Following the fatal terrorist attack on Parisian satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last week, the cartoonist responsible for the publication’s upcoming edition has delivered an impassioned commentary on why he chose to draw the prophet Mohammed on the front cover.
Cartoonist Renald Luzier, who happened to be running late to work on the day of the shooting and was not present when his coworkers were killed, told French reporters that the magazine’s new front page – which features an image of the prophet Mohammad crying – “wasn’t the front page that the terrorists wanted us to do”, but was what staff felt was the right choice.
The headline for the image reads: “All is forgiven”, with a drawing of the prophet Mohammed depicted underneath, holding a sign which reads “Je Suis Charlie”, which translates to “I Am Charlie”, the slogan which has become a globally trending social media movement.
The attack in France claimed the lives of 12 people, including employees of the newspaper, and the ensuing cover managed to stir immense controversy and debate among members of the public, celebrities, major corporations and other cartoonists when it was released.
Here’s Luzier’s full statement, translated in English:
I had the idea of drawing this character of Mohammed, as it’s my character, because he existed, at least in people’s hearts, and in any case he exists when I draw him.
He is a character that got our offices burned, and a character who at first got us treated as the great white knights of the freedom of the press because the offices had burned down. Then a year later when we redrew the character we were treated as dangerous provocative and irresponsible. So this character led us to be called either white knights or provocateurs, whereas we are above all cartoonists who draw little people like children do.
The terrorists were once kids, they drew like us, like all kids, then one day they perhaps lost their sense of humour, perhaps their child soul able to see the world from a bit of a distance, because that’s Charlie – being able to draw the world from a small distance. So I drew saying to myself: “I am Charlie”. That was my idea but it wasn’t enough.
The only idea left was to draw Mohammed, I am Charlie. Then I looked at him, he was crying. Then above, I wrote: “All is forgiven”, and then cried. We had the front page, we had finally found this bloody front page. This was our front page.
This was not the front page the world wanted us to draw, it was our front page.
This is not the front page that the terrorists want us to draw, as there are no terrorists in it, just a man who cries: it’s Mohammed. I am sorry that we drew him again, but the Mohammed we drew is a Mohammed who is crying above all.”
Watch his emotional explanation below.
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