Khalid Albaih says through his art what many are thinking and feeling. He uses cartoons in hopes to bring attention to global issues. As Americans, we take pride in our Bill of Rights with the first amendment including freedom of speech. However, we forget that this is a privilege afforded to few. In America, we have frequently battled the issue of white privilege, but we forget about this issue of first world privilege. It’s easy to forget as long as the third world remains on the TV screen. We see images of horrors around the world, but then we can just change the channel. This mirrors Khalid’s point about “going viral.” His work is incredible and it can capture so many emotions and issues. It resonates with many people and it becomes shared through social media. But that’s where it ends. It is admired, shared, discussed and then forgotten as soon as a Kardashian tweets something. Not understanding the seriousness of Khalid’s work allows us to forget about how privileged as Americans we are. I am not trying to dismiss issues in America and say we are perfect, but we have so much more than most. If a writer for the New York Times wrote a provocative piece that questioned a politicians agenda, he/she would not be arrested the next day. He/she may endure scrutiny from various critics, but his/her life would go on. He/she would most likely be able to continue working for the Times and continue to live his/her life. Unfortunately, there is a ceiling for most. As Americans we don’t know this ceiling. The concept of the “American Dream” is the ability to break that ceiling and achieve whatever you want. If I wanted to I could become that CEO or next President because I am able to. I am not saying it would be easy, but there are no special forces, no dictator, and no laws preventing me from doing so. It truly is a open blue sky over America. Khalid is trying to bring illustrative messages to the world asking for help. He mentioned the friends he has lost and friends who are imprisoned trying to fight for our freedoms that we take advantage of every day. The reality in the US today is a scary Presidential election, concerning police and race issues, and Hurricane Matthew. I am not trying to dismiss the seriousness of those matters. However Khalid’s reality is much different and much worse in many ways because he is limited in what he is capable of doing to make a change. At the end of the lecture, a student asked if he has ever needed to worry about his safety. His response was “every day.” I couldn’t imagine that being my reality and I am grateful for that. Prior to the lecture, I wasn’t aware he was the artist behind many pieces I have seen shared on social media. Social media is a great starting platform to get people’s attention, but it won’t be the resolution to his country’s and many other countries’ problems. “Going viral” seems to only help so much.
#climate #political art Big Data Cartoon change climate change climate science curiosity Darwin Darwinian evolution data environmental crises eurocentrism evolution Facebook Frankenstein genetics haiti Haitian Revolution history history of science hurricanes interconnectedness khalid Khalid Albaih Khartoon language Middle East monument monuments Natural Selection political cartoons revolution revolutionary revolutions science Scientific scientific revolution social media STS132 Tambora technology viral what is a revolution