Zéon (pictured above, far left) is a French cartoonist, illustrator and painter. He is 31 years old and lives in Paris. He publishes some comic strip albums, and is running a group of dissident French cartoonists blacklisted by the mainstream press. He together with other artists produce comic books such as “L’Almanach pour tous“.
Brandon Martinez of Non-Aligned Media conducted an exclusive interview with Zéon who was recently arrested and charged with a ‘hate crime’ in France for an anti-Zionist graphic he designed in 2009.
Brandon Martinez: How long have you been doing politically-themed artwork?
Zéon: I began my first Zeon cartoons in 2007.
BM: When did you become aware of the Zionist issue and its relevance to France?
Zéon: In 2003, when the French humorist Dieudonné was banned from official media for a sketch he did about Israel.
BM: You were recently arrested for the crime of “offending Israel” with some of your artwork. What is the status of this case and what exactly are they charging you with?
Zéon: The judge charged me with “provocation leading to racial and religious discrimination by offensive words, in writtings, pictures or electronic communication means”, for a cartoon I did of a stabbed Palestinian child with an Israel map shaped knife. I drew it in 2009 at the time of the Gaza massacre.
BM: Many are enraged by the hypocrisy of the French government who on the one hand champion free expression for Charlie Hebdo’s anti-Muslim cartoonists, but on the other hand mercilessly persecute dissidents who critique Israel or Jews (yourself included). Is this double standard widely recognized by the French public or are people unaware of it?
Zéon: A good part of the people know it, mostly in the youth of today, mainly in the working classes.
BM: After the Charlie Hebdo shooting, we’ve seen the French regime enact stiff laws making it basically illegal to question the government’s neocon foreign policy. Will this have an impact on artists such as yourself?
Zéon: Yes, sure! After the Charlie Hebdo shooting, a lot of people were charged with the ‘defending terrorism’ law, including a young child of 8 years!
BM: What’s the feeling in France with regards to the Charlie Hebdo affair? Many are saying that it was staged or at the very least allowed to happen. What’s your opinion on this?
Zéon: There’s an emotional wave who stay in the public debate for the moment, but it can’t last forever and the rational thinking will shortly come back… “You can fool some people sometimes, but you can’t fool all the people all the time!” About the Charlie Hebdo shooting, I’m not a specialist, but my opinion is that these kinds of terrorist acts are most of the time supervised and controlled by the secret services. They’re the only ones who have the means and the logistics to bring these operations to fruition. There are many examples, like the September 11 attacks or the Toulouse and Montauban shootings… They infiltate radical groups, detect and use the most fanatical members to do violence. I think we’re in this kind of situation with the Charlie Hebdo affair.
BM: We saw the great march of the hypocrites shortly after the shooting, featuring some of the world’s worst war criminals, including Netanyahu. Are people in France not disgusted at how the shooting has been used by politicians to curtail freedom as well as push forward more war in the Middle East on behalf of Israel?
Zéon: Yes, everyday more and more people are waking up, fighting against this kind of manipulation. That’s a big problem for the François Hollande regime. They’re trying by all means to bring us back to the unique and automatic way of thinking, “la pensée unique”, they want us to believe everything the official media says, and finally manage us like sheep.
BM: What’s your association, if any, with Alain Soral’s Egalite Reconciliation group?
Zéon: I work regularly with them and their publishing house “Kontre Kulture”. For example, we’ll bring out in a few days a little cartoon book: “Je ne suis pas Charlie… Et j’t’emmerde!” (“I’m not Charlie… And go to hell!”) to respond with humor to this oligarchy who want us to choose between two camps, the “Charlies” or the “terrorists”.
BM: Where can people find your artwork and how can they support you?
Zéon: You can find my artwork on the internet or in my web blog: https://zeondessinateur.wordpress.com To support me, you can take a look at my comic strip “Yacht People” that I’ve done with Dieudonné et Alain Soral, unfortunately it’s only in french for the moment… But we are working on a 3D cartoon film which will be translated into English and Spanish.