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He was just a cartoonist
by Thanos Kalamidas
2015-01-09 09:06:06
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wol01_400I was expecting him to be shy. He wasn’t. But that was all he wasn’t. Everything else he was.

I think that I have mentioned before that I started my career and relationship with magazines and newspapers very young, as a cartoonist. To be precise as a political cartoonist.

I started in Greece and one of the very first (I think the second) magazines I worked for, was a satirical political opinionated one called “To Pontiki,” which translates into “The Mouse”. Very similar to “Charlie Hebdo”.

Later I left Greece and my relationship with the magazines and the newspapers changed, I was drawing less and write much more.

But cartoons are always in my heart and many times rejecting titles like journalist, writer or something like that I say that "I am a cartoonist. It’s just that lately I write my cartoons instead of drawing them."

Like every other person involved with cartoons I had my own heroes, cartoonists that I loved reading and trying to copy, from their style to their humour. For me they weren’t that many. Actually it was one. George Wolinski.

I loved his simple lines, I loved his burning humour, I loved the spirit he transmitted through his cartoons, I loved his anarchism and intolerance to authority. I wanted to be a Wolinski. I had every single book he published and I had gone to such extent that to use the same pens he used, (I had found out from an interview he had given a few years before).

And then the man himself was standing in front of me smiling. My friend, for whom I was doing some illustrations at the time and co-writing a children’s book, knowing my love for Wolinski had told him everything about me and of course he brought him to me. I was lost of words. Unusual for me, as everybody might tell you. I had no idea what to say. So I did the next best thing that I thought natural at that moment. I hugged him!

We spoke little that evening. I suppose I was very bad company as I was in awe. But we met again. And again. And he was everything I had imagined. A man with strong opinions, ready to doubt any kind of authority and a revolutionary in the soul. A man who loved to challenge and provoke.

A man who …was.

wol02_400I’m sorry but I don’t know how to find the words to describe what happened. I actually don’t understand it. He was a cartoonist!

I’m sorry I don’t know how to deal with it. This last day, I’m pretending that I don’t hear or see his name. It is some people in Paris. Denial. Perhaps. I don’t want to think otherwise. He was just a cartoonist.


Trying to listen and read what’s going on, the only thing I can say is that Malala is a Muslim and an immigrant. These murderers were just that. Murderers. And they were the same who shot Malala. A Muslim and immigrant in Europe. We should never forget that.

George, he was just a cartoonist!

Bon voyage, George!


PS The fascist idiot who governs Greece and expects to continue governing after the general elections in three weeks, hours after the crime in a campaign speech while flagging the known black print with the “Je suis Charlie” said, that this is a chance to really understand the danger immigrants from the Middle East bring to Greece and Europe. He added that when he will be re-elected, 95% of them will go.

Idiot is not my choice of word, (I would have used something much worst), the French L’Express used in a report from Greece; reporting the inhuman, racist and xenophobic comments the Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras made, wrote “it is hard when idiots support you.”


 The photo in the header is George Wolinski, when I met him.

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Emanuel Paparella2015-01-09 13:32:54
Indeed Thanos, the pen and/or the pencil are still more powerful than the sword, and there will always be a fundamental difference between "the will to power" and "the will to truth."

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