I Am Not Charlie! by Nanda Soobben

I spent a lot of my life telling people that I was not Charlie!

My brother Charlie was a famous footballer in the FPL and many people would often call me Charlie and I would say I wasn’t Charlie.

Last week, I had to think deep and hard whether I wanted to be Charlie !

Given the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris last week and as a cartoonist myself, I was expected to be a Charlie !

It does not work like that. Unlike football supporters who stick to their teams, no matter how bad they are I am a cartoonist and a social commentator and I try to keep an open mind and make my own judgement. I am not going to make a standpoint based on a bias or what people want me to say or what they expect me to say.

During Apartheid, I was called an ANC supporter, now I am scolded for being seen as anti-ANC!

The thing is, I just tell it like it is based on what I think is right or wrong.

As far as the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were concerned, they were certainly brilliant and very talented. But their cartoons were racially and religiously provocative. They did have a niche market with a big following and they had to feed that market. They also left a lot of people very angry and very insulted in their wake!

Cartoons should make people laugh, cry and think, but not angry.

OK, maybe the reader could vent some anger at the crooked politicians depicted in the cartoons, which happens occasionally and is not such a bad thing, but the cartoon should not insult the reader!

There are lots of people who deserve to be vilified in cartoons, especially politicians.

But why pick on their religion!?

I picked on the Apartheid regime, but not once did I pick on Jesus Christ, because of them.

I don’t think any cartoonist has picked on Christianity because of George Bush and Tony Blair.

For that matter, even Hitler.

Damn, just pick on the culprits, leave their religion out of it.

I was asked about the cricket cartoon which caused some controversy last year when Ganesha was depicted as the crooked Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) I just didn’t think Ganesha should have been used when Srinivasan the culprit himself, could have been drawn as a devil, maybe and not as Ganesha. There are lots of Hindu gods that a cartoonists could use if they wanted to create a certain metaphor. For instance Saraswati is the “Godess of Music and Knowledge” and could possibly be used as such to depict a cartoon. Ganesha on the other hand is the “Remover of Obstacles” and could have been used as such in a cartoon and certainly not as a “Crooked Indian” !

By the way, I was also accused of picking on religion once.

I didn’t mean to.

I just wanted to use the Lord’s Prayer to make an important message.

When Bishop Dowling said people should go against the Catholic Church and use condoms in the fight against AIDS, he took a lot of flak from his church.

I then drew a cartoon of Dowling praying with the words…

“Our Father…

Hallowed be Thy name…

The Condom comes”!!

I didn’t realise it would cause such a storm !

I thought my message was important but I didn’t want to argue that point and I apologised.

Freedom should be absolute. But it should not be abused. It would be up to the individual to ask himself whether its right or wrong, otherwise other people or the authorities would impose it on them.

Rules and regulations are used when there is no Wisdom.

In the aftermath, there will be more restrictions, laws, regulations and censorship in France and the racial and religious divide will get wider and we can forget about the idealism of “Absolute Freedom” !

Did the new management at Charlie Hebdo learn anything?

No.

The latest cover has a picture of Mohamed on it.

Isn’t that provocative !!

When will they learn?

I saw a famous local cartoonist saying he was in awe of them because they had the guts to do it again!

Is it about guts !?

Well, that could make for a potent concoction.. “guts and stupidity” !

This should have been a time for reconciliation.

Millions of people walked hand in hand in the freezing cold in Paris for that, including some leaders, who until a few months ago were “cold bloodedly” bombing schools and killing little children.

Yet, here they were walking hand in “bloody” hand with angelic stone faces which somewhat tinted what could have been a powerful show of social cohesion.

Back to the shooting.

No matter how insulting those cartoons were. There was no reason for the shooting.

As for those killers, they were idiots.

Did they really think the Prophet or one of the most powerful faiths could be threatened by a cartoon?

Did they think the Prophet would say well done guys !

Really !?

Now, I think that would be an insult to any Religion or Almighty !10445570_727374190641684_54573024789500158_n Screen shot 2015-02-04 at 8.56.11 AM Screen shot 2015-02-04 at 8.56.38 AM

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