The Charlie Hebdo cartoonist who drew the publication’s first cover after the January Muslim terror attack that killed a dozen people, many his colleagues, is leaving.
“The time came when it was just all too much to bear. There was next to nobody to draw the cartoons. I ended up doing three or every four front-pages. Every print-run was torture because the others are no longer there,” Renald Luzier says in an interview in Liberation.
Luzier, who is better known simply as Luz, drew the cover picture on the first post-attack edition of Charlie Hebdo.
The issue sold some eight million copies across the world compared to a normal week’s sales of around 60,000, reports Reuters.
Luz recently said he would no longer draw cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad because he was fed up with the matter.
For Muslims, any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous; but Charlie Hebdo’s first post-attack edition carried on its cover a Luz cartoon of a tearful Mohammad holding a “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) sign under the words “All is forgiven”.
Murderous Muslim militants declared they were avenging Mohammad because of the Hebdo cartoons when they stormed the publication’s Paris offices in January.
Among the 12 slain was the editor, Stephane Charbonnier, and well-known French cartoonists Georges Wolinski and Jean Cabut.
Luz now lives under police protection like the rest of the survivors and colleagues at other newspapers.
“I’m no longer interested in returning to normal life as a news cartoonist,” says Luz.
“We’re not heroes, we never were and we never wanted to be,” he said.
He did not speak of fear of being targeted again by terrorists and denied splits over managing Hebdo and infighting over money matters are also to blame.
AP reports: “The long-struggling paper’s editorial staff and management disagree over the 4.3 million euros in donations received since January. The editor and publisher said a special commission will determine how to use it.”