More cartoon controversy

In two seperate but related incidents political cartoons have again been creating controversy, although thankfully not on the ridiculous scale of the Danish ones about the Prophet as both have caused reactions through courts and complaints committees rather than numpties on the street demanding beheadings.

In one case the Israeli ambassador to Norway has filed a complaint with the press body over a cartoon there which used imagery from the Holocaust to suggest that the Israeli government treats Palestinians in a manner similar to the way the Nazis treated Jews. Understandably this is a sensitive area for any Jewish person and I can understand them being upset about it and it is good that they simply filed a press complaint instead of organising a burning of the local embassy. However it is the role of political, satirical cartoonists to use their art to draw attention to events and people, not to make the subjects of the cartoon happy.

And while I despise the suicide bombings and other dreadful events the Israelis have had to endure if I were them I wouldn’t want to draw attention to this since their treatment of Palestinians has indeed been rather poor, creating ghetto areas and effectively making them untermenschen in their own land – to someone who is familiar with the history of Germany during the first half of the last century there are indeed some uncomfortable parallels. In some ways it is like the state version of the individual who is bullied or abused as a youngster and then grows up to be a bully or an abuser in turn but seems unable to recognise themselves this way, still portraying themselves as eternal victims. Their cavalier attitude to the massive civilian death toll they are causing in Lebanon confirms this blinkered approach and alas, it is one which far from securing Israel and defeating a terrorist organisation is simply spreading more death on both sides (neither of which seems to give a damn about the civilians caught in the middle – I’m not taking sides here, both lots are bloody idiots).

Earlier in the week the Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoga is taking another cartoonist to court for portraying him as a tick (a tick infestation has caused problems in the country recently, so it is a double visual joke for Turkish readers). This is the fourth time this eejit has taken a cartoonist to court over their jibes at him, although thankfully all the previous cases were dismissed. From this we can infer that Erdoga is a bit of a vain, control freak with no sense of humour – what political observers refer to as an ‘areshole’ I believe. It also shows a complete disregard once more for the freedom of expression and free and open political debate in a supposedly democratic country. Coming on the back of events I blogged about a few months back where Turkey was attempting to criminalise the latest in a line of writers who dared to comment negatively about the government (this equates to defaming the nation in Turkey apparently, a criminal offence) it is unlikely to improve Turkey’s chances of joining the EU which they are desperate to do.

Many EU politicians are wary of admitting them because they have often proven to be remarkably un-democratic through actions exactly like this, not to mention having had more human rights abuses of all sorts levelled against them than the rest of the EU nations put together, so you’d think perhaps the PM, no matter how personally pissed off he is, would be pragmattic about it, pretend it is no big deal and laugh about it, but nope.

Funny how often a lack of sense of humour and an attempt to restrict the freedoms of others goes together isn’t it? I’ve found my sense of humour often gets me into trouble (although last year was the worst version of that) over the years and frankly, although I can be a little OTT (I see a line I just have to cross it, that’s what it is there for!) I think this is more to do with certain types of people (often the types who end up in positions of authority such as teachers, managers, politicians – you know, people who like being able to boss others around) simply having no sense of humour themselves and also being rather vain and full of their own sense of self-importance (hey, I poke fun at them, but I also poke fun at myself pretty often).