Editorial Cartooning

What's A 'Rwanda'?

I know I haven’t posted in a long time and this is because school has been hectic. I just finished the craziest week of the semester (so far) which included something due every day of the week.

One of these major projects was my Media, Information, and Technoculture honours seminar project. I am enrolled in the The Art of Commentary: Editorial Cartooning and the Role of Dissidence in the Press seminar class in which we study editorial cartoons and the history of cartooning. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the class but it is now one of my favourites. We not only look at editorial cartoons, but we also learn about the political and historical events that were occurring at that time and see how the cartoonists engaged in political commentary through their work. It’s amazing how powerful and strong the cartoonists’ messages can be.

Along with attending lectures, we each worked on a research project throughout the semester and then held a half-hour seminar for the class to present our work. For my project, I looked at the topic of genocide – something I became very interested in and passionate about since I took the Century of Genocide class last year. I started by researching all editorial cartoons that deal with genocide and then slowly put together a theme.

I ended up talking about the phrase “Never Again”. After each genocidal event starting from the Holocaust, we (the public, the international community, and the United Nations) said “Never again”. However, we all know that genocide has happened and is happening again and again.

What I found through my research is that editorial cartoonists criticize the United Nations, the western nations, the western media, and the public for their lack of interest, lack of action, and inability to do something to save people (an inability that comes from conflicts of interest, veto powers, etc). It has now gotten to the point where the cartoonists look straight at the words “Never Again” and show how empty the words are. “Never Again” is just rhetoric.

In my presentation, I used these themes and worked through information and cartoons about the Holocaust, Rwanda, and Darfur. I was nervous about not giving the topic enough time because it is very important but I feel like it went well. I want to highlight here two of my favourite cartoons, both of which I think have powerful messages:

The UN's Strongest Warning against Sudan

They Always Say That

And finally, I finished the presentation with the following animated editorial cartoon (you have to click through to view the flash video). I look forward to your comments.

Never Again... Again