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Charlie Hebdo loses respect & the internet loses its mind over Aylan Kurdi cartoons

Shweta Sengar | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 4:32 IST

When Charlie Hebdo was attacked by gunmen at the magazine's headquarters in Paris eight months ago, the world prayed for them and stood by them with chants of #JeSuisCharlie everywhere. After the traumatic attack, they sold record one million copies the very next day.

Despite the overwhelming support from media and governments alike not so long ago, Charlie Hebdo has managed to make news for all the wrong reasons. Hebdo shamelessly mocked the death of the Syrian toddler who became the symbol of the refugee crisis. It featured the cartoons of the child and that too in a rather insensitive manner.

When angry netizens took note of it, they said that being a news outfit, it is easy to hide behind the veil of 'freedom of speech' and this is precisely what Hebdo did. It featured two offensive sketches of the child who was found dead on a Turkish beach.

The first drawing titled "So close to his goal" features Aylan lying face down on sand right next to a public board of a 2-for-1 McDonald Happy Meal that reads "Two menus of children for the price of one."


The second cartoon "The proof that Europe is Christian" shows the toddler drowning in water. Right beside him is a man, probably Jesus, walking on water. The cartoon reads "Christians walk on water. Muslim kids sink."


Soon after cartoons went viral on the internet, Charlie Hebdo received harsh criticism on social media on being so insensitive by featuring such offensive cartoons. Twitter users labeled this act as "most disrespectful".

This is how the internet reacted:

The dead body of Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach late August and caused massive outrage across the world, highlighting the heartbreaking refugee crisis Syria is going through.

The harrowing image made headlines worldwide while prayers poured in for the refugees. It even led to many countries expanding their refugee intake programmes so as to help them in every possible manner.

First published: 14 September 2015, 11:23 IST
Shweta Sengar @ShwetaSengar

Shweta covers Science & Technology for Catch Live at Catch News, scouring the Internet to bring readers items of interest, both serious and amusing. A foodie, photography enthusiast and globetrotter, she has also worked at The Economic Times before joining the Catch team. She studied Commerce at Kanpur University and has a PGD in Advanced Journalism from YMCA, New Delhi.