Thursday, January 10, 2013

My letter in Manawatu Standard

This was my letter that was published on the 7th Jan regarding the Evans cartoon.  They gave it the headline "Evans' cartoon overstepped mark"

I am writing in response to Malcolm Evans' cartoon that was published in the Manawatu Standard on January 3.  I believe this cartoon is offensive and has overstepped the boundaries of decency.
For a political cartoon, the reference to "Hannukah" [sic] is appalling.  Channukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, does not celebrate a military victory, but a miracle where a single day's sacred oil was able to provide light for eight days until more could be produced.  It is a symbol of light and hope.
The "lighter" that Netanyahu is holding is also offensive as a crude suggestion that Israel is in control of the US to "light the bombs".
Sadly, the timing seems wrong, as Channukah finished some weeks ago.  It begs the question as to which events Evans is referring to.  The recent Gaza uprising already had a ceasefire in place well before Channukah.  Why produce this cartoon now?  What are the bombs supposed to represent?
In Gaza, Hamas rocket fire placed millions of innocent Israeli civilians in danger, forcing children to hide in bomb shelters.  Evans could also mention Hamas' cynical firing from within civilian areas, or the dragging of the bodies of their own people through Gaza streets.
It's a pity that you have chosen to publish such a polarising cartoon.  Irrespective of the unnecessary religious references and incorrect scheduling, it is time to stop taking sides and get both parties back to the negotiating table. 
It also turns out that Evans has some history of controversy on this topic.  The following cartoon was published in the New Zealand Herald, and received complaints.  Evans maintained that it was supposed to "stimulate discussion", but as a result he and the NZ Herald "parted company".  He now produces cartoons for the Manawatu Standard and the Evening Post.  A big step down, if you ask me.

I also received a response to my letter.  The following letter from Alan Ireland was published on 10th January.
I write in response to Tim Goodman's criticism of your cartoonist, Malcolm Evans (Letters, January 7).
Evans is one of the few cartoonists who understand that the Palestinians are, in reality, a captive, powerless and oppressed people.
Calling for "neogtiations" between Israel and the Palestinians is like calling for negotiations between a lion and a one-legged lamb over what to have for dinner.
Having already eaten three of the lamb's legs, and found them very much to his liking, the lion can't wait to devour the rest of the poor animal.
The only problem is: How to hoodwink the world into believing the lion is the champion of righteousness, while the lamb is a dirty rat that richly deserves its fate.
That's where the Orwellian Zionist propaganda machine steps in.
Now, this letter is clearly from someone who is somewhat deranged.  I mean, firstly it completely ignores all the points that I made in my letter.  It then has some weird analogy to Lions and Lambs which aren't even coherent.  It seems to be advocating Palestinian violence as the answer rather than talking to each other.  It finishes with a reference to George Orwell, presumably because the author sees Israel (i.e. the Jews) as some kind of "Big Brother".

Now this poorly argued response is not worth my time, and the people of Palmerston North hardly need to be subjected to any more.  However a quick search on Alan Ireland finds that he is a retired journalist from the Manawatu Standard.  Also he writes some pretty wacky poltical stuff on his blog.  He even suggests that the Jews are the devil.  In regard to Tom Scott's cartoon he writes:

 I do, however, appreciate the number — 766 — on the tail of the Israeli jet. Just change the seven to a six, and you get the biblical “Number of the Beast”. Very appropriate!
It also turns out he is a 9/11 Truther 

I’m collecting documentaries on 9/11 and 7/7, in an attempt to find out/work out what really happened on those days.
Or this:

Both 9/11 and 7/7 were “inside jobs”. The only question is: Who, exactly, were the insiders? 

OK, so a nut.  Its actually good when they try to tell you you're wrong as you don't really want people with such warped perceptions of reality supporting you.  It's a bit concerning that he was a Journalist for so long!

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