Circle Of Hope: How A Raw Reaction Became A Sign Of Solidarity
In the aftermath of the coordinated terror attacks on Paris, people around the world have been taking to social media to share their grief and show support for the French people.
One image, in particular, has become a kind of icon of international solidarity: a simple, but powerful, black-and-white ink drawing of a peace sign — with the Eiffel Tower at its heart. The picture popped up online last night, and since then it has been shared, liked, tweeted and retweeted as people attempt to cope with the tragedy.
It has become known as the "Peace for Paris" symbol. And its creator, illustrator Jean Jullien, awoke Saturday morning to discover that it had gone viral.
"Last night I was about to go for dinner," Jullien, who was out of the country at the time of the attacks, tells NPR's Michel Martin. "I turned on the French radio. I heard that it was an attack, and my first reaction was to draw."
What he produced ended up being raw, minimal and resonant.
"It's this sort of moment where you don't necessarily try to understand everything coherently. It's more of a state of shock and sadness and anger and all these very sort of raw feelings. So for me, it's just sort of trying to summarize these feelings in one image with my way of reacting," Jullien says.
"I shared it online as a reaction, not really thought through at all."
His original tweet has since been retweeted more than 49,000 times, and it has appeared on signs, memorials and even T-shirts in countries around the world — from Berlin to New Zealand. And, frankly, he says it has made him a little bit uncomfortable.
"You know, it's putting me in a spotlight that I don't necessarily want to be [in], because I don't want to benefit from this exposure, in the sense that it's a tragedy first and foremost," Jullien tells Martin.
Still, despite his discomfort, Jullien says his work achieved what he'd hoped.
"The idea was just for people to have a tool to communicate, and to respond and to share solidarity and peace. It seems that's what most people got out of it. So in that sense, if it was useful for people to share and communicate their loss and need for peace, then that's what it was meant to be."
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