How to Destroy A Government: The Comic

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 Included in this exporation into the deep web by YouTuber SomeOrdinaryGamers, is a CIA-sanctioned illustrated propaganda booklet for Nicaraguan citizens on how to sabatoge their country’s daily infastructure (Link). The actions rage from misdimeanor (scattering nails on a road) to major terrorist acts (building a molotov cocktail). I’m sure a nation in economic collapse due to minor inconveniences pushes it further into a dependance with wealthier nations.

Politics aside, can you imagine being the artist who had to illustrate that booklet? How do process what the a request like this from the CIA?
There must be a support group for propaganda artists somewhere.

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Charlie Hebdo: What Responsibility do Cartoonists have?

My thoughts, like the Charlie Hebdo story, are still developing, I feel that I have not elaborated enough. Allow me to clarify.

Upon giving the ISIS cartoon a second look, I couldnt help but notice a few details about it that bugged me. In my opinion, there was little creativity behind making the cartoon: the ISIS leader just stands there and says something. When I think of satire, I look to symbols and uses of visual metaphors. None were used in the Charlie Hebdo cartoon in question. I began to wonder how blatantly the message was interpreted by the shooters.

I’m not saying that the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists deserved to die. Let’s get that out of the way. I do, however, think this tragedy brings out an uncomfortable reality in cartooning.

Lately, alot of the cartoons in I’ve seen in some publications simply appear juvenile or intend to push buttons. No metaphors, just a direct, unsubtle delivery of the message. It’s one thing to attract retaliation from speaking an undirected opinion but it’s another when you do so after creating was the cartooning equivalent of “yo mama” jokes. If you give a stranger the finger, should you be surprised if he punches you in the face?

With Great Creativity comes Great Risk

By now I’m sure some of you have heard the news on the attack on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in which four cartoonists on staff lost their lives. The victims are pictured below.

CharlieHebdo_deadCartoonists

What triggered such a massacre? In a moment similar to that involving Sony Pictures and North Korea before Christmas, ISIS threatened to attack France in response to the publications’s cartoon featuring the group’s leader (pictured below).

CharlieHebdoCartoon

Being a cartoonist will never be easy.

Harn_Lay

Before I make my point, allow me to talk about another cartoonist.

At the International Civil Rights Museum in Atlanta, one of the exhibits is dedicated to international human rights. As you walk toward the entrance of the exhibit, you’re graced with wall-to-wall photomural of people currently risking their lives doing what they can to fight for their basic rights around the world.

Among the individuals featured on the wall is cartoonist Harn Lay (pictured above), a former Burmese rebel soldier who fled to Thailand in 1988. He’s been on record to say that the Burmese government would imprison him for every cartoon he drew if he ever returned. Remember, Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a nation where free speech is on par with soviet- era Russia and current day North Korea. What does a cartoonist from a totalitarian nation have to do with the French bombing? Both involve cartoonists who’ve risked their lives to communicate through imagery, only the latter finally succumbed to that risk.

While the French Cartoonists in had little to fear from their government, they still faced the threat of retaliation from foreign groups and fellow citizens.

Something to think about for Americans drawing anti-police cartoons.