Cartoonists react to attack on Charlie Hebdo

World Today

Charlie Hebdo cartoonA cartoon tribute drawn by MacLeod was released in solidarity with those killed in an attack at the Paris offices of the weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo after masked gunmen stormed their offices on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. (AP Photo: MacLeod Cartoons)

Following Wednesday’s terror attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, cartoonists around the world began showing their support in the best way they knew how: drawings.

The Charlie Hebdo journalists were known for pushing the boundaries of cartooning. Their satirical commentary was at times seen as “absolutely crazy,” said one journalist. Described as disrespectful yet brave, the journalists of Charlei Hebdo were firm advocates for freedom of expression.

The three masked gunmen that carried out the attacks are believed to be Islamic extremists reacting to the magazine’s caricature of the Prophet Muhammad. This has left many journalists questioning whether this act could result in self-censorship, especially in countries that face religious extremism or growing intolerance to free speech.


Yet as the motto “Je suis Charlie” (translated as “I am Charlie”) becomes a global movement, citizens, world leaders, journalists and cartoonists alike continue to show solidarity in condemning the terrorist acts. In fact, cartoonists have taken up their own pens to express a united front for freedom of speech and a show of force against bigotry.

“No barbaric act will never extinguish the freedom of the press,” French President François Hollande tweeted. “We are a united country that will react.”

Perhaps the most unconventional reaction, then, has been the global trend of cartoonists uniting around a similar cause: drawing in the name of Charlie Hebdo to instill the belief that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Celebrities have even gotten on board to support cartoonists reactions to the attack.

“I can understand if some editors become scared,’ Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard said, ‘but they should not give up the freedom of speech.”

This story was compiled with information from the Associated Press.