[NB if you were after Charlie Hebdo cartoons regarding Aylan Kurdi click here]
The cartoon of drowning immigrants (above) is by Ali Dilem, published by Liberte in Algeria. He has recently joined the staff of Charlie Hebdo – but they have not published this particular cartoon. That has not stopped many people on Twitter sharing the image as if they did.
[Edit: to explain: “regroupement familial” is the title of the French immigration policy for non-EU residents in France being joined by other family members from abroad. This requires 18 month initial stay (12 if Algerian) before they can come, income status etc. You can read about the policy in a English google translation here. The cartoon above is saying that the policy is contributing to deaths in the mediterranean by families desperate to be reunited.]
Charlie Hebdo did however have this front cover (below):
“A Titanic each week” is the headline – about 1,500 died following the collision with an iceberg in April 1912. The warning is without action many more will die each week trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea, equivalent to one of the most shocking of maritime disasters.
The National Front’s response to refugees from a war zone seeking safety at huge risk – is to have a deterrent policy (see their “Drama in the Mediterranean: a deterrent to immigration policy“) to prevent fleeing across a treacherous sea in overcrowded unseaworthy vessels. The joke here is the deterrent policy may as well be Celine Dion singing ([“Shut up!”]) for all the good it will do, let alone patrol boats to send them back. The satire is on her and also the National Front policy on immigration. She is singing the title song to the blockbuster film “Titanic”, which ties in with the headline.
Fleeing a war zone like Libya or Syria, we are not dealing with immigrants, but refugees. Maybe it makes it easier for people like Le Pen and Katie Hopkins to imagine them as illegal immigrants or like “cockroaches” or “norivirus.” Maybe cartoons for some are not the best way to point out that families are being united over time in the cemetery that is the ocean floor, or to poke fun at anti-immigration parties with scorn and derision.
Rather than the outrage directed at Charlie Hebdo for a cartoon they did not publish, or misunderstanding the one they did, how much better to use our anger at such deaths at the EU that has not done enough to prevent the humanitarian disaster that has befallen Libya and Syria. Let alone the cutback in rescue operations in the Mediterranean, as a “deterrent” for people facing far worse than a perilous journey on the cruel and deep blue sea. It was predictable the deaths at sea would increase.
Let us talk about the racism which is killing people – our EU government’s response to conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa and the people killing one another in the actual conflicts causing the refugee crisis. Oh wait, someone drew cartoons which offended you. How dreadful – but at the last count the people killed by them were the cartoonists.
Please consider signing this petition to the EU Commission President. But do lobby your government too, which in the UK you can via this petition.
[Read my Huffington Post article Charlie Hebdo and PEN: When Free Speech Is Cheaper Than A Gala Dinner For Some]
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog
Facebook: John Sargeant
*Conversation I had with a french follower on twitter did not contradict my assertion in French it was Le Pen. Happy to correct if I am wrong. [Edit: Originally post said “The woman in front is Le Pen*, leader of The National Front (FN).” It seems it is Celine Dion and so have removed that line. Also changed singing Le pen to Celine Dion.]