"Tu rêvais d'être libre, et je te continue"

Tu rêvais d'être libre, et je te continue, "You dreamt of being free, and I will continue you", were the final words by the French Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira, quoting Paul Eluard in her formidable address to Tignous, cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo at his funeral this month.

Amine Labter / Vit'amine! September 14, 2014.
Another decapitation: What is the goal of IS?
- That is to be seen black on white!
Nevertheless, the media keep posing the question, if Tignous and his colleagues will indeed be continued? A Danish national paper has issued a questionnaire to authors and cartoonists, if they will be inflicting self-censorship upon themselves from now on. Are there taboos such as religion, extremism and fundamentalism, which you will refrain from drawing? Are you inhibiting yourself before you even put pen to paper?

The question cannot be answered.

Cartoonists reflect upon the now. They are taking in the perspectives of before and after, transforming the now into a symbolic setting, literally drawing a greater picture. But the core of the matter is the need to reflect on what is taking place before us.

What is relevant one day, may be the wrong thing on which to focus the day after. Timing is everything in humor and journalism alike and cartooning amalgates the two. There were cartoons out on Houellebecq's new and about-to-be-released book on the morning of January 7, which were wonderfully playful when they were published. But they would have been hurtful if anyone had had the strength to take a look at them a few hours later, seeming almost indecent on the cartoonists' part.

Amine Labter / Vit'amine! January 18, 2015.
Daesh (IS) claims responsibility of the attack against the
Algerian Embassy in Tripoli!
- Please, please stop there are no cartoonists among us!

Another thing to bear in mind is the fact that cartoonists are already living at the frontline. They know the danger of personal exposure, threats, prison, torture and exile, leaving their loved ones behind. Having been through all of this before, their resolve has already been made. Not an easy one as each and everyone points out. But they have all been there before.

Amine Labter / Vit'amine! September 23, 2014.
Kidnapping of a French backpacker
- We too love the nature
So the three weeks since their colleagues at Charlie Hebdo were murdered is a case in point. They have been doing much the same type of work they have always done.

This blogpost is in the company of quite a few black-clad Algerian Jund/Jounoud al-Khilafah militants, who first made their presence known in 2014, declaring allegiance to IS. The cartoon to the left was drawn the day before they announced having decapitated the French guide Hervé Gourdel.

The militants are masked, finding strength in a cause freeing themselves from their personal responsibility and making them part of a single bodied group of artlovers of still lives, natures mortes.

And yet they are all the more undressed qua their visual uniformity, making greater room for us to scrutiny their whats and whys. Given to us by the cartoonist Amine Labter, whose courage thus reflects the question on the possible fear of addressing extremism.

Amine Labter / Vit'amine! January 16, 2015.
Demonstration in Algier!
No Shahada (i.e. the Islamic creed) but le Way Way 
the craze of the young Algerians, a dance mix including mimics mocking one's adversary.

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Amine Labter and must not be reproduced without his permission.

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