Je suis Charlie

These days, the tour Eiffel is nested under the shadow of a huge and by far greater monument. A monument that is made of three words, and is now occupying the place of the most synonymous icon of the French capital, JE SUIS CHARLIE.

Last week, I was asked by my editors in the Seven days weekend supplement of Yedioth Aharonot, to give my account of the tragic events that took place in Paris last week.

So here it is, in Hebrew, and in English.

Liberte, 7 days, Yedioth Ahronot, 16.01.2015

Liberte, 7 days, Yedioth Ahronot, 16.01.2015

Liberté

ביום ראשון אני חוזר הביתה, לפריז. כך עניתי לחבריי, ששאלו “מתי?” בדרך כלל אמירה כזאת גוררת אחריה חרחורי קנאה קטנים אצל חברים שנשארים פה, אלא שהפעם המילים האלה נענו בקולות של דאגה. אחרי שבוע של ביקור בארץ, עשיתי ביום ראשון את דרכי חזרה למקום שהוא ביתי בעשר השנים האחרונות. מקום שבו אני חווה את חוויית ההורות המופלאה לבתי, ואת החיים עם בת זוגי. שנינו ישראלים שמנהלים את חייהם מתוך מבט ישר לעיני המציאות, בתוך הדבר היקר, השביר והמאוים כל כך – חופש. חוגגים את אובדן הגבולות ומנסים במידה של הצלחה לחגוג את אותו חופש יקר.

אני מאייר. אני חי ופועל זה שנים לצידה של המילה הכתובה ומנסה דרך האיור להעניק לה, ככל יכולתי, ערך מוסף. כשפנו אליי מהעיתון בבקשה להתייחס לאירועים הטרגיים בפריז, מצאתי את עצמי אובד עצות. הנפש נסערת, הרשת כבר מלאה באיורים, פירות יצירתם הזריזה של אמנים חדי מחשבה ועיפרון, כך שכל ניסיון להצטרף למקהלה המאוירת נראה היה שיוליד תוצאה מאולצת. לכן בחרתי לפנות למילה שתניע אותי לפעולה, ובחרתי לחלוק כאן, שלא כדרכי, את מה שמסעיר את רוחי בימים אלה גם במילים. ממדי הסערה שבלב הינם כממדי הסערה שהתחוללה בתל־אביב בסוף השבוע האחרון וכממדי רעידת האדמה שחוותה פריז מאז יום רביעי בערב.

בפריז, בבניין המערכת של השבועון “שארלי הבדו”, הוצאו להורג בשבוע שעבר בני אדם, אמנים יוצרים, בשל היותם לוחמי חופש אמיצים ואחראיים, אנשים שהעזו בעשייתם לאתגר את החברה שממנה צמחו ובתוכה פעלו. זו חברה נינוחה ברובה, אשר למרות הקשיים הכלכליים והחברתיים של השנים האחרונות, מצליחה לקדש ערכים של חילוניות, חופש ונוחות. הם כיוונו את חיצי ציוריהם לכל הכיוונים – אבל לא במטרה לפגוע, אלא כדי להאיר את המקומות החשוכים שמהם צומחים כאבי האדם והחברה. לצידם נרצחו גם אותם חפים מפשע שקיפחו את חייהם בסופר הכשר, ולו רק בשל עובדת היותם יהודים. בשני המקרים, הקורבן הוא גם אותו חופש יקר, חופש שאת מקומו מאיים לתפוס עתה הפחד.

במשך יותר מ־ 20 שנה אני מנהל את חיי באירופה, ועד כמה שזה יישמע מאתגר, בכל הזמן הזה לא נתקלתי בגילויי אפליה או אנטישמיות על רקע מוצאי. אני חווה את הקונפליקט בין הפלסטינים לישראלים מבחוץ, לעיתים באופן מועצם יותר מחבריי ומשפחתי שבארץ. לפעמים אני הוא זה שמודיע למשפחה בארץ על אירוע ביטחוני בישראל, שמערער את השלום הפריזאי שלי. אלא שבימים האחרונים חוויתי לצערי את החוויה ההפוכה.

בעודי בביקור בתל־אביב, עקבתי בדריכות ובדאגה במשך שעות אחרי שידורי החדשות מפריז, ועוצמת החיבור שלי למתרחש הפתיעה אותי. מתוך היכרות עם הסביבה הפריזאית שבתוכה אני חי, הופתעתי גם מהעוצמה ומההיקף האדירים של תגובת ההמונים לאסון. לא ציפיתי לראות את אותם מיליונים יוצאים מבתיהם וזועקים את כאבם המשותף על אובדן אבירי החופש שנקטלו. מצאתי את עצמי חסר בתמונות מההפגנה בכיכר הרפובליקה, כחלק מאותו המון שלפתע מצא עצמו ניצב בחזית הקרב על החופש שלו, בחזית הקרב על החופש של האנושות כולה.

אז אני חוזר הביתה, כדי לקחת את חלקי הצנוע במלחמה על החופש. זהו קרב חסר תהילה על החיים הנורמליים, על השגרה המתוקה, על העבודה ועל התקווה שהטוב ינצח.

יזהר כהן, פריז

Liberté

On Sunday, I shall be making my way back home, to Paris“, that’s how I replied to my friends when asked, “when?
Usually, such a reply would result in murmurs of jealousy from my Israeli friends whose home is there, in Israel. This time my reply provoked the expression of worry.

Last Sunday, after a week’s visit to Israel, I made my way back to the place I’ve been calling home for the past ten years. A place in which I’m experiencing the twin delights of raising my gorgeous daughter and living alongside my beloved partner. We both are Israelis, carrying on with our lives, while staring straight into the reality in which we live, inside this fragile and most threatened thing that is our freedom. Enjoying the absence of borders and trying, with a degree of success, to celebrate this precious freedom.

I’m an illustrator. For years I have been creating my illustrations alongside the written word, while attempting, to the best of my ability, to enhance and enrich it. When I was asked by my editors to relate to the latest tragic events in Paris, I was baffled. My soul was in turmoil, but the internet was already swamped with illustrations and caricatures, the fruits of sharp minded and sharp-penciled artists. I felt that any attempt to join the illustrated choir was bound to yield a contrived result. That is why I have turned to the written word, in the hope that it will enable me to express what stirs my spirit.

The size of the storm in my heart is of the same size of the storm that swept through Tel Aviv at the end of last week, and of equal size to the earthquake that Paris is experiencing since last Wednesday.

In Paris, inside the offices of the editorial team of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, men and women were executed. Creative artists were killed for being brave and responsible freedom fighters. People who dared, through their expression, to challenge the society from within. On the whole, this is a comfortable society that, despite the economical and social difficulties of recent years, manages to honour sacred values of secularism and comfort. These artists aimed the arrows of their drawings in all directions, without meaning to hurt anyone, but rather to illuminate the dark places where the pains of our society are born.

Along side them, were murdered innocent people in the Kosher supermarket, for the mere fact of being Jewish. In both cases, the victim was that all so precious freedom. That same freedom which is now being threatened by fear itself.

Over the past 20 years I’ve been living my life in Europe, and as challenging as it may sound, I was never confronted with anti-Semitism or discrimination on the basis of my origins.

I am experiencing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the outside, at times more dramatically than members of my family and of my friends in Israel. More than once it was me who called them to unfold security events in Israel that disturbed my Parisian peace. Unfortunately the past few days have made us swap rolls.

While visiting Israel, I followed for hours, with great attention and worry, the live reports from Paris, and the degree of my connection to the unfolding events surprised me. My assumptions and prejudices about the social environment in which I live meant I was surprised by the intensity and the extent of the popular reaction to the disaster. I did not expect to see those millions coming out of their homes and crying out their shared grief over the loss of their murdered knights of freedom. I felt myself missing in the pictures of Sunday’s march in the Place de la Republique, regretting that I was unable to be part of that crowd that suddenly found itself at the front lines of a battle for its freedom.

I am returning home to Paris, to take my humble part in the war for freedom.
This one is a glory-less battle for normal life, for a sweet routine, for work and for the hope that the good will win.

Izhar Cohen, Paris

 

Pencils Gates

Pencils Gates

Walid

Walid

Morning

Morning

Republique

Republique

Home coming

Home coming

A passport to privilege

Tim Harford’s FT column from 11th of November, 2014, dealt with the essence, and the updated whereabout of privileges.Where-is in the past class mattered, Harford now point the finger elsewhere…

Read it all here.

A passport to privilege

A passport to privilege

In the new design of The Undercover Economist page in G magazine, there is now an additional illustration that relates and focuses on a trivia derivative from the column. This week the focus was on Pride and Prejudice, which is cited in the text. I am attempting as often as I can, to make the link between the main illustration and the small one, either literally , visually or both.

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

The sountrack of your life

The title above is the one I’ve attributed to a piece I’ve created by request of a good friends of mine.

A couple of friends of their’s got married and they had the idea of commissioning me to come up with an idea for a present.

For a while now, I’ve been toying with the idea of creating within the third dimension, so I thought this could be a good opportunity for me to explore.

I’ve discussed at length together with my friends the nature of the two protagonist and came up with the following idea:

Wedding gift, first ideas

Wedding gift, first ideas

Wedding gift, first ideas

Wedding gift, first ideas

As the groom is invested in catering for the need of humans to gamble on the net, and the bride is a psychotherapist. I thought to myself: the nature of marriage (in my humble opinion and 30 years of happy marriage) is first and foremost a partnership, in which two humans are taking all their chips, and placing them with love and faith on one number. all this is happening while the roulette is turning below their feet. The image was already there, I only had to accommodate the two in the comfort of the psychotherapists’ sofa, while sailing above the record that produce, with luck, the harmonious and hazardous soundtrack of their lives.

My friend was happy for me to go a head and give this idea a concrete shape, and so I did.

In a wooden wine chest, for good spirit, I have housed the elements which I’ve created from plywood, coloured and assembled.

I was left with the impression that everybody’s happy with the result. Following this experience, I’ve decided I want to create a series of boxes for myself…

The soundtrack of their lives

The soundtrack of their lives. final

The Secret to Resisting Temptation

distractions and temptations AW

distractions and temptations AW

Effective self-control has been linked to happiness and success in life while failures of self-control can have costly consequences, researchers said. The latest study suggests people with good self-control may use so-called proactive avoidance to avoid resisting temptation.

Read the rest of the article here, The wall Street Journal, Nov. 24, 2014

Until both the editors and myself reached the above final artwork, we’ve explored a series of other ideas I’ve presented them with. It may sometimes be challenging, still, mostly entertaining. I love my day Job (same as my night one… sometimes)

The Secret to Resisting Temptation 3rd rough

The Secret to Resisting Temptation 3rd rough

The Secret to Resisting Temptation 2nd rough

The Secret to Resisting Temptation 2nd rough

The Secret to Resisting Temptation

The Secret to Resisting Temptation

 

Why Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories?

Why Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories?

Why Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories?

About a third of Americans, for example, believe the “birther” conspiracy theory that Obama is a foreigner. About as many believe that 9/11 was an “inside job” by the Bush administration.

You can click on this link here to read the full text of Michael Shermer’s Skeptic column,  Scientific American, Nov 18, 2014.

Supermarket’s game theory

Supermarket's game theory

Supermarket’s game theory

This illustration accompanied an article by Tim Harford for his column The undercover economist, originally published in the FT, and published again in G magazine with my illustration for the past 10 years or so.

Forty years ago a German economist, Reinhard Selten, published a working paper with the title “The chain store paradox”. It was simple and profound and showed a discomfiting disconnect between the fashionable mathematical tools known as “game theory” and the recommendations of common sense.

This is the set-up. Imagine a chain store with 20 branches, one in each of 20 small towns. Lacking any competition, these branches charge high prices and are lucrative. In each town, an entrepreneur is considering opening a rival shop. These 20 local entrepreneurs will, one by one, decide whether to compete against the chain store or to sink their capital into something else.

 

Read it all here.

 

Perpetual Peace, Skeptic.

Michael Shermer’s October’s Skeptic column deals with the rare commodity of peace.

Ever since, the “democratic peace theory” has had its supporters. Rutgers University political scientist Jack Levy, in a 1989 essay on “The Causes of War,” reasoned that the “absence of war between democratic states comes as close as anything we have to an empirical law in international relations.” Skeptics point out such exceptions as the Greek and Punic wars, the War of 1812, the U.S. Civil War, the India-Pakistan wars and the Israel-Lebanon War. Who is right? Can science answer the question?

Rad it all here.

Perpetual Peace - Are democracies less warlike?

Perpetual Peace 
Are democracies less warlike?