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LOVE AND DEATH

One French artist’s defiant, life-affirming response to the Paris attacks

By Cassie Werber

Being a cartoonist in France isn’t a simple business—especially not since the brutal attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015. But one French comic book artist and film director, Joann Sfar, has responded to the shootings in Paris with a series of defiant, life-affirming cartoons captioned in French.

France is an old country where lovers kiss freely.

Paris is our capital. We love music, drunkenness, joy.

The attacks took place on a Friday night. Many of the victims were out enjoying themselves: at a concert, a bar, or a football game.

For centuries, those who love death have sought to make us lose our love of life.

Each of the 12 drawings has received over 1,000 likes on Instagram, where Sfar posted them.

They’ve never succeeded.

Those who love. Those who love life. They’re the ones rewarded in the end.

The motto of Paris is so beautiful.

She is tossed by the waves, but does not sink.

This one is in Latin, and is indeed the motto of the city of Paris.

The eighth panel is in English:

Terrorism is not an enemy. Terrorism is a mode of operation.

“Terrorism is not an enemy. Terrorism is a mode of operation. To repeat ‘we are at war,’ without the courage to name our enemies, leads nowhere. Our enemies are those who love death. In different guises, it has always been so. History forgets them quickly. And Paris remains and calls them shit.”

The people who died tonight went out to live, drink, sing. They didn’t know that war had been declared.

Instead of dividing us, you remind us of the preciousness of our way of life.

Lovers of death, if God exists, he despises you. And you have lost already, on earth as in heaven.

Follow Quartz’s coverage of the Paris attacks.

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