I seem to be turning into the eclectic correspondent for downthetubes, as I am reviewing a cartoon anthology that has a distinctively sharp bite. Many of us will recall the events of 7 January 2015 when gunmen assaulted the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and murdered twelve people during their assault and subsequent failed escape attempt. Cartoonists, journalists, police and pedestrians were all one thing to the attackers. They were targets. Targets for the rage that two individuals felt for the mockery of their religion. But by making people their targets, Said and Cherif Kouachi managed to become the focus for the peaceful protest that many wanted to make against extremism.
Je Suis Charlie and Not In My Name swept across Europe and North America as slogans that struck a chord allowing peaceful protest against the idea that attacks mabe by the Kouachi brothers and Breivik were in the name of their respective religions. Many of the cartoons also played on the quote from Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s 1839 play Cardinal Richlieu where the pen is mightier than the sword and allowed much of the global community to ridicule those that thought a few bullets would silence the voices of reason.
Other cartoons have riffed on ideas that have ranged from sadness to silliness. But all have had the same thread running throughout. The terrorist may terrorise but they will not silence. And to know that I have met at least two of these fine artists (Messers Rudling and Hunt take a bow) and others, I am fortunate enough to interact with through social media, then that adds to the courage of this individual to take a stand and face down the evil that is in our midst.
I understand that I have put a lot more detail in why the book is here, but to understand why we have this book, you need to understand what made people take the time to put it together. In February 2015, a low key Crowdshed campaign was started and those that felt that this was a project worthy of support, put some money in. As a result, four months later, we have a cartoon book that is as political as any issue of Private Eye and with a lot more bite. A few more of the cartoons will make you understand that this is as political as you can get without all the boring bits of a political broadcast on behalf of the Nodding Dog party.
The last cartoon in the book reminds us that not all the harm in the world is happening in Europe or just to one group of people. People are suffering globally and this book will help those writers whose pen is truly as feared as the local warlord’s sword.
• Those that want to buy a copy of Draw The Line Here can do so by going to the on demand print link http://www.englishpen.org/campaigns/draw-the-line-here
All artwork © respective cartoonists