Having lived in France and read this provocative publication, the recent murder of the Charlie Hebdo staff was a crime we had all been expecting. The cartoonists knew that their murder could have happened at any moment. Despite this, they continued producing the magazine. We all know the saying that tells us the pen is mightier than the sword. These artists truly lived by the pen and died by the pen.
The staff of Charlie Hebdo understood the power of satire. By mocking corrupt and self-serving politicians of all inclinations, misguided religious zealots of all denominations, and more general idiotic and hypocritical practices in society, these cartoonists fought for a better world. Satire has long been a weapon used to encourage progress in society.
Aristophanes was one of the best known early satirists. He criticised politicians and commented on social habits and trends that he considered to be negative through his plays. In particular, he criticised the powerful Cleon, and his play, Drunkenness, contains an attack on the politician, Callimedon. His reader is meant to question received knowledge and to seek reform and progress.
It seems to me that now, in the 21st century, we seem to have forgotten that the Golden Age of the Greeks and the Renaissance that later sought to light the flame of humanism once again, ever happened. Satire is a confronting form of comedy and it easily offends. Why? Because those targeted by it are acutely aware of their absurdity.
The staff of Liberation, another passionate French publication, will produce the next issue of Charlie Hebdo. This issue is expected to sell well over a million copies, more than ever before.
As a writer, I assert my freedom to create and criticise, and following the initiative of fellow writer, Lee Battersby, here is my humble cartoon in support of Charlie Hebdo and all who fight against fascism, violence, and sheer stupidity.
If you are a cartoonist, or a writer, musician, or artist of any kind, please create your sketch for Charlie Hebdo and all who strive to use their art to make the world a better place. Here's your post-it note - get creating, and please share it with me on Facebook.