“A good cartoon is a punch in the face”
– François Cavanna
Charlie Hebdo founder
On January 7, 2015, gunmen forced their way into the offices of the controversial satirical French magazine, Charlie Hebdo. The men, who reportedly shouted “Allahu akbar” (“God is great” in Arabic) and “the Prophet is avenged,” murdered 12 people, including cartoonists Stéphane Charbonnier (Charb), Jean Cabut (Cabu), Philippe Honoré, Bernard Verlhac (Tignous) and Georges Wolinski. Charlie Hebdo describes itself as secular, atheist, and politically left-wing. Its cartoons often criticized organized religion (including Islam), the extreme right-wing French National Front party, and local and national politicians.
In the immediate aftermath of the assassinations, people all over the world began using the phrase “I am Charlie” or “Je Suis Charlie” to show solidarity with the victims and to denounce the attacks. The surviving staff published this issue of the magazine stating “All is Forgiven.”
These events raised issues surrounding the freedom of speech and the role of satire in society that are still being discussed and debated today. The magazine continues to publish and to challenge its audience with intentionally provocative cartoons.