Je suis Charlie

By | Category: Travel rumblings
Je suis Charlie; in memory

Je suis Charlie; in memory

Tomorrow, in Paris, there will be a massive march to protest at the killing of so many people in the atrocities last week. 700,000 people took part in marches throughout France today in protest at the killings and also the right to free speech.

Why mention this? Just about Travel is, as the name says, travel related. And politics and extremism are nothing to do with travel. Wrong.

Extremism, ignorant fanaticism and lack of compassion for society is what has marked these killings which started in the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine. This, like the atrocities in Mumbai, in London, at the World Trade Centre in New York, in Nigeria, Kenya, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan and countless other countries deter visitors. A lack of visitors means that the economy of the country gets hit. Ordinary people then suffer.

The pen is mightier than the word; a picture paints a thousand words. We all know these expressions and the pen of the cartoonist can be a strong weapon in puncturing pomposity, idiocy and sheer stupidity. Charlie Hebdo’s editorial policy was that everyone who sought influence and everyone in positions of power should be held to account. And they were held to account by the pen of the cartoonist.

In our own small way, we follow a similar line. We have criticised airlines, tourist authorities, governments, the railways, the law and, very occasionally, we have used cartoons to make a point. But none were as strong as the cartoon by Dave Browne that took up the whole of The Independent on Thursday when he showed a sole finger sticking up to express his disgust. No other newspaper editor gave its whole front page to the Charley Hebdo. But Matt in the Telegraph, Peter Brookes in The Times,  Alan Moir in the Sydney Morning Herald and Steve Sack from the Star Tribune in Minneapolis all produced some of their best work, probably borne out of their sheer anger at the events in Paris.  Albert Urderzo who created Asterix and is now retired  returned to cartooning with his take on events. Click here to hear an interview with the Pulitzer Prize winner, Steve Sack, on the power of cartoons and his meeting with two of the cartoonists at Charley Hebdo.

I can’t draw so all I can do is express my personal solidarity and my sympathy for the victims in France, And to holiday in Paris to show that I will not be driven away by the tactics of the ignorant, the stupid and the unfeeling.

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