The Charlie Hebdo cartoons no one is showing you.
Jan 11, 2015 1:05pm PST by ProgNet
Below are cartoons drawn over the past several decades by Cabu, one of the most emblematic cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo (if not the most). Cabu was murdered along with his colleagues this past week. He was 75 years old.
Although no media outlet in the US will show you these images, they can all be found online with a simple Google search.
This cartoon by Cabu criticizes racial profiling, specifically discrimination by the French police against immigrants from North Africa and people of African descent. The caption reads: “No to racist controls [identity checks].”
This cartoon by Cabu depicts and quotes the racist demagogue politician Jean-Marie Le Pen of the Front National party (with the eye patch). The caption reads: “We want to be able to go out in the evening without being afraid.” The armed thugs in the background are racist skinheads and their ilk. The cartoon leaves little doubt as to who is afraid.
This cartoon by Cabu depicts young people of color looking at a Christmas display of a toy costume for a CRS, the riot control force of the French National police, which has long been accused of brutality and racism. The critique here is about the normalization of police control and militarization and its negative impact specifically against young people of African descent.
This cartoon by Cabu meant to raise the alarm at the rise in popularity of far-right, anti-immigrant politician Marine Le Pen and her Front National party (founded by her father, the notorious right-wing racist and xenophobic politician Jean-Marie Le Pen). The captions read on the left “Disappointed by Sarkozysm” [ie. disappointed by the policies of the Center Right politics of former French president Sarkozy] and on the right “Disappointed by Hollandism” [ie. disappointed by the policies of the Center Left politics of current French president Hollande.] Marine Le Pen is cast as the “hostess”. A rough translation of her caption would be: “Move it you red, white & blue peckerheads!”
This cartoon by Cabu criticizes the size of the military budgets across Europe. The captions read at the top, “Those clowns that suck the blood of Europe,” and at bottom, “Let’s put the military budgets on a diet!”
This cartoon by Cabu ruthlessly criticizes the French military. The caption reads: “14 Juillet [France’s Independence Day], the killers’ holiday.”
This cartoon by Cabu does not require translation.
This cartoon by Cabu was published in 1979 in the antiwar journal of the Pacifist Union. While this specific image might not have been published in Charlie Hebdo (I don’t have access to their archives), it strikingly conveys Cabu’s lifelong antiwar and anticolonialist politics, which always fit right in at Charlie Hebdo (and were shared by the majority of the journalists and cartoonists there). The caption reads: “France doesn’t have oil, but she has an army!”
1:53 PM PT: Much thanks to everyone who helped put this diary on the Rec List.
2:53 PM PT: I am heartened by the thoughtful comments and the value being placed on learning context and debating in a civil manner at the Top of the Rec List. This is a lesson for me to try to stay true to that ideal when I am confronted with upsetting news on a topic that I am not familiar with.
Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 8:21 AM PT: One last update from a message sent to me:
“Take it from a French person who verified : bleu-bites (in the cartoon with Marine Le Pen) simply means rookies, newbies. Un bleu has been a rookie or a new recruit in the army since the 19th century. Bite derives from a slang word ‘bitau’ meaning a new student, the word comes from Switzerland (Genève) ‘bisteau’ for young apprentice.”
Thank you (and the other poster) for the assist in improving the translation of these cartoons.