The Charlie Hebdo anniversary cover

January 5, 2016 • 2:15 pm

In two days it will be the first anniversary of the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices, killing twelve—nine of them working for the magazine (two were police and one a maintenance man).  Thanks to the Centre for Inquiry Canada, I have a copy of the “survivor’s issue”, the first one released after the slaughter. That cover, simultaneously conciliatory and satirical, featured Muhammad saying “All is forgiven.”


The new anniversary issue is out, and here’s the cover (I hope to get one). It’s not directed towards Muslims alone, but toward all religion, showing a bloody generic God toting a Kalashnikov, and the title: “One year on: The assassin is still out there.”  It’s more defiant than the “survivor” cover, and shows that the surviving staff are as brave as ever in satirizing faith:

The pyramid with the eye is also part of the Great Seal of the United States, representing the “eye of providence”.  You can see it on every American one-dollar bill, as below, but the “all-seeing Eye” has been part of religious iconography for centuries.


h/t: Alex

23 thoughts on “The Charlie Hebdo anniversary cover

  1. I wonder if the new staff moved their offices to a more secure location. I certainly hope so. From my memory, they were originally on street level with not much more than a door for protection. If they are attacked again it would be sadder than sad.

    1. Yes, I read somewhere today that they have, although their offices were on the 2nd floor (I’m not clear if that is 2 or 3 storeys up). The worst story was on that question.

      Coco the cartoonist nipped out for a baguette: on her return the killers pointed their guns at her and told her to open the door using those press-button key-code thingies: she did.

      What a horrible moment in someone’s life.

      I’ve heard that even CH doesn’t print caricatures of Mohammed any more. Is this true? x

    1. Would it be possible for any (monotheistic) religion to draw the god – since the god represents everything. So any finite (or at least, smaller than the universe) representation would at best be a somewhat abstracted representation of the idea of the god.
      Which is what the Semitic scripts for YHWH and Allah are too.
      But the Islamic prohibition is on the representation of Mohammed, not of Allah (AIUI). Which is why The Artist of Jeebus and Mo carefully gets a body-double to pose for Mo before cartooning the body-double and Jeebus.

    2. The thing about drawing Mohammed is not universal. There is some wonderful art from the Muslim world that depicts him. It has become more controversial because of the spread of Wahhabism by Saudi Arabia in the last couple of hundred years.

  2. the “all-seeing Eye”

    So that is what it is.

    But it is stupid!

    Do modern religionists still embrace the iconography of some magic agency ‘looking in’ on the universe through an opening like another Ceiling Cat? What a toy universe they think they live in.

          1. I always though that eye and pyramid on the US banknote looked incredibly cheesy and smacked of cheap superstition. Masonry, voodoo, witchcraft, pyramidology, whatever.

            Plus a generous element of Big Brother (watching you).

            I’d expect to find it on the notes of some benighted Central American / West African banana republic than a major Western nation.


            1. Of course it smacked of Masonry; a much higher % of middle class and wealthy (male) citizens were masons back then compared to now. Among the signers, Franklin and Hancock were both masons while among the early Presidents, Washington, Munroe and Jackson were all masons. Complaining that early US symbology smacks of masonry is a bit like complaining that Renaissance paintings smack of Christianity – the themes make sense given the cultural backgrounds of the people in that time and place.

              1. OK, that explains how it started, though I’m surprised it’s still there. Aside from the superstitious element, it’s also curiously old-fashioned in design. Most countries whose notes I’m familiar with seem to update their banknote designs every few years, or at least every couple of decades. (I have to admit the new designs invariably draw a burst of complaint that the new notes look like gift vouchers or discount coupons, ‘too trendy’, etc for a few weeks till everyone gets used to them).

                I should add, I don’t think it matters in any practical way whether the US updates its banknote designs or not. I just find it slightly odd that it hasn’t.


  3. On the topic of the lighter part of this post:
    If you want the best explanation of the eye symbol, I’d strongly recommend watching the cartoon series Gravity Falls. It’s clearly a representation of the evil interdimensional being “Bill Cipher”…

  4. And here’s La Stampa’s report on how the Vatican newspaper responded to CH’s 2016 ‘Une’, or cover.

    The usual whine about blasphemy, the monotheisms as religions of peace and this being the wrong time.

    And let’s not forget the liberal Pope Francis’ comments this time last year: “If a good friend speaks badly of my mother, he can expect to get punched, and that’s normal. You cannot provoke, you cannot insult other people’s faith, you cannot mock it.”

    Aux armes, Catholiques!
    Formez vos bataillons!

      1. I have a feeling that had it been “only” the policewoman and random Jews, there would have been no marches. People are appalled (rightly) at the attack on free expression, but attacks on being Jewish? Not so much. Or am I maudlin today?

        1. You’re even more cynical than I am. I was in paris in the Spring of 1990 when a few dozen graves in a Jewish cemetery in Carpentras were overturned and defaced and the body of a recently buried man dug up and left exposed naked to the elements. Somewhere between 80,000 and 200,000 people turned up to a protest in Paris.

  5. Jesus and Mo have an excellent take on this.

    J&M’s Author has a lovely comment on his accompanying email:

    “That’s the thing about religious satire – it automatically delivers offence in the right dose: the amount of offence you take is exactly the amount you deserve.”

  6. It… shows that the surviving staff are as brave as ever…

    Maybe… They did stop drawing Mohammed, though, presumably out of fear.

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