The cartoons of Malcolm Evans
When artistic flair combines with acute insight, only one more quality is needed to make a great cartoonist — courage. I say that courage is needed because, in today’s Orwellian world, any dissent from official narratives and policies is punished. For years, as a journalist at the Manawatu Standard, I admired the work of Malcolm Evans, which appeared on an almost daily basis on the paper’s op-ed page. But knowing that the Standard was little more than a mouthpiece of corporate power, and remembering that it had rejected some of my “subversive” writings, I often found myself muttering, “How on earth does he get away with it?” Alas, Evans didn’t get away with it for much longer. In September 2014 — shortly after these cartoons were published, and without any explanation to the readership — he was replaced by some disappointingly mediocre talents. His services were dispensed with, Evans told me later, as an “economy measure”. He indicated that he didn’t believe this explanation. I don’t either.
More recently — on August 7, 2015 — Evans sent me the following email:
“For any good that it might do, I’m more than happy for you to use my stuff; and I empathise with the frustration you have obviously experienced as a journalist trying to push for more balance in the media. But since the bean-counters took over, good reporting and objective reporters have been sidelined.
“For what it’s worth, I have a simple way of determining my approach to a subject — I juxtapose the participants, and immediately the rights and wrongs of a situation are thrown into stark relief. So instead of the US indiscrimately bombing a people — take your pick from the list — it becomes those people doing that to the US; instead of Palestinians being subjected to colonial genocide at the hands of the Israelis, it’s the other way round.
“We are all subject to propaganda, and none more so than those of us exposed to the great American propaganda apparatus which permeates every aspect of our lives; and, as our newspapers publish more and more of the handouts it produces, I think we’re losing the battle.”
The charge that the Palestinians deliberately, and uniquely, place military installations in civilian areas is convincing only to those who wilfully ignore two facts: (1) the Gaza Strip is one of the most — if not the most — densely populated areas in the world, with no large open spaces; and (2) the Israelis also place military installations in civilian areas. As Israeli journalist Amira Hass noted in Ha’aretz on August 20, 2006:
“We didn’t mean to” is a mantra that is frequently recited in Israel when there is a discussion of the number of civilians — among them many children — who are killed by the Israel Defense Forces. To this, the claim that “they” (Hezbollah and the Palestinians) cynically exploit civilians by locating themselves among them and firing from their midst is automatically added. This claim is made by citizens of a state who know very well where to turn off Ibn Gvirol Street in Tel Aviv to get to the security-military complex that is located in the heart of their civilian city; this claim is repeated by the parents of armed soldiers who bring their weapons home on weekends, and is recited by soldiers whose bases are adjacent to Jewish settlements in the West Bank and who have shelled civilian Palestinian neighborhoods from positions and tanks that have been stationed inside civilian settlements.”
For more cartoons from Malcolm Evans, click here.