Pencil vs. Kalashnikov

By Damien Glez

“We killed Charlie Hebdo.” On January 7, as if they wanted to sign their barbaric act with the ultimate mark of weakness, invaders of the headquarters of the weekly Charlie Hebdo shouted their idiocies in the streets of Paris. No, the satirical publication has not been killed. Quite the contrary, indeed the ultimate irony. Just as its leaders had begun to fear bankruptcy in recent weeks, continuing to refuse money from advertising, now the newspaper’s survival is assured. Charlie Hebdo is saved, in every way, even economically, since the French press has put its resources at the disposal of the newspaper and the state is considering an exceptional grant of as much as a million euros ($1.2 million).

But more importantly, the terrorists have failed to assassinate the corrosive spirit of this remarkable weekly. Of course, the editorial leadership was beheaded. Among the 12 victims of the assault are five artists, including five unquestionably irreplaceable legends: Charb, Cabu, Wolinski, Honoré, and Tignous. Still, this publication is primarily a newspaper of cartoonists. What other French weekly has confided the top editorial position to a virtuoso of the pencil?

Yet while the talent of these victims will be sorely missed in the next editions of Charlie Hebdo, stupor generated by these assassinations decouples vocations from contributions. To draw is the best possible tribute that could be paid to an artist, as to design is the best tribute to a designer. This sassy publication was not fond of any facile sentimentality. And above all, no discussion about freedom of the press will ever convince any jihadist. So we must continue to seek to amuse and excite our audience with sketches. It is a “magazine of survivors” that will appear next Wednesday. With the exceptional and extrraordinary circulation of a million copies—far beyond the 60,000 or so for Hebdo’s last issue. The killers wanted to eradicate the caricatures from the streets of the French capital. Now, they will be flooded with them.

[Translated from French by David A. Andelman]





A depiction of IS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi



Damien Glez, a regular contributor to World Policy Journal, is a cartoonist based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and a collaborator, through Cartooning for Peace, with cartoonists who’ve drawn for Charlie Hebdo and who died in this week’s massacre. Pictured left is a charicature of Glez drawn by Tignous, a cartoonist with Charlie Hebdo who was killed in the massacre earlier this week.

[All cartoons courtesy of Damien Glez]

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