Thursday, January 29, 2015


What does the title of this post have to do with the cartoon "Where is Charlie Now?"

I'll explain in a moment, but first a preliminary note: In this post I'll be referring to individuals and comments on Google Plus and a popular art hosting site. I'll be citing the cartoonist but I won't be naming either of the two other players, and I won't be linking anywhere. However, it's all public and people can find the sources if they want to.

The cartoon, a play on "Where's Waldo?" is by a French artist who uses the alias Aykoah. He has shared it on Google Plus and it has, as expected, been re-shared numerous times and received may "+1"'s and positive comments. Perhaps you have already seen it. It's a lovely piece with multiple meanings, and potentially evoking a range of possible emotions.

To the question, "where is Charlie now?" the most common response by commenters has been "partout" or "everywhere".

Well, perhaps not everywhere.

On the popular art hosting site, where the cartoon was originally posted, the first comment "Where is Charlie Now?" received was this:

He is in the hell... forever... & ... and when u'll die.. u'll get burned together
Curious, I clicked to the "artist". He appears to be a German Muslim or Muslim living in Germany, perhaps originally an Algerian. He joined the site a few days after the Charlie Hebdo attack and seems to have been busy posting a number of pieces in the last few weeks. Here are two of them:

Je suis avec Mohamed

Je suis Charlie

The titles were given by the artist. The second was posted a few days after the Hebdo attacks. You have to admire the subtlety of it.

There's also a famous photo of the ruins of Dresden (which has become a sort of emblem of Holocaust deniers and World War Two revisionists), a cartoon of Uncle Sam holding hands with an Israeli trollop with a Star of David tattooed on her butt, an "I am Algerian. F**k France" piece, and (of course) an "I am not Charlie. Stop Islamophobia" poster.

Why anyone might be motivated to become an "Islamophobe", given the above, I can't imagine.

So where do the llamas come in?

Well, after he joined the site, he received this "welcome" message (the only public message on his page) from a longtime member. Her avatar is a cute anime character:

Welcome to the site! (with cartoon of cute rabbit, waving and winking).

To which our Not Charlie replied,

Thank you so much...that's so sweet from you (smiley face).

Ever the voyeur, I clicked through. Welcome has been a member for ten years, and in a few seconds of scrolling I noticed a long stream of cosplay photos, anime pictures and pink ponies...

...And of of course numerous Status Updates, including the latest:

*Welcome might have had too much coffee today...

Welcome would never be an "Islamophobe". That would be mean. No, that's not a criticism. It's a compliment.

And Not Charlie can obviously interact normally with people in that world, with smiley faces and all. That shouldn't be a surprise. But still. I'm reminded of the British Muslims fighting for ISIS who were tweeting each other about their favorite Disney movies.

So here it is, the Clash of Civilizations summed up in a few internet links. Again, I'm not being snarky against the llamas. They may not be human, but Welcome is.

Are llamas and pink ponies enough to vanquish hate? I can hear the opposing chorus: No way! Rather, you need (take your pick) reason, or God or guns, or...add your favorite here. In the wake of the Charlie attacks, some would say you need laughter.

Personally, I'll take all of them. But I don't have a problem starting with the llamas.

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