In France, Satire Survives Firebombing (Video)
“Love is stronger than hate,” was the response of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo to being firebombed last week. And having its website hacked by Turks.
The magazine had published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and their reaction in this week’s edition was a cover cartoon with that slogan over a picture of a Muslim man greedily embracing a journalist with the satirical weekly.
At the bottom of the kiss are the ruins of the magazine’s offices. It was set alight after publicizing a hilarious caricature of Muhammad as the “Weekly Sharia.” The edition was a mock “celebration” of the victory of the moderate Islamist party An-Nahda in the Tunisian elections and the Libyan transitional executive’s statement that Islamic sharia law would be the country’s main source of law.
The Socialist-run Paris City Hall said it would help Charlie Hebdo find a new office, but they quickly moved into the left-wing daily Libération.
Luz, the front cover cartoonist pictured being kissed, has refused to condemn extremists for the attack.
“Let’s be cautious. There’s every reason to believe it’s the work of fundamentalists, but it could just as well be the work of two drunks,” he wrote afterwards.
French Muslim groups who had been highly critical of Charlie Hebdo condemned the destruction of its offices. Dalil Boubakeur, head of the Paris Mosque, told journalists:
“I am extremely attached to the freedom of the press, even if the press is not always tender with Muslims, Islam or the Paris Mosque.”
The magazine is part of a tradition of outrageous scandal sheets going back to the French revolution.
Charlie Hebdo’s origins lie in another satirical publication called Hara-Kiri, born of the 60s.
In 1970, following the same day news of a terrible fire at a discotheque which killed more than 100 people and the death of former President Gen Charles de Gaulle, Hara-Kiri’s headline was “Bal tragique a Colombey – un mort,” meaning “Tragic dance at Colombey [de Gaulle's home] – one dead.”
Then got it banned, which led to Charlie Hebdo and there’s been no letting up on the provocative satire ever since. In 2007, it survived reprinting the Danish cartoons of Muhammad. And cartoons of Muhammad are hardly the most outrageous thing it has ever published, given it has published cartoons of masturbating nuns, popes wearing condoms and police holding up beheaded immigrants.
Via sepia64: Quelques couvertures de Hara-Kiri et de Charlie Hebdo sous Cavanna et Choron, avec “It’s a long way to the top”;) d’AC/DC.
Image: cover of Charlie Hebdo