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.]