Memories are short.
Many have probably already forgotten the Islamists who walked into the Charlie Hebdo office and slaughtered innocent people.
Not English PEN. To mark the event and to commemorate World Press Freedom Day they have a published Draw The Line Here, a collection of cartoons drawn in response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January 2015.
Draw The Line Here is a collaboration between the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation (PCO), Crowdshed, and English PEN. It features cartoons drawn by British artists in the days immediately after the attacks. The work of 66 cartoonists is featured, including Steve Bell, Dave Brown, Martin Rowson, Peter Brooke and Ralph Steadman.
Proceeds from the book will be split equally between the fund for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo murders, and English PEN’s Writers at Risk programme.
Publication of Draw The Line Here was made possible by a crowd-funding campaign launched in February. Over 200 people pledged their support to the project, and will be receiving their copies of the book in the coming days.
Draw The Line Here includes a foreword by Libby Purves, patron of the PCO, who writes:
Some cartoons here are gentle, others savage; some merely encapsulate the bafflement and sadness of a world where mockery is met not with the proper response, a shrug, but with murder. Again and again the theme is of the fragility of the sceptical, laughing pencil: its simplicity and its splendour, the opposite of the vainglorious, meaningless squalor of the gun and the bomb.
Jo Glanville, director of English PEN, said:
We are extremely grateful to the PCO and to Crowdshed for choosing English PEN as a beneficiary of this project, and of course to all the cartoonists who have contributed to the book. By exercising their own right to freedom of expression, these artists are helping to defend the free speech of others.
The publication of this book could not be more timely. Sunday 3 May is World Press Freedom Day, the perfect time to stand in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo.
Being a writer, a journalist, a blogger is a very dangerous occupation these days.
Raif Badawi was sentenced to weekly floggings for writing a blog.
To mark World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, English PEN has joined more than 50 free speech organisations and media groups in calling on governments to uphold their international obligations to protect freedom of expression.
The joint statement begins:
On World Press Freedom Day, 116 days after the attack at the office of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that left 11 dead and 12 wounded, we, the undersigned, reaffirm our commitment to defending the right to freedom of expression, even when that right is being used to express views that we and others may find difficult, or even offensive.