Cartoons and Illustration

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What’s Said Vs. What’s Done in Gaza

I’ve always been interested in the way language creates the mental images that form the basis for our understanding. For an editorial cartoonist, it’s a part of the job to use mental images and metaphors to encourage a certain way of thinking. Sometimes this involves oversimplification, which can be misleading. But can images also be used to lay bare the inconsistencies and abuses in the language we use? For this cartoon, I paired the often ridiculous images that might be associated with the language of the conflict in Gaza, with the images of the reality of the conflict, as I subjectively understand it.

Language in GazaWhen the U.S. and Israel talk about Israel’s right to “self-defense”

They’re referring to using overwhelming military force to invade a blockaded territory with tanks, artillery and aircraft, many of which are supplied by the US.

The U.S. has provided Israel with about $3 billion in military assistance each year. Most of the money is used by the IDF to purchase weapons from U.S. Military contractors.

When Hamas says they’re “resisting,” 

They mean they’re indiscriminately firing rockets at Israeli cities to provoke more conflict.

Thousands of rockets and mortars have been fired toward Israel from Gaza, resulting in 3 Israeli civilian deaths.

When Israel refers to their military operations in Gaza as “Mowing the grass,”

They mean the cyclical strategy of attacking Gaza and Hamas ever few years, despite the deaths of thousands of Palestinian men, women and children.

Nearly 2,000 palestinians have been killed, 50-80% of them civilian, including over 600 women and children.  The fighting has displaced a quarter of Gaza’s population. Nearly 60,000 have lost their homes.

When Israel refers to Hamas using “human shields,”

They mean Hamas intentionally continues to fight and stores weapons in the densely populated territory that Israel has sealed off and confined them to.

Gaza, 25 miles long and around 5 miles wide, has a population of 1.8 million. It has been blockaded by the Israeli government since 2007.

And when Israel and Hamas talk about a humanitarian ceasefire,

Both sides seize the opportunity to build up their arsenals, dig in, and prepare to fire again.

At the Center for Cartoon Studies

Center for Cartoon StudiesI’m off this week, taking a class on graphic novels and narrative comic-making at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, VT.

I’ve also been working on a particularly difficult cartoon about the language of the conflict in Israel and Gaza, which I will publish as soon as I can stop revising it. More soon!

High School Cartoons on Iraq (2008)

I didn’t start drawing and studying editorial cartoons consistently until my senior year in college. However, I did draw a few cartoons on Iraq when I was researching Blackwater and military contractors in high school. I drew these before I knew anything about editorial cartoons, and while they are filled with mistakes and questionable decisions (it looks like I labeled a curb “Iraq”), it was my interest in the topic that got me into political cartoons.

Backfire in Iraq

Turn the Page on Iraq

 

As Iraq’s corrupt and unpopular government fails to maintain control of its violently fracturing territory, Obama is finding that the catastrophic consequences of our occupation will not be so conveniently expunged by the withdrawal of our soldiers or the shifts in our rhetoric.

Lying to Our Soldiers

Veterans Administration

U.S. soldiers were guaranteed care from their government when they returned from war. Veterans found just another broken promise in a relationship based on deception.

See this cartoon and more at The Gabbler!

 

The Harm of Limited Intervention in Syria

U.S. Intervention in Syria Cartoon

One of my first editorial cartoons was a single panel criticism of Russia’s blatant support for the Assad regime, which had already begun massacring the Syrian opposition. Two years later, I think it’s also appropriate to criticize U.S. policy, which is supporting moderate elements of the opposition in a hesitant and limited manner. The CIA-administered support, which includes non-military aid as well as small arms, and recently, a number of anti-tank weapons, has helped sustain the opposition against the Syrian army without tipping the balance in the opposers’ favor. If one believes in both the competency and cruelty of U.S. foreign policy, this strategy could be interpreted as a deliberate attempt to subject each side to the slow, bloody death of a civil-war stalemate, with hopes of some negotiated settlement down the line. However, the U.S.’s limited intervention could simply be a clumsy and risk-averse policy meant to create the illusion of “helping,” while inadvertently prolonging the conflict and allowing more lives to be lost on both sides.

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