“Weapon of mass impertinence!”
They detested the atom bomb. They died from it, despite it and because of it.
They were opponents of all nuclear weapons.
On March 9, 2013, Cabu, Honoré and other cartoonists used their skills to honour two banners calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Cabu and his friends were part of our movement, as can be seen on this video, filmed by Jacques Bernasconi in front of Paris’s Hôtel de Ville, in August 2010.
They opposed the bomb because they opposed war, all wars, all massacres, and they opposed the weapons that prepare for massacres while claiming not to. They were antimilitarists – Cabu on account of serving in the Algerian War. They opposed human stupidity, even (especially) when it flourishes at the top of the state.
They were in favour of disarmament, because they were in favour of fraternity and human dignity.
In the aftermath of the 1968 distrubances, we made a call to Cabu when the town of Schiltigheim, on the outskirts of Strasbourg, wanted to relocate a score of immigrants whom the sleep-merchants had crammed into a ruined house. The town found no better option than to give them bunk-beds in the cells of a disused prison – and to make them paint the walls. Cabu responded and told the story in a page of cartoons, maybe a double page. My memory says this appeared in Hara-Kiri, in the spring of 1969. We reprinted it in an ephemeral journal which we called SATI (solidarity with immigrant workers), in a derisory allusion to “SATI coffee” whose ads used a “nigger’s head” worthy of Banania. Derision in the cause of solidarity and fraternity, that was Cabu all over.
Cabu and his friends died despite the bomb
Like the victims of 9/11/2001. Nuclear weapons, whether American, French or Russian, are totally useless against terrorists. They do not deter, arrest, or even kill them. You can’t use a sledgehammer on sandflies.
Even worse, nuclear weapons make them dream. Imagine for an instant that terrorists obtained some. How many people would they kill in Paris? A dozen, at the offices of a satirical mag? No, millions. Let us reflect seriously on that: the Charlie-Hebdo massacre may prove to be only a modest warning, a pale prefiguration of the nuclear massacre that awaits the French people as they cherish the stupid bomb which they threaten the world with.
Cabu and his friends died because of the bomb
Yes, because thirty years ago, in January 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev launched a barely credible diplomatic campaign and slogan: « No more nuclear weapons by 2000 ! ». If that call had been heard and implemented, Cabu and friends would probably not be dead now.
Why? Because the world would have been completely different, and Islamist fanaticism would not have found soil to take root and proliferate in.
Yes, but hey: the pursuit of happiness, a majority tendency in humans, is not the natural drift of history. History laughs at the happiness of individuals. Why? Chiefly because the most powerful individuals directing human history don’t give a stuff for the happiness of the weakest.
Deaf to Gorbachev’s appeal, the people who rule us by their economic or political power have preferred (with a few exceptions, not enough to alter the flow) to retain and increase their power of domination and annihilation. The atom bomb was and is the perfect symbol of that: if you resist me, I will liquidate, annul, annihilate,and obliterate you. Such is the system which has the bomb as its cornerstone.
In these days of national near-unanimity - a mood we can only rejoice at despite the pain of losing some dear friends - we must not forget this aspect of things: the fact that the nuclear powers, by assigning billions of euros, dollars, pounds, roubles, yuans, shekels and rupees and wons to their military machines and above all their nulcear weapons, are maintaining the poverty, resentment, fear and hatred in which all extremisms grow, notably Islamist extremism.
State terror feeds terrorism. The best way to combat terrorism is to renounce state terror. If the French people want protection from both, they must take control of their own security. They must approach the President of the Republic, the PM, the government and the Parliament and demand to be consulted on this absolutely crucial question: “Do you agree that France should participate with the other states concerned in the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, under a system of mutual and international monitoring that is strict and effective?"
That is the step that can lead to another political, economic, social and societal system, directed at liberty, equality, sharing and fraternity. If only the powerful could hear and listen to the voice of the people! It is very late in the day, but there still is time.