Charlie Hebdo’s Editor-in-Chief : Satire Must Provoke Shock

The editor-in-chief of the famous French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has released a response over criticism about its controversial caricature about a drowned Syrian toddler.

Charlie Hebdo’s Editor-in-chief Gerard Biard called the vast majority of criticism over the cartoon of the refugee boy a “misunderstanding of images”.

“Of course these cartoons do not mock the death of the child, both pictures are satirical cartoons and satire must provoke shock. If it does not provoke shock it is not a good cartoon. Satire points out the facts, the reality and the meaning of facts of the events,” Biard said at the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium in Potsdam, Germany, where Charlie Hebdo under tight security received an award for their outstanding contribution to freedom of speech.

At the press conference before the award ceremony, Biard highlighted that the latest cartoons revealed the situation of thousands of people fleeing the Middle East, seeking freedom and peace.
“These caricatures have depicted the situation of thousands and thousands of people, many of them are dying just like this little child and these people are seeking in Europe shelter and for most of them the only thing we can offer is consumption. It’s an opinion, it’s our opinion, it is the opinion of cartoonists who has made this cartoon” he said at press conference.

Meanwhile, eight months after the terrorist attacks at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris which killed 12, the magazine continues to create controversial content, with this particular case yielding a highly critical reaction.

Since the photograph of three-year-old boy, Aylan al-Kurdi – who fled with his family from the Syrian civil war but died on a Turkish beach – was shared around the world, public support in Europe for refugees has increased significantly.

Biard highlighted that controversy over the latest cartoons was largely exacerbated in social networks. He said that everyone has a right to disagree with the cartoon of the magazine, but no-one should be carrying murder.

“You might disagree with this opinion but, I would like to point out the fact that this controversy is born and is going on the circle of social networks. If you look, if you read these messages, many of them are referring to January 7th, when a tragic attack was carried out on our workplace,” he said.

“You can disagree with the cartoon; of course because most of them are satirical, it’s normal to disagree with all cartoons of Charlie Hebdo, you can disagree with every word printed in Charlie Hebdo, but you are not allowed to appeal for murder, you cannot kill us for that. There is a difference between disagreeing with something or someone and wanting them dead, I disagree with many people but I don’t want them dead,” Biard added.

Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in –chief announced that the magazine claimed that caricaturists of the Charlie Hebdo never attack people for what they are, but they criticize people, countries and governments for what they think and believe.

Tamar Svanidze

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