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Friday, March 17, 2006

I Feel So Used!!! :)

A reporter from the New York Post called me the other day.  Apparently some of my cartoons were entered in a contest sponsored by Iran about the “Line of freedom of expression” in America and “why should the Palestinian people pay for the Holocaust”.  I did send some cartoons to the IranCartoon website but just as an exchange between other cartoonists.  I can’t claim that my “entries” were falsely submitted since it is mostly my fault and the fault of miscommunication.  I’m not in the same league with the Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig who had a cartoon of his submitted by a third party (*see links below).  The reporter seemed determined to lead my answers around to making it appear that I somehow support the Iranian regime or agree with the anti-Holocaust statements coming from Iran.  Give me a break.  This reporter couldn’t grasp the idea that not all of the cartoons on IranCartoon have something to do with politics.  There are galleries of the works of many excellent Iranian cartoonists.  Some are humorous, some are aimed at children and others are more like illustration.  He also kept pressing about the contest and how could I not know of it.  Knowing about a contest and actually entering the contest was a difficult separation for him to make.  I wasn’t even aware that I was listed as a participant until he informed me.  The end result of my “conversation” with this reporter was a nice headache for the rest of the day.

I, of course, immediately emailed IranCartoon and requested that my cartoons be removed from any contests that may be making light of the Holocaust.  The response I received in fractured English was this:

“Dear David Baldinger
We are believe the Holocaust tragic history
and we are agree with you,we are not accept any work about ridicule this event
as you know ,we puted your work for understanding more for the cartoonists in the foriegn countries
The holocaust had been Tragic history! But the bigger holocaust is happening in Palestine and we can protect their victims.and the second question is Why suppressed and suffered people of Palestine living hundreds kilometer away from Poland and Germany should pay the price for holocaust?
peace and love
best wishes
massoud shojai”

Should I accept the response on face value?  I think the Iranians may have a slight point about who determines what subjects are off limits.  I don’t think a “retaliatory” cartoon contest solves anything, however.  Whether or not my cartoons are withdrawn, I have no further control of.  

I am a supporter of Palestinian statehood and the end of the violence between Israel and the Palestinian people.  I will not apologize for that.  Terrorism is an unacceptable method for obtaining that goal.  I also take exception that anyone who disagrees with Israel or Israeli actions is an “anti-Semite”.  No one should be immune from criticism because of historical events.    

I really don’t give a damn about what the NY Post may or may not write.  I am concerned that my Jewish friends and possible relatives might get the wrong idea about my motives for sending cartoons to Iran.   My motivation was simply to make connections with other artists of the world.  I have done the same with cartoonists from Cuba, Poland, Jordan and Russia.

* http://www.leunig.com.au/
  Leunig's work no joke, say Jews
  Australian in Iran cartoon 'hoax'

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