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Je Suis Bruxelles: Cartoons have again become a way for people to process terror

After deadly attacks on the Brussels airport and its subway system, a boy places a candle in front of the Belgian Embassy in Berlin.
AP Photo/Markus Schreiber
Time to grieve.
  • Cassie Werber
By Cassie Werber

Cassie writes about the world of work.

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

After the terror attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015, where several cartoonists and others were killed, artists across the world reacted with cartoons of their own. When terrorists again struck France last November, the graphic response was also strong, and defiant.

Today, Brussels was hit by three coordinated terrorist bombings. And cartoons condemning the violence, offering sympathy to the victims and solidarity with the city, and mocking the perpetrators, have already begun to appear.

The French newspaper Le Monde published an image of comfort and condolence:

Many used the manneken pis, a famous statue in central Brussels, to convey their feelings.

They included Johann Sfar, who created a set of beautiful responses to the Paris attacks. His Manneken’s thought bubble reads: “Is it too much to ask, to piss in peace?”

Tintin, the hero of a series of classic Belgian cartoon books about a youthful journalist, also made an appearance. This reads: “Belgium is weeping for its children.”

The images expressed anger and frustration…

…and sent a message of defiance couched, as only images can, in humor:

The Belgian flag here reveals a diminutive character in the black face-covering commonly used by ISIL fighters:

And here, something much more simple:

Meanwhile, in Brussels’ Bourse Square, outside the city’s stock exchange, residents and tourists used chalk to write their own messages of defiance and urge unity in the face of terror.

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