Paris Attacks 2

Fadi Abou Hassan, Paris Attacks 02: ISIS in France.
November 15, 2015.
- I think, I shall draw the Eiffel Tower; one cartoonist tweeted on Sunday following the massacre in Paris. A colleague of his answered back that he would then do the Seine in red.

They shall remain unnamed, since it was done with a pained grin. Let us be blunt: The batch of cartoons following the massacre has certainly not been of much quality, the excellent ones being few and far apart. Cartoonists are analysts with the need to take one step back to see other sides to the debacle in front of them. In this case the perpetrators were as yet not identified and no one wanted to jump to conclusions giving the extreme right voices in European politics a field day. It was not yet the time for anything but giving homage to those, who had been killed.

Making a cartoon that of homage is a tricky situation. Especially when it is required of the cartoonist to draw here and now and refrain from all humor, in particular any hint of ambiguity - then there is not much left of what makes cartooning a voice of its own. Furthermore this was Paris Attacks 2, as Fadi Abou Hassan so accurately titled his drawing, with the cartooning wound after the Charlie Hebdo-massacre in January very much still an open one. So a situation of an intensely OH NO and to this end it seemed a matter of choosing from a few symbols, which ended up being repeated endlessly over the weekend.

Still, the amount of Eiffel Towers about is not what makes the particular drawing a good or poor one, in spite of Daryl Cagle's emphasis of not drawing one like "the rest of the bunch" (he drew Marianne and the process he put into it is well worth a read). For one, the defining drawing this time was exactly that of the Eiffel Tower, made by Jean Jullien: Instantly conceived on his first hearing of the attacks on the night and instantly grasped and distributed by everyone on the social media, making his drawing the symbol of unity already on the night.

The Eiffel Tower is likewise to be found in the drawing by Fadi Abou Hassan. He incorporated all of them in fact; the Eiffel Tower, the Tricolore and the outline of France. This was drawn on Sunday when the who and the why began to be known and the cartooning phase could set in. The bloodied vulture is of course not an actual black-clad killer. This one is the mastermind, perching with his prey in his beak. He has a feeling of mischief-maker about him, which avoids this from being an angry drawing. He knows he is doing wrong, showing off his prize, which is the whole point of the killings. The green coloring makes for an chilling effect.

And then the following day Fadi extended the first drawing to this one on whose shoulder the vulture has a spiritual home. The two of them are adversaries and yet their actions tend in the same direction. They both cultivate a gaze of blood, while attempting to control us to look away from them.

Fadi Abou Hassan, November 16, 2015.

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Fadi Abou Hassan and must not be reproduced without his permission.

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