Our editorial line on Qatar (and any other subject)

Javad Takjoo(x1221)Cartoon by Javad Takjoo

It's been another turbulent week at Cartoon Movement, at least if we look at our social media channels. As you'd expect, we've published a lot of cartoons about the World Cup in Qatar in recent days; we've also received a ton of comments on these cartoons, most of them negative. The basic argument of all these comments is the same: we, as a Western organization, are hypocritical for calling out Qatar on human rights when our past and present is full of human rights violations.

Although we do not have an editorial policy that's written in stone, this might be a good time to share some of our thoughts about the cartoons we publish, and what we do with the feedback we receive. For us, there are two major take-aways this week:

1.Whataboutism isn't a valid argument

We already witnessed this issue earlier this year, with the many cartoons drawn about the invasion of Ukraine, and we are seeing the same argumentative trick employed again. Under any cartoon about Qatar, multiple comments will read something like this:
What about the killings in Palestine?
What about Europe's colonial past?
Etc.
Etc.

Most of the topics raised are valid, but the comments themselves aren't. Whataboutism is a cheap trick to divert attention away from the injustice the cartoon is dealing with. A cartoon can only deal with one subject at a time (mostly). It's only logical that we cartoonists are currently focused on Qatar and what's going on there. Over the past decade, Cartoon Movement has published cartoons on a wide array of issues, by a wide range of cartoonists from all over the world, including all of the ones raised in the social media comments. A simple site search or a look at are collections would prove this.

Not all arguments that point out hypocrisy are whataboutism. It can be very legitimate to point out a double standard, provided it doesn't try to condone the original injustice, or is only meant to draw attention away from said injustice.

2. Human rights are non-negotiable

Following the statement of the German team, we believe that human rights are not cultural or political, but fundamental. Some of the comments we've seen argue that guests should honor the rules set by Qatar (such the players not wearing the 'One Love' armband). We strongly disagree. Following this reasoning, no one could address the inhuman way Europe deals with migrants and refugees at any European event, or the many human rights abuses of the United States in decades of misguided foreign policy when the Olympics, World Cup or any other major event would take place there. It would severely limit the space of journalists, activists and cartoonists to raise awareness about subjects that need to be addressed, precisely when the world's focus is on the country in question.

Other comments argue that we should accept cultural differences. In our view, criminalizing same-sex relationships isn't a cultural difference. It's the oppression of part of the people living in Qatar. And if cartoons should do one thing, it is to fight against oppression.

 

Rainbow card for Qatar - Del Rosso_0Cartoon by Ema Del Rosso

Events like the World Cup put a country in the spotlight. Qatar has been put in a negative light. It might be true that past hosts of the World Cup should have been under more scrutiny as well, but that doesn't excuse Qatar or FIFA from their wrongdoings. And we'll continue to share cartoons that reflect that.

Tjeerd Royaards
Cartoon Movement editor


Editorial: portraying extreme right in cartoons

Nazis__marian_kamenskyCartoon by Marian Kamensky

The win of far right political party Sweden Democrats in Sweden (they won about 20% of the vote) prompted a lot of cartoons this week. Drawing cartoons about the extreme right always brings the challenge of which symbols to use. One symbol comes to mind immediately, and you probably guessed it: it's the swastika.

The swastika is problematic as a symbol for several reasons. First of all, it's the most obvious symbol you can use; Nazi-comparisons have long since lost their luster, and making use of the swastika is more often than not a sign of creative fatigue.

Second, social media (an outlet we cartoonists use a lot) doesn't like images of swastikas. Algorithms scour posts and remove them if they detect swastikas, and complaints by other users frequently result in removal of these cartoons as well.

Should we not use the swastika at all, then? I think, at times, the use of this symbol is still valid, but we should be very careful where, when and how to draw it.

For example, I love this cartoon by Dan Murphy, commenting on the Swedish election result. It's a funny spoof on an Ikea ad, but with serious reflection at the heart of the cartoon. It was banned from our Twitter feed in Germany, because of violating their hate-speech laws.

 

Swedish Assembly

 

On the other hand, I'm not sure about these cartoons by Zap and Morad Kotkot. They are both well-made visuals, but is the swastika used as a blunt knife here?

 

The Sweden Democrats...


The Sweden Democrats...

 

To be fair, I did my own cartoon with a swastika, in which I tried to be clever, but I'm not sure I was successful enough to justify its use. This one was removed from my Instagram feed for -again- violating hate speech laws.

 

220915 Right-wing victory Sweden

 

Perhaps the most elegant example of how to make a great cartoon about the far right without resorting to a blunt knife comes from Maarten Wolterink, who has instead opted for combining Swedish mythology with a well-know representation of migrants.

 

Online2025

 

I don't think any symbol should be out of bounds when it comes to satire, and social media companies should definitely be more discriminate when it comes to policing political satire. But I also think some symbols are at their most powerful when they are used the least.

Tjeerd Royaards
Cartoon Movement editor


Editorial: defending a controversial editorial choice

2943-220902 Ukraine (De Matos)_small

 

This cartoon by Portuguese cartoonist Rodrigo de Matos, which ran on our homepage last week, stirred up some controversy and even made one of our Ukrainian cartoonists decide to leave Cartoon Movement. Many people consider it to be offensive to Ukraine. Although I concede in retrospect the cartoon might not be our best editor's choice of the year, I do feel the need to explain why we chose it and why I feel it is a valid selection.

First of all, a bit of context: six months have passed since Russia invaded Ukraine and interest in the war in Ukraine is slowly receding. After hundreds, if not thousands of photos and cartoons about the violence and atrocities taking place, people are getting desensitized.

Our aim with the daily editor's choice is to make people think about what's happening in the world. Since the start of the invasion, we published many cartoons that protest the war, Putin's unprovoked bloodshed and the horrors of war as they are inflicted on the Ukrainian people. But as the war continues, these cartoons are less and less effective, as people get used to them. To continue to keep the war top-of-mind, we need to find new perspectives. With Rodrigo's cartoon, we thought we did.

Then onto the cartoon itself, the imagery that Rodrigo chose to use, and our interpretation of it. In the image we see a woman who is a symbol for Ukraine. She is battered and bruised, and pregnant as well. She is a victim of Russian aggression. The baby in her belly is 'hate' as we gather from the word written there. Two horns protruding make it clear that hate is evil. Since Russia forcefully invaded Ukraine, we could conclude the woman is a victim of rape.

The imagery is sharp. But sharp imagery is what cartoons often employ to jolt people into thinking about the subject at hand. In this case, Rodrigo wants us to consider the consequence of the war. Ukraine has been brutally raped, and the (logical) result is hate. The analogy of rape and a resulting child is effective, because the consequence (hate) will be long-lasting. Even after the war ends, it will probably take decades for Ukrainians and Russians to reestablish something approaching friendly relations.

This is a prospective we had not seen in a cartoon yet, and that's why we decided to make it an editor's choice. Yes, the imagery is uncomfortable, but that is sometimes needed to effectively address an issue.

I do understand that people get upset about the image, especially Ukrainians. It's not nice to see your country portrayed as a victim of rape. But in this case we felt the chosen symbols were legitimate given the point the cartoon is trying to make. We might have been wrong (although I continue to think it's a valid cartoon) and we'll probably make our share of controversial editor's choices in the future. When dealing with editorial cartoons, this is bound to happen from time to time.

Tjeerd Royaards
Cartoon Movement editor


Cartoons at war: some thoughts on 'conflict drawing'

By Emanuele Del Rosso

When large-scale catastrophes, like a natural disaster, the election of Trump, or a war like the Ukrainian one, happen, cartoonists are ready to fire their best drawings. But how hard is it to portray such a polarizing situation as a war? Very hard, let me tell you why.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine - it's been more than a month, time really flies like a hypersonic Russian rocket against a hospital - my social media and website stats have, well, boomed. It might be because I've been drawing more - driven by anger, and a little bit by fear - for a war that seems so near. Proximity is a thing, and I can't apologize for feeling this conflict more than I feel others.

 

Target - Del Rosso_1

I know, though, that the main reason why people are sharing, liking, and commenting on my cartoons - and the ones of my colleagues, for sure - is that everyone needs information. Trying to make sense of this mess, we resort to the most immediate, most shearable, and often most effective content that populates our social media: cartoons.

But in this baillamme of hearts and thumb-ups, I started asking myself some questions about the position a cartoonist should take towards a conflict. Nothing is black and white, and even if something can be right or wrong, it is worth exploring all the aspects of it, to find a space for reflection.

Here are some of my doubts and thoughts.

Neutrality? Oh c'mon!

Let's start by saying neutrality is not a thing. It was never a thing.
Neutral cartoons simply don't exist, because the meaning of a cartoon lives in the proverbial "eye of the beholder," the mind - and taste - of the public. We put out a cartoon with an idea in mind, sure of its meaning, and then people take it and do what they want with it.

A perfectly neutral cartoon should be a blank slate. But not even, because I can see the clever reader seeing in the white of the canvas a deep longing for peace, and the irony of the cartoonist that, lost for words, uses "white noise" to signify conflict and its opposite, peace, and destruction. Or one can simply scroll down, for some more interesting content.

Sorry for who of you asks for objectivity and neutrality. I'd tell you to go to Switzerland - famously neutral - but even they choose a side in this war.

Emergency prompts oversimplification

In the first days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a flurry of emotional cartoons and blazing political commentary stormed the web.

 

Making Europe - Del Rosso

And this happens whenever a tragedy unfolds. A kind of knee-jerk response, totally motivated, and yet also completely uncontrolled. I've been hit by this war unlike any other war before - I already said proximity is, unfortunately, an important factor in how much we care about a specific emergency - and I've drawn my fair deal of "knee-jerky" cartoons.

But the problem with an emotional response to an emergency is that there is no space for a correct analysis. Editorial cartoons are there to help people explore a topic, understand its different angles, and reason about it. We want to take an issue into our hands and turn it around, put it under bright light, peek into each and every crack and crevice.

I am not saying Putin's war is right, or that we should be skeptical of the suffering of the Ukrainian people, of course! They need all of our support. But, in this emergency as in every other emergency, we need to keep an eye on the bigger picture, and editorial cartoons are there to remind us we need to stay sharp.

At war with war

How many cartoons with white doves can you see, before feeling the urge of shooting a Russian hypersonic missile at the next one?

I love doves, really. But, fellow cartoonists, I have a question for you: Do we really add anything to the conversation when we draw a dove, ten doves, a thousand doves, with different flags in their beaks, according to where the latest emergency takes place? There are peace doves flying everywhere, so many doves flying over your head that I hope you brought an umbrella with you!

What I mean is that it is ok to be, let's call it this way, "at war with war," but after the aforementioned knee-jerk response we have all the right to have, it is time to draw something else. Let's leave the doves alone.

It is a great time to be a cartoonist

It is a great time to be a cartoonist! No, I'm joking, it's not. It might seem that extraordinary times make for good cartoons, but in fact, they don't.

 

Outside the frame - Del Rosso

For one, polarization in the public discourse, and a lack of perspective - too many emotions involved - make a discussion almost impossible. I drew a cartoon trying to reflect on all the other - many - wars that are unfolding in the world while the Ukrainian conflict is given all the ink and paper we have, and soon I had to stop reading the comments and the messages I kept receiving, because many were unsettling.

On top of that, many cartoons are stolen, and published in media outlets that use them to better sell their narrative on a specific issue. Twisting the meaning of an editorial cartoon is not impossible, and a cartoonist can take the blame for it. When we are dealing with delicate topics, this can be quite stressful.

We live in extraordinary times

In the end, so much for "extraordinary times." We have been living in a constant state of emergency for the last, I don't know, 20 and more years. This hasn't fostered a healthy public debate, but quite the opposite: it has given real power to populist pseudo-politicians, and pushed media outlets to seek more "neutral" cartoons, to avoid polemics. "Have you got any doves cartoons? Keep 'em coming!!"

All the while, cartoonists sit there, at their tiny desks, and try to come up with something clever but thoughtful, touching but sharp, simple but complex.

And in the distance, a high-pitched whistle pierces the air, first feeble, and then louder and louder towards them, now almost unbearable, all-encompassing, definitely hypersonic.


Editorial: drawing a war

220228 Russia-UkraineCartoon by Tjeerd Royaards

The bigger the news, the bigger the response in public opinion tends to be; and few things gets a stronger response than the outbreak of a war. Although the overwhelming majority of people have denounced Russia's invasion of Ukraine, questioning the mental stability of Vladimir Putin and celebrating the unexpectedly tenacious defence of the Ukrainians in defense of their country, there have been other opinions as well.

These alternative opinions have come to us in the form of cartoons and in the form of comments on cartoons we've published (mainly on our social media channels). Some are valid and some are not. I'd like to share a few of them.

When there is war, there will be refugees. This isn't unexpected. What is unexpected, given Europe's track record when it comes to refugees, is that Ukrainians have been welcomed with open arms. While no one denies the dire need of Ukrainians fleeing from violence, this has lead to the question why people from for example Syria have not been treated with the same kindness. Could it have something to do with the fact that people from Ukraine look a lot like other Europeans?

 

CM90Cartoon by Zach

 

العنصرية ضد اللاجئين_0Cartoon by Ahmad Rahma

 

Another valid point that has been raised has been the amount of attention this war has received, especially in relation to the meager coverage of some other bloody conflicts, like the one in Yemen or in Tigray in Ethiopia. There have also been numerous cartoonists who have asked the question why the Molotov cocktail has become a symbol of liberty in the hands of a Ukrainian, while it is seen as a symbol of terrorism in the hands of a Palestinian?

 

03.03.2022 catoons copyCartoon by Mikail Çiftçi

09DC7461-220E-4B70-BC7A-521520C32E1DCartoon by Rafat Alkhatib

 

Whether you disagree with these points raised by cartoonists, or have good arguments to counter them, isn't really the point. The purpose of cartoons is not only to make you think, but also to make you think about aspects of the news you might not have considered before. In that sense, asking questions about Europe's newfound generosity when it comes to (blond-haired) refugees and the media frenzy surrounding the war are perfectly legitimate subjects for cartoons.

The third, and less valid, perspective on the Ukraine war has been mainly located in the comments we have got on the cartoons we published. The argument, in short, goes something like this: because we have not devoted enough attention to the violence of the US or other Western countries over the years, we are hypocrites and should not be allowed to say anything about Putin and his war.

 

FB screenshot

                                                      Screenshot from our Facebook page

 

I'll be the first to admit that Cartoon Movement probably has a Western bias. As a European-based, English-language platform it's hard not to. And though we are host to cartoonists from every corner of the globe and their multiple perspectives, our editorial line is largely determined by international news outlets and media such as the BCC, The Guardian, The Washington Post, Reuters, DW and CNN (to name a few). And in all honesty, we've probably under-reported on the Yemen war, the bloody conflict in Tigray and numerous other news events that were worthy of cartoons, but that we missed because of our Western outlook.

But it's also true that we have published many cartoons that do cover these topics, that question Western moral superiority, the violence of US foreign policy over the decades, the human rights offenses committed by the state of Israel and many, many other subjects.

But even if we had not published one single cartoon on any of these topics, the argument made by the commenters would still be invalid. Because to say that you cannot denounce one atrocity because haven't (sufficiently) denounced other atrocities is a false argument, only meant to silence a particular voice. And one thing cartoonists should not do, is remain silent in the face of war. We encourage you to call us out when we are under-reporting (or should I say 'under-cartooning') a certain issue, but we will never listen to demands to keep silent about Putin, because you feel we haven't sufficiently bashed Biden and his predecessors.

Tjeerd Royaards
Cartoon Movement editor


Editorial: cartoon controversy, banned books and banned satire

Political satire and Israel remains a complex issue for cartoonists and for editors alike. Following Human rights Watch, Amnesty International has labeled Israel's treatment of Palestinians apartheid. Obviously, this has been a topic our cartoonists have drawn about, and we put some of these cartoons together in a collection.

To promote the collection on our social media, we chose this cartoon by Emad Hajjaj, knowing it would probably lead to some sharp reactions:

F3533F01-DCD1-4ABF-BB53-D7EC0DE762EE

And we weren't wrong. We have received numerous comments accusing the cartoon and us of antisemitism. We also received an official notification from Twitter that someone had lodged a complaint. However, after review, Twitter found no legitimate reason to remove the tweet.

Som was this cartoon too sharp? As an editor, I like the cartoons that step close to the line without crossing it. This cartoon clearly makes the link to the apartheid regime in South Africa. It has no mention or reference to the Holocaust (we try to avoid those), but it does target Jews as a people instead of the state of Israel. However, that's needed in this cartoon for the analogy to work. Our decision to run this cartoon was based on the severeness of the issue; it deserves razor-sharp satire. But we also know some people will disagree.

We find other cartoon-related news involving the Jewish people on the other side of the pond, where a school board in Tennessee banned the revered graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman because it contained too much nudity and violence. Michael Cavna of the Washington Post has collected some great responses by US cartoonists, which you can see here.

This week also saw the 1-year anniversary of the military coup in Myanmar. The people of Myanmar continue to fight for democracy and cartoonist continue to draw protest cartoons as well. One cartoonist is drawing anonymously on our platform under the name Robin Hood. Check out his work here.

Robinhood5

Tjeerd Royaards
Cartoon Movement editor


Editorial: a new House of Cartoons in France

Power of Press BAstonCartoon by Miguel Morales Madrigal

Last week, French president Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of a European House of Press and Satirical Cartoons in France. Good news for editorial cartooning, of course. I am of the opinion that every country should have a center for political cartooning, or a center for journalism and press freedom, with a section dedicated to political cartoons.

But controversy has arisen as to the location of the new House of Cartoons. Not surprisingly in a country as centralized as France, Macron has designated the new center will be located in Paris. France-Cartoons, the association of French cartoonists, has protested against this decision. They would like to see the new center located to Saint- Just-Le-Martel, a small village in the French countryside which is famous among cartoonists.

Saint- Just-Le-Martel already has an international cartoon center. They organize a yearly festival, which is hugely popular among cartoonists. All of the village is involved in this festival, which brings together cartoonists from all over the world. France Cartoons has called upon cartoonists to sign a protest letter to the French government. You can read more about this on the blog of US cartoonist Daryl Cagle, who is also disappointed by Macron's decision.

To be honest I'm not sure how I feel about this issue. In the spirit of full disclosure: I've never been to the annual salon in Saint- Just-Le-Martel. I've intended to go many times, but life has got in the way. Maybe if I had seen the festival in action, met the villagers and felt the atmosphere, I would also call for a reversal of Macron's decision.

But looking at it analytically from an international perspective, the benefits of locating the new center in Paris seem to outweigh the infrastructure and goodwill of people already present in Saint- Just-Le-Martel. As I see it, one of main problems facing political cartooning today is a lack of prestige. What I mean by that is that political cartoons are no longer taken as serious (which sounds like a paradox) as they once were. Sure, dictators and extremists still take them quite seriously, and still go to great lengths to silence cartoonists. But, with the exception of a short-lived 'je suis Charlie' in 2015, the general audience doesn't seem to care that much about political satire anymore.

I do not believe this is because political cartoons are becoming obsolete, or have any less (potential) impact than they had a century ago. Rather, I think this has to do with other factors, a lot of which I (and others) have written about before: the precarious economic outlooks for cartoonists as media continue to pay less and less, the tendency of newspaper editors to choose timid cartoons over sharp ones and fact that cartoonists fall between being an artist and a journalist, but are not quite either.

An international House of Cartoons is a great way to bring back some of the shine that cartooning has lost. Exhibitions, lectures and debates to put political satire on the agenda of journalists, policy-makers and the general public. And to me, at least, Paris seems a logical choice for a truly prestigious House of Cartoons.

Tjeerd Royaards
Cartoon Movement editor


Editorial: legitimate firing of cartoonists?

The divide in society between those who choose to get vaccinated and those who decline to get jabbed can be found among cartoonists as well (check our editorial from August). This month, two cartoonists in the vaccine skeptic group were fired from their publications. In one instance, I think the firing was legitimate; in the other case, I'm not so sure.

Let's start with what I think is a legitimate dismissal: UK cartoonist Bob Moran has been fired from his position at The Telegraph. Moran has been a notable critic of the UK's strategy to deal with the pandemic, the Covid vaccine and generally accepted science about corona in general. In response to our position on anti-vax cartoons, he tweeted that Cartoon Movement had positioned itself on the wrong side of history. Here an example of his work:

 

Moran was not fired because of the cartoons he drew, but because he used Twitter to attack an NHS doctor over Covid-19 policy, stating: 'She deserves to be verbally abused in public for the rest of her worthless existence. They all do.' He later issued an apology, but his actions deeply concerned not only the Telegraph, but many other media outlets and professionals as well. He was suspended and later let go by the Telegraph.

Moran's firing was a legitimate response, I think, because cartoonists have a responsibility not only for what they draw, but also how they conduct themselves in the public debate. As a cartoonist, especially one publishing in a major newspaper, you have a privileged position to make yourself heard. With this privilege comes responsibility, also outside of the cartoons you do for that particular publication. How much responsibility is up for debate, as we shall see when discussing the next case. But using your privileged position as a media professional to threaten other people clearly crosses a line, and must have consequences.

The second cartoonist fired this month hails from Australia. Michael Leunig was fired from his position at The Age for a cartoon he made that was published on his social media accounts. In the cartoon, he compares resistance to vaccine mandates in Victoria to the bloody Tiananmen Square massacre. After the cartoon appeared in social media, he received a call from his editor, informing him that his services were no longer required, because he was out of touch with the readership of The Age. According to Leunig, the editor told him: 'this type of cartoon is not in line with public sentiment, and The Age’s readership.' He responded: 'But my job is to challenge the status quo, and that has always been the job of the cartoonist.'

 

Screen-Shot-2021-09-27-at-3.09.12-pm

 

To be clear, I don't agree with Leunig's cartoon. But he has a point when he says his job is to challenge people. Furthermore, although I find the comparison with China's oppressive regime tasteless, the cartoon is not hateful or intimidating in any way. Additionally, it wasn't even published in The Age. Perhaps the editors of The Age were looking for an excuse to get rid of Leunig (who had been working there for five decades), but doing so because he made a cartoon that your readers disagreed with seems like a poor one indeed.

Cartoonists have a responsibility, and as such can and should face consequences when they cross a line in the pulbic debate. On the other hand (and I've said this before), the default response seems to be to fire the cartoonists when he or she makes a mistake (or does anything that's not in line with the editor's wishes). In some cases, such as with Bob Moran, this response is legitimate, but in many others it's not, at least in my opinion.

Tjeerd Royaards
Cartoon Movement editor


Editorial: keepin' busy

It's been a while since the last editorial as I've been swamped in projects this month. September is usually a busy time for Cartoon Movement, but this year we're even busier than usual. So I want to use this editorial to share some of the things we have been working on.

Our educational branch The Next Movement is going strong with projects in Lithuania, Cuba and Hungary, and a very exciting upcoming project in South Africa. We've been asked to help create a giant mural in downtown Johannesburg. The mural will be a political cartoon about the future of South Africa.

As with most of our educational projects, we're asking young people to come up with ideas and sketch these. Our cartoonists will pick the best ideas from South Africa's young generation and turn these into political cartoons. The next step is a first for us: to pick one of these cartoons and turn it into a mural.

 

E72h5UEXMCUyA8M

 

Street artist Ras Silas Motse will create the amazing wall art, based on the cartoon we select. You can see an example of his work pictured above.

CM and TNM will be present in Johannesburg in the first week of November to help with the mural and to document the process. On November 10, the mural will be unveiled by none other than South Africa's best known cartoonist, Zapiro!

In the meantime, we've also been moving ahead with our comics journalism projects. We recently finished a 15-page comic on farming and new technology in Kenya, commissioned by the LSE Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa and drawn by renowned Kenyan comic artist Maddo. We share two pages below; the full comic will be published soon.

1

2
We're also working on new comics about agrocolonialism in the Democratic Republic of Congo and exploitation by Uber(-like companies) in Nairobi, Kenya.

 

SketchWork in progress: sketch from 'Fighting agrocolonialism in the Congo', commissioned by the University of Sussex and drawn by Didier Kassai.

And that's just a part of what we're doing. We are planning the next phase of the Evergreen satire project. We'll have more news to share soon, but you can check out a video of the launch event here. And we're launching the second season of Cartoonist 2 Cartoonist, so tune in on Tuesday October 12 at 6.30pm CEST. And, as always with C2C, if you'd like a chance to get feedback on your cartoons, send them to us at cartoons@cartoonmovement.com

Tjeerd Royaards
Cartoon Movement editor


Editorial: 20th anniversary of 9/11

For this week's editorial, there was really no other choice than to take a look at how cartoonists visualize the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. As is often the case, we can identify a couple of categories of cartoons.

The first category is the tribute or memorial cartoon: cartoons that commemorate the tragedy of the attack, the loss of life and the emotional impact on New York City, America and the world.

 

A_sombra.1Cartoon by Vasco Gargalo

 

Wtctowersforgetnever1_pete_kreiner300 Cartoon by Pete Kreiner

 

Andrea Arroyo_September 11_20 yearsCartoon by Arroyo

 

Another perspective shows the consequences of the attacks, especially for the Middle East. Some cartoonists us the iconic image of the smoking twin towers to have something emerge from the smoke (like today's cartoon on our homepage).

 

210906 911 20th anniversaryCartoon by Tjeerd Royaards

 

September_11_and_slamic_geography__mikail__ciftciCartoon by Mikail Çiftçi

 

Other cartoonists play with the shadow cast by the twin towers, turning this into guns, or jet fighters.

 

NYC2001Cartoon by Ant

 

IMG_0627_0Cartoon by Morad Kotkot

 

It’s interesting to see the difference here between international cartoonists and US cartoonists. Right after the attacks, it was almost impossible for US cartoonists to draw critically about 9/11 and the US response (there’s a chapter devoted to this in Red Lines, a book on censorship we recently reviewed). But even 20 years later, although a collection on The Cagle Post includes a lot of cartoons that question if America’s intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan was successful, there are very few US cartoons that lament the loss of lives (of non-US citizens) due to these military operations. Meanwhile, this cartoon by Dan Murphy draws a rather grim picture.

 

Nine Eleven Math Question

 

Another popular category of cartoons connect the 9/11 attack and the recent withdrawal from Afghanistan.

 

Twenty years from the Twin Towers - Del Rosso Cartoon by Emanuele Del Rosso

 

6C4CC730-A687-4AE8-8988-91684C4F490CCartoon by Dino


Several cartoonists have drawn the gruesome parallel of people jumping from the twin towers to escape the fires with people falling of the US military plane they had clung onto in a desperate attempt to escape Afghanistan.

Sketch1630966334702Cartoon by MATE

 

11sep Cartoon by Mahmoud Rifai

 

CC28C346-5956-4353-8787-BE1E20C629A5Cartoon by Emad Hajjaj

 

Visit our newsroom for even more 9/11 cartoons.