Dear Quino, I am very pleased, very proud, very touched to welcome you here today and to have the opportunity to pay tribute to you personally.

All of France knows you, loves you: so many of your albums have circulated
in our hands, so many laughs, smiles, reflections have we had in
reading you over the years. Mafalda is part of our life. She is, at
background, the little girl free and affectionate, insolent and tender, with fresh heart
and already lucid that we would like to have or that we would like to be. This
is forever inscribed in our existence, in our imagination. This
is not a heroine, she is a friend, who tells us, with her intelligence,
its critical liveliness, its natural impertinence, its clairvoyance
spontaneous, truths about who we are.

These truths that you have never ceased to express through her, with her. And
among these truths the absolute necessity of freedom, respect for freedom,
the permanent exercise of freedom in the face of all dictatorships, in the face of
orders imposed on the negations of free will. You have proved this
in your own life through your commitments, your departures, your
way to stand straight, to never bow.

If you are such a great cartoonist, it is because the drawing is not
simply for you a distraction, an entertainment, an escape
free, it has a political sense. It is a way to reveal a society to
to tell us, thanks to the comic, the excesses, the absurdities,
the injustices.

Mafalda is very small, but she is bigger than all sociologists
of the world; she is very frail but with her favorite world map, she has
a stronger, smarter, more relevant mind than many political scientists.

And then, it is not alone; there is the Mafalda club: Manolito, the capitalist
of the band, which places disproportionate importance on trade “No,
of course money is not everything in life... there are also cheques...”;
Susanita, the gossip lover, whose dream is to become a mother
married to the boss of a big company who will kill himself during a
business trip... Freedom, which is the smallest in size as small as
Freedom, which represents poverty in Argentina, but
also the strength of character needed to bear it with a smile.

Yes, the courage to endure the world, the world as it is, as it goes,
as it changes or not.

There is so much and so much that we have endured thanks to you.
«Provision d'humeur» is the title of one of your last books.

Provision of humour, lightness, lucidity, pleasure and gravity
that’s what we did with you. And that’s why
we are so grateful.

You have always wanted to understand the world around us.

You are thus a great humanist, a humanist never severe, so close,
by your drawings, by your attitude, by the hearts of others.

It is with admiration and friendship that I am very happy, dear Quino,
of the French Republic, to present you with the
the Order of Arts and Letters.