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 .