‘Charlie Hebdo’ outrage echoes ‘Cuckoo Call’ a century before, author tells Queen Mary’s Uni

PUBLISHED: 18:06 21 February 2016 | UPDATED: 08:22 23 February 2016

Satirical cartoon that caused a storm in 1905:
- Whats the occasion? Why are there so many people?
- The Victory Banquet.
- Victory? Oh, they must be civilians then.

Satirical cartoon that caused a storm in 1905: - Whats the occasion? Why are there so many people? - The Victory Banquet. - Victory? Oh, they must be civilians then.

Rhiannon McGlade

The deadly attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris last year was not a new phenomenon of 21st century violence to suppress a free press, according to a recent study, writes Allis Moss.

An historical academic book launched at east London’s Queen Mary University investigates how cartoonists more than a century before faced violence from those ​​‘offended​’ by their art.

Queen Mary’s research fellow Dr Rhiannon McGlade’s study delves into a similar attack on cartoonists in Spain in November, 1905, where the now-autonomous Catalan region’s story is told by its cartoons across the decades.

Troops from the Spanish army garrison in Barcelona raided the satirical Cu-Cut! periodical—its title means ‘The Cuckoo Call’ in Catalan.

That day, November 25, saw 300 soldiers burst into Cu-Cut’s office, beating up its staff and setting fire to typewriters and other equipment.

The furore that became known as the ‘Fets du Cu-Cut! incident’ was over a controversial drawing by one of Catalonia’s most renowned cartoonists, Joan Junceda, viewed as ‘insulting’ after Spain lost her last colonies in the Caribbean and Pacific in the Spanish-American War.

In the military’s eyes, on top of portraying a soldier as diminutive and bumptious, the caption cast a further slur on the army in its ‘taunting’ reference to victory:

- “What’s the occasion? Why are there so many people?”

- “The Victory Banquet.”

- “Victory? Oh, they must be civilians then.”

For Dr McGlade, however, there is also a further twist in the debate over whether the cartoon was actually published or censored before it could be printed for mass distribution.

“It was not published and Cu-Cut! was kept out of print for months afterwards following the attack,” she told her Queen Mary’s audience.

“But rather than the authorities prosecuting those who carried out the attack, they celebrated it.”

The controversial drawing was created during the ‘golden age’ of Catalan cartoons which lasted from the end of the 19th century to the birth of Spain’s Second Republic in 1931.

“Catalan satire has been influenced by periods of relative calm as well as censorship, violence, war and dictatorship,” Dr McGlade adds.

Her work explores “the fickle fortunes” of the satirical press in the troubled region against a shifting political landscape. It spans the Spanish civil war in the 1930s, subsequent life under the fascist dictator Franco and the transition to democracy on his death in 1975 with the restoration of the monarchy.

Dr McGlade hopes her book, Catalan Cartoons—A Cultural and Political History (listed at £67), launched at Queen Mary University’s John Smith’s bookshop on the Mile End campus, sheds light on the powerful impact of cartoons and society’s responses to them.

Latest East London News Stories

Detectives have launched an investigation after a woman was raped in the basement of a building in Whitechapel.


Britain’s tallest rental apartment block has been topped out at Canary Wharf after reaching 60 storeys.

Yesterday, 16:00

Santa Claus is planning to zoom down the Thames on his modern-day speedboat sleigh to switch the Christmas lights on at the historic St Katharine Docks.

Yesterday, 14:00

Youngsters are starting the school day in Bethnal Green with a square meal paid for by a three-year funding deal from a parcel delivery depot.

Yesterday, 12:12

The 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport that rescued thousands of Jewish children escaping Nazi persecution in pre-war Germany is being marked by Tower Hamlets Council backing calls for government funding for similar operations in today’s conflict zones.

Yesterday, 09:20

A Chrisp Street Market vendor is retiring after 54 years of trade.

Yesterday, 08:05

Commuters are facing delays and cancellations this morning due to a signal failure on the TfL Rail line.

Mon, 20:12

Jews and Muslims in east London joined Britain’s biggest interfaith day of social action cooking 2,500 portions of kosher, halal, vegetarian and vegan soups at 20 events up and down the country.


Are you a landlord looking for a fixed rental income, paid whether the property is empty or not? Steve Westley, general manager at estate agents Elliot Leigh, explains their Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it takes the stress out of letting your property.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now