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Cape Breton Post: Promoting xenophobia

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

I must say that I a a big fan of the political cartoons that are featured in daily newspapers.They often can provoke thought and raise important questions with the viewer and within society as a whole.

 In a time where the Canadian body politic faces many obstacles to political engagement as a direct result of Harper's assault on democracy, (Government interference of independent agencies and commissions, watchdogs muzzled, prorogation's, muzzling of media and obsessive need to control information, cutting of democratic programs like the  court challenges program,,ending funding for 14 women's groups,the closing of 12 of 16 status of women offices, etc) satirical cartoons can act as a launchpad to the much needed debates that are part of a healthy democracy.

There are times when political cartoon cross the line from satire, into hate mongering, racism and xenophobia. The political cartoon in the July 26th issue of Cape Breton post did just that; it crossed the line. The cartoon in question has 2 bearded men wearing attire that is what many Muslims men wear in the middle east,Central Asia and northern Africa. The head dress that these 2 men have on could be cultural or religious. These men are sitting on a hill of skulls, one is drinking from a cup and the other is reading a newspaper titled "news world" with the Headline, "Oslo massacre". The one reading the paper says, "WOW...THEY'RE BLOWING THEMSELVES UP" while the other man says "perfect..."

The hill of skulls that these 2 men are sitting on is a clear attempt to link the 2 men with horrific crimes of mass murder. Their comments are an attempt to portray a demographic or cultural group that these 2 men represent as people who wish to see the disintegration of the western world.

According to many economics, Capitalism should work with free competition between peoples, corporations, countries,etc. However, the game is fixed, there is no equality of opportunity. Western government want the west, and those they choose, to continue winning. They do this by among other things, creating wars to destroy non-western infrastructure and production capacity.  A recent example of this was near continuous bombing of Iraq between the first Gulf war and second gulf war that destroyed much of Iraq's manufacturing capacity and much of their fruit production. Usually but not always trade deals that allow Western countries to dump surplus agricultural products on non-Western markets, thereby bankrupting non-Western producers,follow western bombing campaigns.

There are other ways in which Western countries unfairly win the competition with non-Westerners that is more structural and systemic and that is with ideas. The biggest  idea they use is the idea of race, specifically Western whiteness. Any scientist will tell you that there is no genetic marker for the white race, it does not exist. There is no physical truism about "whiteness". The idea of white, as a race, is a eurocentric social construct meant to give a specific group of people a competitive edge within our capitalist system. With the construction of whiteness, western Governments were then able to propagate xenophobia - fear of the other - to get their workers to fear the other, making them want to work harder and become chauvinistic so the others don't out-compete them and take over.

Not only is the cartoon in question an attempt demonise the other but it is also a diversion from the issue that should be at the heart of the cartoon, which is the Oslo bombing and massacre. The western media has a responsibility to promote,provoke and start an honest discussion about the oppressive ideology of right-wing Christianity and it's white supremacy, however seeing that it's in the best interests of western medias to promote the myth of "the white race" and to promote xenophobia, such an honest discussion will probably never happen. Mainstream media rarely sells us honest news, they sell us lies and myths so that their advertisers,who they sell our minds to, will have a competitive edge in the marketplace.

                                                                                                 aaron Doncaster

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669 words


I always fear political

I always fear political cartoons which sometimes cross the line from satire, into hate mongering, racism and xenophobia. They cause more damage than words to democracy. It is a very interesting discussion on one of the common problems present day democracy suffers. furniture los angeles


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