© Stefano Rellandini / Reuters
Italian politicians and the public are fuming over a “disgusting” satirical cartoon published by controversial French weekly Charlie Hebdo, which made fun of the victims of an earthquake that left nearly 300 people dead and obliterated entire towns.
Charlie Hebdo, which made headlines in 2015 after a terrorist attack that followed the publication of a series of controversial Mohammad cartoons, has just released another controversial satire.
The cartoon titled “Earthquake Italian Style” compared the quake victims with typical dishes of the country. The caricature showed a man covered in blood standing with a sign over his head reading “penne in tomato sauce.” The poor fellow is depicted next to a badly injured woman survivor who is labeled “penne au gratin.” The icing on the satirical image shows people squashed in the rubble with feet sticking out between the floors of a collapsed building with the sign reading “Lasagna”.
“These designs are disgusting,” said the Italian Minister of Justice Andrea Orlando, Le Figaro quoted. The minister added that by publishing the caricature the weekly “created a scandal” to “attract media attention.”
“All this is disgusting,” President Senate Pietro Grasso concurred, calling the respect for the freedom of satire an “irony”.
The most outrage came from the mayor of a quake-devastated town of Amatrice, who declared “the town is gone” after the disaster.
“How the **** do you draw a cartoon about the dead!” Sergio Pirozzi said in response to the cartoon. “I’m sure this unpleasant and embarrassing satire does not reflect French sentiment.”
He added that misfortunes and the dead do not deserve a satire, saying “we will show how the Italian people are a great people.”
Following a similar reaction on social media, the French embassy in Rome said Friday that the Charlie Hebdo cartoon “does not absolutely represent the position of France.”
Calling the suffering of Italian people from earthquake an “immense tragedy,” the embassy issued “sincere condolences,” adding that the Frenchmen “are close to Italy in this difficult trial.”
An earthquake, measuring 6.2, hit central Italy on August 24 near the border of Umbria, Lazio, Abruzzo and Marche regions. It caused widespread destruction with severe damage being witnessed in the towns of Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto. The quake has taken lives of at least 294 people.