Charlie Hebdo publishes satirical pieces about politics, religion and a lot more besides. It dares to poke fun at the pompous, the righteous and the unutterably certain, using cartoons, jokes, humourous pieces etc. It is serious without being serious. Amongst the people killed yesterday were some of the journal's finest cartoonists.
The world has responded with love, solidarity, sympathy and yet more biting satirical cartoons, including an unofficial Banksy one.
Coincidentally, I have just received a new book in the post: Daily Afflictions - the agony of being connected to everything in the universe by Andrew Boyd. It begins with two quotes, one by Kafka and one by Wilde:
We need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be an axe for the frozen sea inside us. (FK)
If you are going to tell people the truth, you had better make them laugh or they will kill you (OW)Wow. These two quotes hit my forehead like a steam train. (If the rest of the book is going to be like this, I am going to be a wreck, albeit a wiser one, by the end of it!)
And these quotes seem even more relevant to me today, the day after #JeSuisCharlie. Because cartoons, just like books and perhaps even more so, must also be axes for the frozen seas inside us and dare to tell us the truth about ourselves.
My sincere thoughts are with all the families and friends of all those murdered yesterday and now since. Let the flame of liberté, égalité, fraternité shine ever brighter.