These are terrible days. I’m in Paris at the moment. Like 66 millions of my fellow citizens I witnessed the unbearable happen. The unspeakable. Three days of pure violence and terror within Paris. The very symbols of the French Republic were targeted. “Liberté. Egalité. Fraternité.” (Freedom. Equality. Brotherhood). Those three words are on every public building in France. They are the foundation of our system and were hit pretty hard.
Three terrorists first hit satiric newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing cartoonists and copyeditors. They tried to kill freedom of press. Then a woman, a cop, was murdered the following day in the streets. Then 4 people were fatally wounded during a hostage situation in a Kosher store in the eastern part of Paris. They were killed because they were Jewish.
Three terrorists. Three days. Three words that were hurt.
I’m mourning three times:
• As a comic book person. Because those Charlie Hebdo cartoonists inspired me. Two of them were childhood heroes (Wolinski and Cabu). They made me laugh often even though I didn’t agree on everything they were rooting for. They died for cartoons. They are the symbols of the freedom of press. Not only they will be missed. But they gave me more strength to carry on as a comic book creator and a journalist. Like them, I’m swimming in those two waters. I’ll be doing that more than ever now.
• As a citizen. Because this police officer who was shot wasn’t even armed. She was just doing her job. The police isn’t always right. But we need them. And most of them are doing a great job trying to save our asses while we complain.
• As a jew. I was born in France. And in France, being jewish is unlike anywhere else.My grandmother was deported and came back, she trusted France. My grandfather was a prisoner of war, he trusted France.
Like many jewish families, we know what antisemitism is. We experienced it. 15 years ago, we knew the future wasn’t bright. But we remained optimistic, we trusted France. After Ilan Halimi (a twenty something tortured and killed because he was jewish) fell, there was a huge movement to say : “never again”. But it happened again in 2012 (in Toulouse). Then in 2013 (in Brussels, but the shooter was French). And now in 2015 in Paris. We can no longer be optimistic. We have to be realistic. Our ancestors came to France because it was the country of Human Rights. My family arrived in 1905 on my father’s side. They were French even before, in the 19th century on my mom’s side. All that for what? To feel like we can’t be safe in our own country?
Today. I’m a comic book writer. I’m a journalist. I’m a Jew and I don’t want to give up. I decided to dedicate all my energy and time into doing what I like to do : creating.
It helped me wash away the anger. Tomorrow, it’ll bring people together.
When mourning is over, life goes on. And I love life. Comics are my “new hope”.
Comics are for everyone. It can appeal to every person on Earth, regardless of religion, ethnicity or class.
My answer to terrorism? Creating comics for human beings. Forever. And it’s starts (again) now.
I finished the piece below. It’s the second part of my CrimeCards Series. More soon.
“#Winter is comics”.
See you in the Funny books.