Charlie Hebdo A History of Editorial Cartoons as Satire

Charlie Hebdo is a french satirical leftist-magazine that utilizes cartoons as a form of satire against various agencies, figures, and groups. They make it their goal to test the limits of freedom of speech and attack traditional conservative values using cartoons and explicit sexual imagery.

Translations from left to right: 1) All is Forgiven 2) Love is Stronger than Hate 3) 100 lashes if you do not die of laughter 4) If Mohammad Returns... " I am the Prophet Mohammad" - "Shut-up Infidel!"

November 2011, Charli Hebdo office in Paris is fire-bombed by vandals thought to be protesting Charli Hebdo's claim the Prophet Mohammad to be the "editor-in-chief" of their previous monthly issue. No one was killed or injured in the attacks.

On January 7th 2015, Charlie Hebdo's office was attacked by two terrorists, Said and Cherif Kouachi, stormed into the building wielding assault rifles and looking to target the newspapers leading cartoonists and editors. 12 people were killed in the attacks and 11 people were injured. Among the dead were some of Charlie Hebdo's leading cartoonists including Cabu (Jean Cabut), Charb (Stephane Charbonnier), Honore (Philippe Honore), Wolinski (Georges Wolinski). Alleged to be tied to al-Qaeda in Yemen, the terrorists primary motive for the attacks were Charlie Hebdo's consistent satirical depictions of the Prophet Mohammad in their magazine.

In the aftermath of the attacks the Je suis Charlie movement spread around the world as people gathered in mass demonstrations against the attacks. Je suis Charlie has become one of the most popular hastags in Twitter history. In the video below you can find an interview with surviving Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Luz who details his experiences during the attacks. Due to time restrictions please watch the first 5 minutes of the video.

Jyllands-Posten Controversey

In September 2005 The Jyllands-Posten (Jutland Post), the most widely distributed daily newspaper in Denmark, published a collage of editorial cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad in ways judged blasphemous by various Islamic authorities. A group of Danish Muslim clerics filed criminal complaints against the newspaper as well as conducted a campaign to protest the publishing of the cartoons. Danish clerics also began touring countries in the Middle-East to garner support for their cause. Eleven ambassadors of majority Muslim countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Morocco, Iran, Indonesia, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Turkey, Algeria, and Libya asked for meetings with the Danish Prime Minister in regards to the cartoons. In was concluded in Danish criminal court that the Jyllands-Posten was not in violation of the criminal code.

As a result of the international backlash against the cartoons a consumer backlash was organized as well against Denmark by various Middle Eastern countries. Various Danish companies were boycotted by a handful of Muslim countries, and Danish embassies in Iran and Pakistan were also attacked as a reprisal for the printing of the cartoon. Due to time restrictions, please watch the first three minutes of the video only. The main idea of the video is to encapsulate the polarizing nature of these cartoons.

Satirical cartons became popular in the late 18th- early 19th century. They were used to demonstrate public disillusionment with governmental, religious, industrial, and military institutions.

This cartoon depicts the imperial struggle, "The Great Game", this colloquialism refers to the imperial showdown between Russia (Bear) and Great Britain (Lion) during the 19th century in Asia.

This cartoon demonstrates the entanglement of alliances that lead to the First World War.

During the Second World War Dr. Seuss worked for the U.S. Army, Treasury Department, and War Production Board where he would produce hundreds of satirical cartoons. This cartoon is aimed at Neville Chamberlin (then Prime Minister of the U.K.), who is blamed for not taking action against the aggressive advances of Nazi Germany in Europe.

The campaign of President-elect Donald Trump has set off a fire-storm of satirical cartoons against the actions and policies of the soon to be President. Try not to laugh too hard.

Feel free to check out the link below which is an episode on political satire in popular culture from the Revisionist History Podcast hosted by Malcolm Gladwell. There might not be enough time in this presentation, but I encourage you to check it out when you have a chance during your free time.

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