French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is doing what the magazine was born to do. Go in hard. Be controversial and court controversy by pulling on a badly scabbed wound – yanking it off and letting the blood gush out. The latest cartoons which are currently getting people angry is their response of predominantly Christian European countries to the migrant crisis gripping our shores and our headlines.
There are two drawings which have caused the greatest offence. The first is a depiction of the harrowing sight of Aylan Kurdi whose limp body was carried off a Turkish beach and whose image has single handedly lead to a change in the discourse of Europeans on migration.
The cartoon shows the boy beside an advertising billboard offering two children’s meal menus for the price of one with the caption “So close to making it”.
The other offending cartoon suggests “Proof that Europe is Christian” and depicts a Jesus-like character walking on water besides another up-ended charter wearing shorts with the caption “Christians walk on water” and the latter “Muslim children sink”.
But it’s important to remember what is going on. The cartoon is not mocking dead children. It mocks western culture – but I think it also goes deeper and asks questions of those who risk the lives of their children. In this case – the family of the boy who died – were in Turkey. They were out of Syria. When they put their children on that dinghy – were they fleeing for their lives or because they wanted to better their lives? Does the ends justify the means? Did they have to take the risk? And what exactly is their understanding of what Western culture is?
You don’t have to agree with how Charlie go about it – because they are just trying to be clever. I suppose – at least they are trying… It’s more than I have done. But condemn at will – their point is made.
- They highlight the superficial nature of those who don’t give a thought to the message they are imparting – & instantly condemn & get enraged: like McDonald’s – most people want stuff fast, tasty & cheap so they can devour without much thought about what it is they are actually consuming. Charlie like enraging these people just as much as;
- Those who do ponder a little longer & scratch the surface of the varying messages they impart…& have a smug sense that they understand these matters better than anyone else. When actually – they don’t.
I’m not a big fan of the Daily Express and have never personal paid any cash to buy it. However, it did run what appears to be a reasoned piece on the story that has become – the boy on the beach