The pen is mightier: cartoonists respond to massacre of Charlie Hebdo journalists
On Wednesday, two gunmen shot dead 10 journalists and staff at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in an apparent terror attack. Two policemen were also killed. In response, cartoonists all over the world drew out their pens and expressed their grief and outrage at a brutal attack on press freedom.
Malaysian political cartoonist Zunar condemned the killing of his fellow cartoonists at the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris yesterday, and proposed that the tragedy be remembered as “World Cartoonist Day”.
Zunar, whose real name is Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, said January 7 should be declared as “World Cartoonist Day” to honour Charlie Hebdo editor Stéphane Charbonnier, and cartoonists Cabu, Wolinski and Tignous.
Zunar, who is known at home for his satirical and political cartoons, said every cartoonist should be allowed to criticise any party through his or her cartoons.
“Any disagreement over the said cartoons should be responded in a civilized manner, i.e. intellectual discourses, open debates and other civilized damage-control methods.
“Even though we do not agree with the contents, we should respect the cartoonists’ rights to express their views,” he said in a statement today.
Zunar said Charlie Hebdo had yesterday published a cartoon about an Islamic State leader; and earlier in 2011, the magazine also published a series of cartoons about Prophet Muhammad.
He said any violent act, barbarity and brutality are against Islam.
“I would like to challenge the Muslim authorities around the world to work closer with cartoonists to produce cartoons that can show the true image of Islam, which is a religion of peace, tolerance and moderation.
“Terror is unacceptable in a civilized world,” he said.
Zunar paid tribute to the cartoonists with a comic posted on Cartoon Movement – an online platform for political comics and comic journalism.
The comic titled “Je suis Charlie vs Je suis Bigotry” (I am Charlie vs I am Bigotry) showed a pen with flowing black ink and a machine gun with blood pouring out, pointing at each other.