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PARIS — Cartoonists around the world reacted to the assassination of their colleagues at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo as only they can: with drawings worth thousands of words.

Defiant, angry, poignant, irreverent and sobering, their drawings united cartoonists, sending a shared message: We must not, will not and should not be silenced. Some drawings touched such a nerve they made one want to both laugh and cry.

“Can’t sleep tonight, thoughts with my French cartooning colleagues, their families and loved ones,” David Pope, cartoonist for The Canberra Times in Australia, wrote on his Twitter feed. His drawing showed the lifeless body of a cartoonist and a hooded gunman holding a smoking rifle and saying: “He drew first.”

In India, cartoonist Manjul drew a plane exploding in a fireball into the Eiffel Tower, its pointy top redrawn as the nib of an ink pen.

One of the most powerful drawings had no drawing. Christian Adams’ cartoon for The Daily Telegraph in London showed a blank space with the heading: “Extremist approved cartoon.”

To Joel Pett, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist at The Lexington Herald-Leader, the massacre serves as a reminder for cartoonists not to squander their opportunity “to draw about something that matters.”

“It’s so tempting to pick the low-hanging fruit — today’s infotainment story or joke about John Boehner crying or something that has absolutely no importance,” said Pett.

“People are dying out there for free speech. Those of us who enjoy it owe it to them to use it in a responsible way.”

Material from the Los Angeles Times is included in this report.