In early 2015, Paris was at the forefront of global attention due to the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices where 20 were killed, including the three gunmen. Now, Charlie Hebdo is making its voice heard yet again as one of its satirical cartoonists, Joann Sfar, is asking the world to stop using the hashtag #PrayForParis.
“Friends from the world, thank you for #prayforParis, but we don’t need more religion! Our faith goes to music! Kisses! Life! Champagne and joy!” the Charlie Hebdo cartoon said, according to Today.
While Sfar could not be reached for comment about the Charlie Hebdo cartoon that was posted on Instagram about the November 13 terrorist attacks, the message was seen by many as being hopeful at a time when hope might be in short supply. The January Charlie Hebdo attack resulted in the global community rallying around the City of Lights, and there was also a unity march following the attack.
Currently, it is believed that the November 13 attacks in Paris have led to 129 deaths and 352 injuries, and these numbers are expected to climb as time goes on. Sfar’s proposed hashtag, which was also posted in the Charlie Hebdo cartoon as #ParisIsAboutLife, was also making the rounds in social media.
Coincidentally, a former Charlie Hebdo writer and emergency room doctor Patrick Pelloux was one of the first on scene, responding to the tragedy. Pelloux spent the night of November 13 working with Parisian emergency services and said that while anxiety did plague him, he had no intention of stopping his work.
“Do not change and do not give in to fear, even if it is hard and terrible,” the former Charlie Hebdo writer told the French newspaper l’Express, according to Time. “I understand that feeling well. I am wracked by anxiety. But I prefer to return to make myself useful.”
Meanwhile, Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Sfar prefers to remind people that the individuals he refers to as “Lovers of Death” will never succeed. According to the World Post, a combined publication between Huffington Post and Berggruen Institute, Sfar said via his Instagram page, “For centuries lovers of death have tried to make us lose life’s flavor. They never succeed.”
While Sfar’s Charlie Hebdo image might be seen by some as atheistic in nature, others believe there are deeper messages at play. Shortly after the image regarding the #PrayForParis hashtag was posted, Sfar posted another cartoon that read, “Instead of dividing us, you have reminded us of everything that is precious: our way of life.”
One on social media had high praise for Sfar’s message and for the modified hashtag.
The #ParisIsAboutLife hashtag is one of the greatest I've ever seen. As a person who doesn't pray, it's nice to have a way to express love.— Jess Tholmer (@tholmz) November 14, 2015
Paris has been on a state of alert since the Charlie Hebdo attack in January, and yet Bloomberg Business reported some dismay that there was still no defense of the city prior to the attacks. Louis Caprioli, the ex-head of DST, France’s former anti-terrorism unit, noted that the terrorists had to have been familiar with how the city of 2.2 million operated, particularly on a Friday night.
“These people knew our habits,” he said. “They knew these streets would be busy on a Friday night. There is no way to provide total protection.”
After Friday’s attacks, France is deploying another 1,000 military personnel to reinforce the 30,000 soldiers that have been deployed to different sensitive sites throughout the immediate vicinity of Paris. Another 230 personnel have been left to the discretion of the local authorities.
As the lights dimmed in Paris Friday night, Charlie Hebdo is continuing to churn out its satirical cartoons and remind the world why terrorism will never win.
“Those who love. Those who love life. In the end, it is always they who win,” Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Sfar said via another of his cartoons, according to International Business Times.
(Feature image by Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images News)