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Origin of the Eiffel Tower Peace Sign

By now, it’s likely that you’ve seen the striking new symbol that will surely be associated with the Paris attacks of November 13, 2015, for quite some time. The simplicity of the image somehow captures the yearning for Parisian peace delicately enough to rock you to the core.

In our social media age, powerful icons such as this one, a peace sign featuring the Eiffel Tower in its center, are generally shared online as a sign of solidarity and grief for whatever event has just taken place.

This image was splashed all over Twitter, Instagram, and will adorn the profile pictures of many for weeks and months to come. It’s been reposted so many times that credit given to its creator, Jean Jullien, is scarce.

Jullien is a French illustrator who often shares his work on social media in the wake of worldwide tragedies, or even just newsworthy worldwide events. In the past, his work commented on the Charlie Hebdo massacre, gay marriage legalization, and the Ferguson shooting.

The artist, born in Nantes, has never lived in Paris, but has plenty of friends and family who do. Listening to a French radio station on Friday, he reacted how he always reacts: on paper.

“When I put my brush on paper, this was the first thing that came. When I get affected by things, when something happens in the world, I usually communicate online with my drawings,” Jullien told Slate. 

When asked about how much the symbol has spread, Jullien said that “[i]t’s an image for everyone. It’s not my image—it’s not a piece of work that I’m proud of or anything—I didn’t create it to get credit or benefit from it.”

This Eiffel Tower peace sign will haunt the internet long after the last wounds from the attacks heal. It’s an emblem of hope and tragedy, the crest of a world drowning in tears, weeping for Paris.


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