I did something I am not proud of today.
My boss Stephane "Charb" Charbonnier is a very talented man. He's created many books popular around Paris and even signs each one with a personalized cartoon. He's worked for Charlie Hebdo for many years. A talented man he is, but also a stubborn and ignorant one.
Over time, this magazine company has released several problematic issues. We've urged the public not to take our humor to heart because it is a satire magazine. However, lately I've been questioning this said "humor".
I’ve laid awake in my bed before, doubtful of the messages my own comics give off and hoping the people of France don’t receive a different theme from the one I intend to convey. Last night, though, I couldn’t close my eyes for even a moment, knowing what was waiting for them in the newspaper stands on the coming Wednesday morning.
Stephane said the cartoon featured the Muslims’ prophet was just a joke. “We make fun of so many important figures,” he said, “They’ll survive a little French humor!”
I could have said something. I should have.
My values and morals are an essential part of my being, but I let part of me cower behind the fear of losing respect and pride, behind the fear of losing my job.
I’m forbidden to reveal anything about the magazine’s contents, as it clearly states in my contract, but if any of the satirical magazine’s readers happen to read this too, please know that I am sorry.
Nobody deserves to have anything so important and vital to them ripped apart and torn to shreds, offensive content labeled as “humor”.
I know that if I even dare to call out my coworkers’ racist works, I will be fired instantly on the account of rude comments over others’ art.
I wish there was an easier way out of this. It’s not right to just keep publishing more and more hateful material towards a minority here, in France. To ask for respect, one must show respect. It is a simple level of maturity that the artists I work with and much of the white population in Paris seem to think doesn’t apply to the Muslims living in our country.
As much as previous works have been thrown under the rug, I have a bad feeling about this one.