Altars formed by pens, pencils and brushes laid out in memory of the dead of Charlie Hebdo and the other victims of the attacks of Jan. 7th were hardly ever seen in streets and squares, and the younger ones have never witnessed long lines in front of newspaper stands appearing Wednesday-morning in France. This is what neither the terrorist killers nor someone else might have expected to unleash: a blooming of the analogue media in the middle of its crisis. Also the millions of participants in manifestations for freedom of the press throughout the world may announce a renaissance of paper-based media. In fact the cartoon is as vital as the terrorists were convinced that it is. This made pencils and brushes to symbols of freedom in Paris of January 2015. Most remarkable a poster which used the quote of Arlo Guthry for a pencil: “This machine fights against war!”

power of drawing by johnicon

power of drawing I & II
by johnicon

Pencils and brushes in the age of terrorism

Pencils and brushes allow extracting a first sketch of an idea from the brain, which directs arm, hand and fingers to draw a line which finally may resemble things or characters which were immaterial in imagination. This is the reason why these tools make a person independent as no electricity or networks are required. Just a pencil is enough to materialize an idea, which make many people happy but may discomfort fundamentalists. You can buy a pencil but not the ability to use it. To properly draw requires education and training. However it is remarkable that even in times of You Tube, Twitter and Facebook a pen is an intellectual weapon, which terrorists and their commanders have noticed, since they started to reflect media. However the gunmen did not try to stop the printing of the paper or its circulation but shot down the drawers. They could kill some of them but the ability of drawing will last as it is a cultural practice which reaches back to the caves of Lascaux. It seems that the access to it must have been limited in prehistory. Restrictions in the showing of holy images last long until the achievements of enlightenment opened access to art and education to almost everybody and museums and schools have been founded. Centuries of pens and pencils began, and today all pencils, which are in use worldwide exceed the number of guns.


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