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September 2012
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November 2012

To Agree on Freedom

For the third year in a row, Cartoon Movement is partnering with the National 4 and 5 May Committee in the Netherlands, making cartoons about a specific theme connected to freedom. This year's theme is To Agree on Freedom.

Freedom is shaped by agreements, formed (both in a practical and judicial sense) through documents, rules, regulations and treaties. This is something of a paradox, because these rules and agreements not only grant freedom, they also determine the boundaries of this freedom.



Agreements made at the end of the Second World War have made a sustained peace possible throughout most of Europe. But the peace agreements made in 1945 did not mean freedom for everybody; it created a divided Europe that would become of the main characteristics of the Cold War. And it was also an agreement that contributed to the outbreak of the Second World War; the Treaty of Versailles, with its crippling effect on Germany, planted the seed for new conflict.

The rules that shape our freedom are not the exclusive domain of politics. Freedom is given form on a daily basis  by people living together. Freedom isn't just about war and peace; freedom protects us from oppression, and allows us the space to develop ourselves.

Liberation Day is a moment to reflect on freedom, and the agreements that make freedom possible (or impossible). To remember these agreements, it is important that we continue to reflect on the  nature of freedom, democracy, citizenship and law. An ongoing debate about the rules that make our freedom possible, and restrict it at the same time. In short: freedom needs maintenance.

As every year, we're looking for cartoons with an international perspective on this theme. Because we should all be involved in the conversation about freedom.

The project newsroom launches on Monday November 5, and will only be open to registered users. If you would like to see the cartoons that will be submitted for this project, you can join Cartoon Movement here (it's free!).

New Shirt Design: War Secrets

War Secrets

War remains a reality for too many. To respond to today’s conflicts, we not only need new instruments and tools―we need a new vision of peace.

We have added a new design to our t-shirt webshop. This cartoon about war is by Cuban artist Ares; it was made for the special project Reinventing Peace. By ordering this shirt, or any other items, you're helping us to build a sustainable future for editorial cartooning:

EU shop
UK shop
US shop

Don't like the shirts we picked? You can design a product yourself with this cartoon. And if you'd like to have a specific cartoon (over 700 available) to put on a shirt, bag or hoodie, drop us a line by email, and we'll be happy to help.

Project Launch: Humanitarian Standards

Today we are launching our partnership with the Sphere Project, creating cartoons to promote a series of humanitarian principles and minimum standards in key areas of humanitarian aid. Contributions can be found in our project newsroom. Help us decide the best cartoons by voting for your favorite(s).

The cartoons will focus on the Humanitarian Charter:

The Humanitarian Charter provides the legal and ethical backdrop to the principles and standards contained in the Sphere Handbook: Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response.

As a statement of legal rights and obligations, it summarises the core legal principles that have most bearing on the welfare of those affected by disaster or conflict.  As a statement of shared belief, it attempts to capture a consensus among humanitarian agencies as to the principles which should govern the response to disaster or conflict.
The cartoons should focus on any of the following Humanitarian Charter’s key messages (the first message may of course be split into its components for the purpose of developing cartoons):

People affected by disaster or conflict have the following rights:
the right to life with dignity.
the right to receive humanitarian assistance.
the right to protection and security.

These rights derive from the humanitarian imperative – which establishes that action should be taken to prevent or alleviate human suffering arising from disaster or conflict – and from provisions of international humanitarian law, human rights and refugee law.

Dignity entails more than physical well-being; it demands respect for the whole person, including the values and beliefs of individuals and affected communities.

The right to receive humanitarian assistance encompasses the right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, water, sanitation, clothing, shelter and healthcare.  Any such assistance must be provided according to the principle of impartiality, which requires that it be provided solely on the basis of need and in proportion to need.

It is first and foremost the responsibility of the state to protect all those within its jurisdiction, including refugees and internally displaced persons. When the state is unable or unwilling to do so, humanitarian agencies may fill the gap.

Some people may be particularly vulnerable – due to their status such as age, gender, disability, race, etcetera – and may require special measures of protection and assistance.

People affected by disaster or conflict must be at the centre of humanitarian relief.

It is firstly through their own efforts, and through the support of community and local organizations, that the basic needs of people affected by disaster or conflict are met.  The active participation of the affected population is essential to providing assistance in ways that best meet their needs. Humanitarian agencies should support local efforts and reinforce the capacities of local actors.

Humanitarian agencies should aim to minimise any negative effects of their action.

Humanitarian assistance may sometimes have unintended adverse effects on the local community or on the environment.  Working with affected communities and authorities, humanitarian agencies aim to recognise and minimise any such negative effects. In situations of conflict they strive not to make people vulnerable to attack or to fuel the conflict.

The fundamental accountability of humanitarian agencies is to those they seek to assist.

Humanitarian agencies advocate that states and other parties meet their moral and legal obligations towards affected populations.  They also undertake to make their work more effective, appropriate and accountable through transparency of information and decision-making and through coordination and collaboration with other relevant actors. 

The Humanitarian Charter is available online in Arabic , English , French and Spanish.

New Project: Blame the Recession

Why Poverty? is a cross-media event taking place in the week of 25 November – 2 December, reaching more than 500 million people around the world via television, radio, Internet and live events. Cartoon Movement is partnering with news service to join the global debate with cartoons. is a new online tool for journalists that will officially launch during Why Poverty? week. The aim of is to inspire journalists to write stories that otherwise would not get written about the developing world.

'In times of crisis, who can afford a smile?' by Sherif Arafa

We've chosen to focus on the ongoing global economic crisis, looking for sharp and humorous comments on the crisis, how it plays out in different countries, and in the world at large. Contributions can be seen in the project newsroom, which will be open until November 19. The best cartoons will be published on the news service that is feeding into the web activities of the Why Poverty? week, broadcasted in 50 countries. You can help us choose the best cartoons by voting for your favorite(s).


New Shirt Design: Different Priorities


People are always in search of a scarce commodity. In the northern hemisphere this is often oil, in the southern hemisphere this is often fresh water.

We have added a new design to our t-shirt webshop. This cartoon about natural resources is by Peruvian artist Julio Carrión Cueva. By ordering this shirt, or any other items, you're helping us to build a sustainable future for editorial cartooning:

EU shop
UK shop
US shop

Don't like the shirts we picked? You can design a product yourself with this cartoon. And if you'd like to have a specific cartoon (over 700 available) to put on a shirt, bag or hoodie, drop us a line by email, and we'll be happy to help.

Draw Attention to Impunity


Here's a cartoon competition we can wholeheartedly support (with thanks to Cartoonists Rights Network International for bringing it to our attention):

Attention all cartoonists!  Help us draw the world's attention by creating an editorial cartoon about impunity. IFEX, an international network of free expression groups, is launching an editorial cartoon contest.  Titled the Draw Attention to Impunity: Editorial Cartoon Contest, this cartoon contest will be part of the second annual International Day to End Impunity on November 23, 2012.  The deadline for entries is November 4, 2012.  Some of the entries will be featured on the International Day to End Impunity website, and the top three winners will receive cash prizes.

Read more about the competition on the CRNI website.

Promoting Humanitarian Standards with Cartoons

The Sphere Project is an initiative that brings together many of the world’s largest and oldest humanitarian agencies with the aim to  improve the quality and accountability of humanitarian assistance to people affected by disasters or conflicts.

To this end, the Sphere Project establishes and promotes a series of humanitarian principles and minimum standards in key areas of humanitarian aid (such as water, health, shelter and food). These principles and standards are made available through the Sphere Handbook: Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response.

The Sphere Handbook is one of the most widely known and internationally recognized sets of common principles and universal minimum standards for the delivery of quality humanitarian response. -


Cartoon Movement and the Sphere Project are teaming up to spread even further the awareness of the Humanitarian Charter and the Handbook amongst humanitarian actors, using cartoons.

On Monday, 29 October we're launching a newsroom asking our cartoonists to submit work on the importance of standards of quality and accountability in humanitarian assistance.

The cartoons will focus on the values and principles defined by the Humanitarian Charter , which provides the ethical and legal backdrop to the standards in the Handbook. They will also show the situation when these principles and values are not applied.

Third partner in the project is the Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action (CERAH) in Geneva, which will help us decide the final selection of cartoons that will be used in the campaign.

Fall 2012 Comics Journalism

This Fall, Cartoon Movement is publishing journalism that showcases comics' ability to document events and inform on complicated issues in unique ways. Our pieces will take readers inside a prison, to the streets of Porto Alegre, and into the complicated world of NGOs in Haiti.

Later this month, writer Angela Watercutter and artist Wendy MacNaughton will take us inside a famed penitentiary in "New Folsom Prison Blues,"  for a look at their struggling arts program providing a reprieve for those who live behind its walls. "This is a haven," an inmate says. "People are eager to leave some stuff behind."


The long-delayed second chapter to our Haiti project will also be published in the next month. Haiti is famously run by NGOs, and in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake the country has grown even more reliant on them. In "Understanding NGOs in Haiti" journalist Robenson Geffrard and artist Chevelin Pierre will examine how the history of Haiti has shaped its current state – and why so much money given to the country never makes it into the hands of the Haitian people.

Finally, Augusto Paim is back with another piece from Brazil. In his first comic for Cartoon Movement, he explored the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Now, working with artist Bruno Ortiz, he looks at a day in the life of a single homeless man in Porto Alegre, Jorge, who they accompanied to document his daily routine in a city where thousands like him sleep on the streets every night.


When No One Obeys, No One Commands

Interview with Nadia Khiari, the creator of Willis From Tunis

We're honored to add Tunisian artist Nadia Khiari, the creator of the comic Willis from Tunis, to our network. Willis is a cat, born in the Tunisian revolution that lead to the fall of Ben Ali, created by Nadia to use the newly won freedom of expression to comment on the revolution and the aftermath.  The character quickly became widely popular, in Tunisia an beyond, with currently close to 20,000 fans on Facebook. In 2012, she received the Daumier Prize for her creation. We talk to her about cartoons, social media, and the future of Tunisia.


Willis                                                           When no one obeys, no one commands.

Were you surprised by the success of Willis in Tunis? Why do you think it has had such an impact?
I was totally surprised by the success of this cat. Indeed, at the outset, it was intended to make my family smile in these difficult moments. I think the success of the character is the fact that we all live the same thing, the immediacy of social networking promotes the dissemination of drawings.
The revolution in Tunisia has given the people freedom of expression. Were there any political cartoonists in Tunisia before the revolution?
There were cartoonists in Tunisia but they were censored and could not criticize the government. They commented on the news and therefore essentially on sports.


The Indignant (Signs: Education/Work/Freedom/Dignity)
What, in your view, is the power of political cartoons?

Newspaper cartoons and political satire are vital to the health of a democracy. Able to speak freely and mock everything is important. Drawing is a way to make the public smile but also step back, have perspective and reflection.
Your main form of publication of online through social media (although you have also published two books). Do you think the future of political cartoons is online, instead of in newspapers?
I hope that cartoons in print will still be important. But it is obvious that publishing on social networks allows everyone access to my work: unlimited boundaries, sex or social class. It's free and therefore accessible.

I read in an interview that you choose not to syndicate Willis from Tunis. Do you feel syndication would present you with editorial constraints?

I do not want my character to be labeled or become the mascot of a political party, movement whatsoever. The character is independent, free and allows you to make fun of everyone and everybody, including himself.


WomenMinistry of women the complimentary of man.

How do you see the future of Tunisia?

I remain optimistic. The freedom that we won at the cost of human lives is precious and we must preserve it. I know that the struggle to preserve is at every moment and is far from over.
What role can political cartoons and cartoonists play in shaping this future?
All cartoonists like me who were born during this revolution are happy to finally be able to exercise their passion. The more we'll create, the more we ‘ll fight taboos, and the less these taboos will remain in obscurity.

If you want to learn more about Nadia and her work, we recommend this excellent video interview, made by the Guardian.