(As much as I detest quoting from a capitalist rag…)
“If the people who now wax indignant about the Aylan Kurdi cartoons supported Charlie Hebdo last winter and joined demonstrations carrying ‘Je suis Charlie’ signs, they clearly did it for the wrong reasons. The magazine was attacked for putting potent symbols through the grinder. It’s done that again with the now-iconic photograph of the dead boy. As usual with Charlie, the message is transparent: Don’t dare use this photograph to advertise shallow, ineffectual charity; don’t be secretly dismissive because it was not your child and not a European child; don’t trivialize Aylan Kurdi’s death by turning it into a political cliche. ‘If you can look at the original photograph without averting your eyes but you can’t look at these cartoons, there’s something wrong with you’, the artists tell their audience.”- Leonid Bershidsky
And we should be aware of the additional level of irony – that the dead at Charlie Hebdo have been used in the same way. Fortunately, their surviving colleagues are contesting their exploitation as a sacred political symbol by carrying on their iconoclastic work.