“All is forgiven. I am Charlie.” I’ve been mulling about this post for weeks now. To post or not to post. Forgive? Forget? And who am I to… judge? Besides being French I had no personal connection to Charlie Hebdo’s people, nor the cops shot in cold blood, or the hostages at the Kosher market in Paris. Should I go back to my more “mundane” posts? Well, I couldn’t. And to-morrow will be a month exactly since the… massacre. No need for blood-dripping adjectives. Nouns will suffice.
So here’s the post. And my opinion: Charlie Hebdo’s surviving journalists, cartoonists, staff – and no doubt family and close friends – have taken a most commendable editorial decision: Forgiveness. A tough and brave decision. Killing is so easy. Pencils don’t stand a chance against rage and machine-guns. It is so easy to behead or torch an unharmed prisoner. Revenge? Easier still. Just bomb a few dozens, hundreds, thousand people. That’s easy.
But Forgiveness? That is difficult. And brave, I insist. Luz, the cartoonist said in an interview: “I wrote: ‘all is forgiven’ and I cried. And I knew we had the bloody front page”. Luz is a spanish word, not a common surname, maybe Luz is the descendant of spanish immigrants, I don’t know. I confess I didn’t have the… courage to Google him. Too mundane. But “Luz” in spanish means “Light”. And Forgiveness was the right decision. an honourable one. (Some have hinted that there is a hidden dick and balls – pardon my french – in the drawing. Anyone saying that ought to have his/her head examined: Freud would have said ‘sometimes a turban is just a turban’)
Now, as a contribution to understanding what Charlie Hebdo was, is, let me post a few covers. Just to show that Charlie was and is not a racist, anti-arab/moslem but rather an “equal-opportunity” satirical journal. Caution # 1: some of the covers are crude, shocking at times. That’s their style. Caution # 2: I was not personally a big fan of theirs. Too crude. But necessary. Caution # 3: my posting the following does not mean I approve it. Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. My business. I just want to show the broad range of Charlie’s sarcasm.
The right divided by gay marriage. De Gaulle come back! The bubble refers to De Gaulle speech in August ’44 about Paris Free!
Michael Jackson finally white!
Vatican: Another rigged election…(Let me down, I want to vote…)
They threaten France: the Islamic state, the Sarkozyk state
Valérie Trierweiler (President Hollande’s former companion) is better.
The jerks’ dinner. (A very popular french play and movie. Nothing to do with religion)
1 million discount in exchange for Palestine.
The Pope goes too far. (And this is my body)
Jesus is coming back. (Me too…)
In 1766, (not so long ago) François-Jean Lefebvre, Chevalier de la Barre, a 20 year-old french nobleman was convicted of blasphemy. His alleged crime? Sword cuts on a crucifix in Abbeville and dumping garbage on a representation of Christ in a cemetery. Like many young men of “good family” he was known for singing disrespectful songs in the street and was reported to have not taken his hat off during a procession. OMG! Guilty as charged. He was tortured, condemned to have his tongue torn out and be decapitated. His body was burned along with a copy of Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionnaire nailed on his torso. A statue of the Chevalier de la Barre is in Montmartre, down below the Sacré-Coeur, to the right in the gardens.
What do the Chevalier de la Barre and Voltaire have in common with Charlie Hebdo? Everything. No matter how shocked you, dear reader, may be, with one or the other images presented here, such satire is indispensable. And the tragic irony of it all is that Charlie Hebdo was on the brink of death by bankruptcy, barely selling 60,000 copies at a time. They have now sold 7 million! So they will continue to provoke and challenge all self-appointed powers-that-be.
Vive Charlie Hebdo!
And…You have the right to be offended. You have the right to disagree. Feel free to comment. That is what those people died for. And that is what this post is all about.