshits” by Manuel Valls, “my clafouti reciptes” by Lionel Jospin
    – no, no life is possible here…

    all are names of PS party people, the one that win the last presidential election.


    Charlie Hebdo is very disrespectful, but its cartoonists are against war, and we like them here, to tickle everyone. We are very sad.

    Thank you for posting.

    1. Régis and Mahee, thank you for your comments.
      Jub, thank you for the translation. It’s good just to be reassured that the subject of the cartoons isn’t something inappropriate in light of what happened.

  4. Steve Gilzow Avatar
    Steve Gilzow

    Thank you for posting this, and especially for pointing out the need to not return hatred for hatred. Well done.

  5. Monica Lee Avatar
    Monica Lee

    You are such a pollyana. In 10 or 15 years when I am required to wear a headscarf because we live under Scharia Law you’ll still be hashtagging “Je Suis Charlie”

    Where is the groundswell of Islamist followers condemming this?

    They are warriors in a holy war and they love people like you.


    1. I’m Sorry to hear you say that, Monica, because I believe it is actually an attitude like yours among Westerners that the terrorists love. I believe they commit acts like this specifically to provoke that reaction, because they desperately want a holy war.

      This was not an act of war carried out by warriors, it was an act of criminal terrorism carried out by a handful of delusional fanatics. There is a tremendous difference in scale between acts like this, no matter how horrific, and anything that can be legitimately be classified as a war. Government leaders, politicians and the news media abuse that word for the sake of sensationalism.

      If you take the trouble to check a number of news sources (other than Fox News), you’ll find that there are indeed Muslims and Muslim organizations, in France, the U.S. and elsewhere, who are speaking out against this act. Whether it is a groundswell, I don’t know. Even if it is, you’re not likely to hear very much about it, because it’s not sensational. Check Twitter for the hashtag #NotInMyName

      Freedom of expression is our greatest weapon against tyranny of all kinds, including the mental tyranny of irrational hatred of other groups.

      And yes, I will still be hashtagging “JeSuisCharlie” 10 years from now if it means supporting that freedom.


  6. Thanks for the post and the higher road taken.

  7. Virginia Avatar

    It’s wonderful to see your great insight to something so terrible. I was thinking that I would see one of your cartoons in response! (Nudge from one of your family members)
    I have been following the response to this event and I’m finally proud to see Americans embracing real heroes. I’m tired of being afraid to say what I think because it’s not the mainstream.. And because I love playing devils advocate so I can understand the other side! Nice tribute! Je Suis Charlie

    1. Thanks, Virginia. Thanks also for the nudge; I’ll give it some thought.

  8. Thank you Charley. Pens up!

  9. Cabu was part of the post 1968 intellectual liberation of french society. French people who are know in their 40’s (like me) grew up watching drawing made live on TV during the daily children program “Recre a 2”. At the time he was already a star author, his comic book “le Grand Duduche” – depicting the life of a naive and well meaning young adult in his daily confrontation with a harsh reality – brought him to draw for the kid program on national TV I mentioned above.
    His work brought to french kids a sense of irony by poking fun at the things of daily life. He also brought a taste for graphic novels and comic books. Cabu was certainly instrumental in the development of the french graphic novel industry.

    But Cabu was also part of the founding team of Hara Kiri Magazine which created before Charlie Hebdo. Please Google-Image it – in today’s conservative society you’ll be amazed a member of this magazine can subsequently make it to a TV program for kids.
    Hara Kiri was the most aggressive satirical publications ever published by humanists. Hara Kiri was closed by the french censorship after poking fun at the death of war hero and president Charles De Gaule but nether the less a right wing politicians with authoritarian tendencies. In response to Hara Kiri’s closure Charlie Hebdo was created by the same crew.

    Charlie Hebdo was a rather intellectual publication at first. They published poetry, essays, graphic novels and political commentary. It evolved into a more aggressive and more accessible publication, but it always represented well the cynical and anti authoritarian traits of french culture.

    Charlie Hebdo was always political, generally taking a humanist stand mixed with non dogmatic anarchist positions (with values recalling anti authoritarianism, anti fascism, anti militarism).

    But like any left leaning publication Charlie Hebdo struggled over a number of issues related to the theme of “french national identity” – a dogma which doesn’t recognize communities and purposely levels cultural differences in society and often clashes with the also french humanist notion of tolerance . National Identity is often brought up to be opposed to the rise of the muslim identity among ostracized french citizen of north African origins. Charlie Hebdo did split on a number of issues regarding the french Muslim community, particularly when the government banned veils in school as well as niqads and burkas from the streets (less than 300 women where wearing them in France but it was national debate for months).

    Freedom of expression is a very relative concept in France. The laws forbid “intolerance”, racism, discrimination and defamation, which are all subject to interpretation and may vary according to the dominant ideology. All publications must be permitted (most of them are) and publishers must be responsible in front of the law for what they print. There is a national censorship institution who rates and eventually forbids publications. It’s not China’s censorship bureau by any mean, but the tool is in place nevertheless. Radical publications are forbidden, it affects mostly the far right but it also reaches to the far left.

    There is a fine line to walk to poke fun at religion. Charlie Hebdo was brought to court on regular basis by religious authorities and political figures for its offensive cartoons.
    The irony is that the french president himself (depicted as a sad clown on the cover of the CH first issue of 2014) had a plan to subsidize the satirical press because he and his administration considers it a french cultural asset.

    According to the interview of a staff member who arrived minutes after the killing the attack occurred during an editorial meeting about the next issue which was themed against the the rampant xenophobia and racism in France. Racism was always part of the French political spectrum but got increasingly stronger since 911. Xenophobic opinions against Muslims and north Africans (called “Arabs”) now reaches more then half of the french population – considering that about 10% of the population (non official statistics – no french census based on ethnicity) is from North African origin (former colony) there is a small proportion of people with a progressive approach to the divide occurring between ethnic and religious groups in french society.

    Those cartoonist who were killed were in their own way constantly addressing the phenomenon that brought to existence the people who murdered them. It’s a sad day.

    1. julien, Thank you very much for the information about the history of Cabu and the origins of Charlie Hebdo, as well as the insight about the magazine’s place in French society. I’ve added a link to the addendum on the post suggesting that readers continue reading here.

      Though there have been various publications of satire and irreverent humor in the US, I can’t think of a direct comparison to Charlie Hebdo in terms of the level of daring and provocative outrage, except perhaps the underground comics of the 1960s and 1970s.

      For those inclined to follow julien’s suggestion to use Google Images to search for Hara Kiri Magazine I will suggest discretion on that part of any who might be upset by offensive images.

      I understand that the next edition of Charlie Hebdo will be printed in a much larger print run than other issues. I personally hope it is the anti-xenophobia, anti-racism topic you suggest. It was my belief from the beginning that stirring up anti-Muslim sentiment, and corresponding anti-western sentiment among Muslims, was the true desire of those who committed these acts, and that tolerance is the best way to defeat their aims.