Many of you have already heard of the devastating attack at the Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris yesterday. Today, France has declared a national day of mourning and artists and cartoonists around the world have lobbied to stand up for freedom of speech and show the world that art will not succumb to violence and intimidation.
What makes this effort even more effective is the huge reaction which flooded social media since the massacre. Last night, Bansky posted a picture on his instagram of a pencil which, broken today, turns into two sharper pencils tomorrow. Hours after the attacks, a French cartoonist Boulet tweeted, “Les canards voleront toujours neplus haut que les fusil” or “Ducks [French slang for newspapers] will always reach higher than guns”. Steve Bell, the cartoonist of The Guardian depicts the attackers in skeleton onesies and Mickey Mouse ears confused about why the world is laughing at them. This tribute is perhaps the best that supports the Charlie Hebdo attitude and sharp humour.
From left to right: Banksy, Boulet, Steve Bell, Philippe Hencho, Satish Acharya, Noreena Hertz, David Pope, Steven Stardom
Art has and always has been a method for us to understand the enormity of the events that are happening around us and as a reaction to the horrifying things that humans can do to humankind. But after these attacks, it’s obvious that we need more than this to stand up to violence. The massacre of the Charlie Hebdo staff prove that art, humour, irony, and culture cannot be just where individuals are able to express ideas but can come off as genuine threats to extremists. Art resonates with people and we need more art that challenges politics and supports basic human rights.
My heart and prayers go out to France and also to everyone because this effects us all. The world is a damn crazy place.