Some of the most significant political revolutions took place in the late 18th and early 19th Century. The American Revolution in 1776 and the French Revolution in 1789, which gave birth to democracy and outlined the idea of power amongst the common people. But Wait. We are still missing one major event. Its the Haiti Revolution, which took place in 1804. This event saw the rise of power of slaves to overthrow the colonial French rule and establish an independent empire of Haiti. If you probably never heard about the ‘Haiti Revolution’ until now, there is no need to be worried. You are not alone. Time and time again it has been overlooked by the western historians, simply because it was caused by the blacks.
Jeremy D. Popkin, in his lecture ‘New Perspectives on the Haitian Revolution’ discussed in detail about the Haiti Revolution, which took place in the ‘age of revolutions’. Amongst many things he discussed as to why Haiti Revolution is not talked about much. Possibly because, being caused by blacks, historians did not simply consider it a revolution. Maybe, for them, it was more like a black uprising. this also talks a lot about how racism in general has evolved over the years. By establishing an independent empire of Haiti, the black slaves had strived for liberty and independence. Yet they were not provided the glory of the American and the French revolution.
It is important that whole of mankind remembers the Haiti Revolution. For it is events like this which inspire people, encourage them to take on the world and bring about a change, a revolution.
In this talk we heard from Khalid Albaih, the famous political cartoonist from Sudan. Albaih’s cartoons rose to prominence during the Arab Spring. He continues to create comics that are controversial and eye opening. Looking through the comics that have made Khalid the most famous, I see that they speak the truth that no one likes to hear. I also see why they can be criticized because of their brutal honesty. One of the most startling comics I looked at was a comic commenting on the involvement of America and Isis in Iraq. In the comic Iraq is represented as a woman tied up with a terrorist and Uncle Sam standing over her. The terrorist is unbuttoning his pants as if to rape her while Uncle Sam holds a sword to the terrorist, saying “Hey! Its my turn again.” Such a cartoon can be shocking to see and I was taken aback at first. It is awful to see a rape portrayed in a cartoon, but this is exactly what makes Albaih’s cartoons so powerful. He is representing how terrorism and America have repeatedly terrorized Iraq over and over again. Iraq appears helpless in the cartoon, just as it is in real life. The country is stationary and helpless in defending its self. What makes Albaih so great is that he does not stray away from harsh realities, he embraces them. His cartoons can be shocking, with images of dead children, violence and rape, but he is only telling the truth of current situations.
It is interesting to see what a great influence cartoons can have over people, but I do understand why that is. Albaih said in the talk that he has very little time to grab the attention of people on the internet. He said that there is so much crap and nonsense that people have to sort through on the internet, that he needs to create something that will grab the attention of people in a second. Cartoons can be effective because they take about 10 seconds to read. If they have managed to pull you in in those 10 seconds they can take even longer to truly understand what they are saying. One cartoon that did this to me was a cartoon of an old, impoverished man with his hand extended outward (what I interpret as begging for help). Walking past him is a business man looking only at his cell phone. As if an after thought the business man has his hand extended behind him, dropping a face book “like” into the other mans outstretched hand. This sad exchange brings to life the idea that many people think it is enough just to share and like things on facebook. Many people nave go beyond social media to actually help, I myself am guilty of this. It is not enough just to share and like posts on faceboook, it can be somewhat helpful but not if you are missing what is directly in front of your face .