Jordan's Queen Rania slams Charlie Hebdo with own Alan Kurdi cartoon
Queen Rania of Jordan on Saturday responded in cartoon form to a controversial graphic published by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo earlier this week.
The original cartoon sparked anger online, depicting a grown-up version of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian toddler who drowned off Turkey’s coast last summer and whose image galvanised international sympathy toward refugees, chasing after European women.
The caricature was in response to reports of mass sexual harassment of women in the German city of Cologne on New Year’s Eve. Women who reported the assaults described most of their attackers as appearing to be from the Middle East and North Africa.
In the cartoon, two men are featured chasing after two screaming women. At the top of the drawing is a picture of Kurdi’s iconic drowned image, face down in the sand. Next to that is the question: “What would little Alan have grown up to be?” The answer at the bottom of the cartoon reads: “Ass groper in Germany.”
Many interpreted the cartoon as racist, although others suggested that it was satirising the turnaround in European attitudes towards refugees and migrants since the events in Cologne.
The controversial French magazine recently marked one year since a fatal terrorist attack on its offices in Paris led to an outpouring of public support, encapsulated in the catchphrase “Je suis Charlie” that resonated globally.
The cartoon posted by Queen Rania on social media on Friday echoed Charlie Hebdo’s, asking “What would Alan have become in the future if he had lived?”
However, unlike Charlie Hebdo’s version, the new graphic shows Alan growing up to be a school student and, eventually, a doctor.
Queen Rania commission Osama Hajjaj, a Jordanian graphic artist, to draw the cartoon with text in English, Arabic and French.