The French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, became widely known in January 2015 when images of the deadly rampage that took place in its offices, started echoing around the world. A few days ago, the periodical was once again put under the spotlight after its editorial judgement raised some eyebrows for satirizing the trenchant refugee crisis currently sweeping Europe.
Critics worldwide are in fact accusing Charlie Hebdo of racism and xenophobia for several cartoons that appeared under the heading: “The covers you were spared.”
In one drawing, a toddler is seen face down in the sand, clearly recalling the photograph of the 3-year-old boy washed ashore in Bodrum (Turkey), which aroused public indignation over the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have been risking and losing lives in atrocious odysseys to reach Europe.
What appeared to be most scornful, was the McDonald’s billboard in the background announcing “Two children’s menus for the price of one.”
“So close to the goal ...” says the caption.
Another cartoon portrays a man reminiscing Christ walking on the sea with arms open downwards. Next to him are a pair of legs drowning in the water.
“The proof that Europe is Christian,” the caption reads. “Christians walk on water. Muslim children drown.”
Many commentators, on both important papers and social media, responded with columns of disdain, a few even threatening to press lawsuits.
Rita Banerji, writer and business woman, recently tweeted: "I always thought Charlie Hebdo was racism parading as satire. Condemn. Sue. Boycott."
Of a similar opinion is Peter Herbert, tweeting: "Charlie Hebdo is a purely racist, xenophobic and ideologically bankrupt publication that represents the moral decay of France."
A few others put it more simply: "Is this what politicians worldwide were parading for in January?" and "Is anybody still feeling "Je Suis Charlie" after this?"