French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon of the drowned Syrian toddler, Aylan Kurdi, was the subject of a fierce debate on social media. Many believed the magazine has gone “too far” with humor this time and that the cartoon was racist. The cartoon shows Kurdi – the child whose picture, lying facedown on a beach highlighted the refugee crisis – with a message “What would have happened to little Aylan if he grew up?” The answer, “A groper of women in Germany.”
Under the headline “Migrants”, the cartoon shows two men with their tongues out and arms stretched running behind a woman. It clearly draws a reference to the recent incident that happened in Cologne, Germany where mass sexual assaults were reported on New Year’s Eve allegedly by refugees.
But what has outraged many is Aylan Kurdi cartoon’s insert at the top which is widely interpreted as implying that all refugees are or grow up to be gropers.
I wonder how many lovers Charlie Hebdo has now? A disgusting racist Islamophic cartoon of little Aylan Kurdi later…
— George Galloway (@georgegalloway) January 14, 2016
Charlie Hebdo latest racist cartoon dishonouring memory of poor Alan Kurdi is unforgivable https://t.co/e59XVapmTH
— Mina Al-Oraibi (@AlOraibi) January 13, 2016
Charlie Hebdo depicts Arab migrants as beast-like creatures that are out of control. This is racist. Plain & simple. pic.twitter.com/5y2l6yuoBP
— Dr. Craig Considine (@CraigCons) January 14, 2016
An innocent toddler dies and u run jokes about they’d be a pervert if they grew up? Charlie hebdo got what they deserved I’ve just realised
— #BWIGM (@JamzLdn) January 13, 2016
Charlie Hebdo reminding us it’s fine to be racist if you claim it’s satire and scream freedom of speech.
— Not Chris Taylor (@the_itch1980) January 13, 2016
— Sunny Hundal (@sunny_hundal) January 13, 2016
— Ayaz Farooqui (@ayazfarooqui) January 15, 2016
Ask Aylan’s father and family how they feel about the cartoon and don’t forget reassure them the message is pro refugee. #CharlieHebdo
— Batoul Khuraibet (@BatoulKh) January 15, 2016
Though, another argument being made is that it takes a dig on the perception of migrants, to mock the presentation of them in public especially after the Cologne incident.
@NesrineMalik Or it could be satirizing sweeping stereotypes about migrants, i.e. not racist at all. Just saying. It’s a possibility.
— Christopher Thompson (@CGAThompson) January 13, 2016