Saturday, November 24, 2012

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

Several of Australia's political cartoonists have weighed in on the subject of Israel's latest massacres in Gaza:

Typically, the only one who managed to get to the heart of the matter, as he does with every subject he deals with, was the incomparable Michael Leunig.

A typically questioning, introspective Leunigian character is shown, in 4 scenes, reflecting on the news from Gaza which he's just read about in the paper. His observations, one per scene, follow the pattern established in pastor Martin Niemoller's famous description of the Nazi consolidation of power in 30s Germany - First they came for the communists... then they came for the Jews... (The third is especially redolent of this brave cartoonist's brushes with Australia's Israel lobby reflected on in his essay The Cartoonist's Lot in his collection, The Lot: In Words, 2008):

First they came for the Palestinians and I did not speak out because I was not a Palestinian.

Then they came for more Palestinians and I did not speak out because I feared hostilities and trouble.

Then they came for even more Palestinians and I did not speak out because if I did, doors would close to me, hateful mail would arrive, bitterness and spiteful condemnations would follow.

Then they came for more and more Palestinians and I did not speak out because, by then I had fallen into silence to reflect upon the appalling, disgraceful and impossible aspects of human nature. (The Age, 21/11/12)

Please tell me it had nothing to do with the dreaded doctrine of 'balance', but Leunig's sublimity was followed the very next day in The Age by the clueless Dyson:

Standing on a large target, a masked 'militant' is lighting the fuse to a rocket labelled HAMAS. At the top of the frame: MARTYRDOM FOR DUMMIES.

Alas, it was all down hill from there. In yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald, Moir, still clueless after all these years (at least on the Middle East conflict), had drawn an anonymous Australian citizen, newly emerged from a news agency with a folded paper tucked under his arm and carrying a brief case with the label MID EAST on its side. Walking towards him, holding a placard containing the words IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD DEC 21, is the eternal, bearded, barefoot protester. The weary citizen quips, PROMISE?

Why? Well, because, plastered on the wall around the newsagency's doorway are posters advertising the latest news: IRAN THREAT, ISRAEL RETALIATES, HAMAS RETALIATES, GAZA: EYE FOR AN EYE FOR AN EYE FOR AN EYE..., ISRAEL RETALIATES AGAIN...

Notice how it's never ISRAEL ATTACKS? Moir inadvertently offended the community's arbiters of what can and cannot be said on this subject back in 2003 and is probably still having nightmares about it today (See my 24/1/08 post We Remember Warsaw) Anyhow, I digress. Back to those posters on the wall of the newsagency:

Here's my favorite, on Syria: SYRIA: ABBAS STRIKES - REBELS RETALIATE

ABBAS!!! That's right, Abbas, USrael's Palestinian lapdog!


And then, freaking Abbas again: ABBAS RETALIATES - REBELS RETALIATE .

What a goose Moir is. Surely, anyone whose knowledge of the issue is so limited that he not only confuses the Quisling president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, with Syria's Bashar Asad, but worse, thinks that the old biblical law of an eye for an eye is a sufficient explanation for the various struggles underway in the area, is simply unfit to comment on them.

And if proof were needed that such cartoons as Moir's, which promote the lazy view that they're really all as bad as each other over there, only work to keep people in the dark regarding the actual Israeli coloniser/Palestinian colonised dynamic that underpins the Middle East conflict, it surely came in the form of this morning's Online Readers' Panel pie graph on the question: What best describes your attitude to the current Middle East conflict? The results were as follows: They are as bad as each other - 39.8%; Sympathy towards the Palestinians - 32.2%; Sympathy towards Israel - 16.9%; Don't know - 11.1%.

There you go: Moir - cartoonist for the 'I couldn't be bothered researching this issue properly so to hell with both parties' brigade.

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