28 mai 2024

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Tribute to Samuel Paty: the comic “Crayon noir” anchors his story, three years after his assassination

The comic strip “Crayon noir – Samuel Paty, story of a teacher” comes as reinforcement to explain a harsh reality: that of the fight between freedom of expression and terrorism.

The comic strip “Crayon noir – Samuel Paty, story of a teacher” comes as reinforcement to explain a harsh reality: that of the fight between freedom of expression and terrorism.

Three years later, history repeats itself with the assassination of Dominique Bernard, professor of literature in Arras, a harsh reality of the fight between freedom of expression and terrorism in France.

The authors of this graphic novel which retraces the events leading to the assassination of Samuel Paty worked for almost three years on this project. An extremely documented story where emotion emerges throughout the pages. In this comic, the reader enters his class and discovers the mechanism that made the teacher a target.

But also to return to the infernal spiral which led to this fatal outcome: a course on freedom of expression during which the teacher shows caricatures of Mohammed while proposing to students who wish to come out, the lies of a teenager who had not attended the course, her father’s complaint broadcast on the Internet, the recovery of the affair by a radicalized preacher, the excitement of social networks, the act of the Islamist terrorist Abdoullakh Anzorov.

The end of a tragic story, known to all. This is the one that Valérie Igounet chose for the beginning of her graphic novel. Journalist, historian and deputy director of the Conspiracy Observatory, she reviews each of the facts that led to this tragedy.

“Black Pencil is the story of teacher Samuel Paty. And I absolutely wanted to come back to his classes, which were quite criticized at that time, to his personality. But also to the future, thanks to testimonies from his former colleagues , to tell the story of who Samuel Paty was,” explains Valérie Igounet, on October 16, the day of homage to Samuel Paty in Toulouse.

During his lifetime, Samuel Paty confided to a former student that he “would like his life and his death to serve something…”. A phrase that resonates today since he is, despite himself, the tragic hero of a comic book history book. Beyond a comic strip distributed in the CDIs of middle and high schools in France, the book is part of an educational approach which will serve as support for teachers in dealing with subjects of terrorism, secularism, freedom of expression in class.

The family lawyer also participated in the work. For her, beyond terrorism, it is an issue that questions our society. “So many minors in a terrorist trial is unprecedented. So they had a role; and this role must absolutely be explained to other minors.”

A comic book, a real history book

The strength of this story, presented in chronological form, and which parallels the journey of the latter and the daily life of Samuel Paty until their paths crossed, is to be extremely well documented. There we find extracts from the professor’s diary, emails exchanged with his colleagues, but also a good number of sometimes unpublished testimonies such as that of Soraya, this mother of a Muslim family who tried on several occasions to warn of the terrible rumor that was spreading on the Web. Or that of David, a former colleague of Samuel Paty with whom he discussed the profession between two games of ping-pong, and who has since left National Education.

The comic strip attempts to explain to us why a professor who taught became the target of a terrorist. After many years of investigation by journalist and historian Valérie Igounet. The graphic novel illustrates how the fatal spiral closed around him.

A way to carry the voice of Samuel Paty and to carry out his fight for freedom of expression. It is in the name of this right that the history professor was cowardly murdered a few steps from his college in Bois d’Aulne in Yvelines.

More than a comic strip, the authors offer here a history book as a tribute to Samuel Paty.
“A very complex story, with different chronological sequences which describe the way in which the trap closes around him” analyzes Guy Le Besnerais, the designer of “Crayon Noir – Samuel Paty, the story of a teacher”.

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