While France is understandably shaken by the terror attacks that CNN reports killed over 120 and injured over 350 more, there are many in and around the French capital – around the world, really – that are praying and hoping for peace for Paris.
One such way that people are spreading their message of peace for Paris is by posting the graphic that professional illustrator Jean Julien designed in the wake of the terror attacks. According to Time, the native Frenchman was, like millions were, shaken by the events in his home country. Immediately following the attacks, though, Julien did what he does best – he picked up his artist’s brush.
“I can just say that in all this horror there’s something positive that people are coming together in a sense of unity and peace,” he said of how quickly his image became a symbol of peace for Paris.
Thus far, his image of the Eiffel Tower. serving as the centerpiece of the peace sign, was posted on Instagram’s own account and has snagged over 1.3 million likes. Julien’s posting of the peace for Paris sign garnered 58,000 retweets on Twitter and 158,000 likes on his own Instagram account, according to CTV News. The peace for Paris image has also been endlessly shared.
Julien said his peace for Paris design was not intended to bring him fame or acknowledgment. Rather, he said it was a painting done as a raw response to unspeakable tragedy.
“The main purpose of the image was to communicate peace and solidarity, and that’s exactly what it seems to have done,” he said. “I did not create the image to get credit. I created a symbol for everyone to share. It’s not for ownership and pride.”
Julien admitted that he was overwhelmed by the attention the peace for Paris painting has gotten and added that he thought the circumstances in which he was getting such attention were horrible. He admitted he was angry and sad that he was moved to create the peace for Paris painting, though he was grateful that it gave those who have since shared the image the opportunity for unity.
Canadian blogger Cassandra Lyn Kun, who is currently on exchange in France, said that she was touched by the way the world has begun hoping for peace for Paris. She noted, though, that there was a lot happening that should motivate unity and solidarity among all global citizens.
“All I am asking for is for everyone to continue sending their positive thoughts, prayers and love here to France and to the rest of the world, because truth be told, we are the only ones who can fix these world catastrophes,” she said.
Though Julien’s peace for Paris painting was done out of pure reaction and instinct – he told Wired that he did not sit down and design previous sketches – it seems the world itself is reacting to the unifying symbol he created. While it was initially credited to British street artist Banksy, ultimately it was learned it was Julien who created the poignant peace for Paris painting.
Julien acknowledged that the universal appeal of images and icons are indelible, and Wired writer Robbie Gonzalez said that the combination of the Eiffel Tower and the peace sign into the peace for Paris painting is well on its way to becoming one of the most iconic symbols of the early 21st century.
The peace for Paris symbol has gone well beyond its social media beginnings a couple of days ago; the symbol is now making its way onto t-shirts and posters as well.
Julien encouraged people to remember that while the peace for Paris symbol was inspired by an act of unspeakable violence, it is a way of bringing the world together.
“It came from a place of hope,” he said of the peace for Paris symbol. “A positive place. And if that’s how it goes down, and how it is remembered, I’m fine with that.”
[Feature Photo by James Glossop – WPA Pool/Getty Images]