When I heard about the killing of the cartoonists in Paris, a part of me died instantly. I have always believed that the world is still a good place to live because we can joke about all the bad things around us.
I have always felt that humour is not a talent that can be acquired through practice. One might learn to appreciate humour through practice. But one needs a special sense of the world to discern the humour ever existent among us. The cartoonists who were killed yesterday not only had the keen vision to see the humour but also had the courageous heart required to publish it.
Satire is one of the finest expressions of humour. Unlike a joke, a satire encourages the reader to bring his/her experiences to the conversation depicted in the sketch. Calvin and Hobbes is a great example of how satire can make us think.
The extremists who killed the cartoonists also killed a part of the good that exists in this world. But I hope that these killings will not discourage us from writing books, making movies, or sketching more cartoons in future. I hope that the deaths of these finest people will encourage more of us to stand up for what we believe in. Unlike India, a pseudo-democratic country where freedom of expression can be suppressed using British era laws of sedition, these cartoonists lived in a country that supports freedom of expression. France is mourning and so is rest of the world. And mourn we must. We lost something good and courageous yesterday. We lost people who practiced art, the finest expression of human spirit.
Let’s Stephane Charbonnier’s words be an inspiration to all of us – “I would reather die standing than live on my knees”