Falling Overboard With Crude Cartoons

Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,Opinion |
 

By Malinda Seneviratne -

Malinda

Malinda Seneviratne

The most recent attack on Sri Lankans visiting Tamil Nadu were roundly condemned by all, except of course the Indian Government which issued a watered-down comment along with the soft dismissal, “‘Law and Order’ is not a Central Government subject”.   The response from this end has been naturally dismay (at the soft end) and outrage (at the hard end).

A newspaper (not a Rivira publication) carried a cartoon which spoke to Delhi’s prerogatives, insinuating that the ruling party, led by Dr. Manmohan Singh was compromising bilateral relations by pandering to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa’s whims and fancies, i.e. her vote-concerned rabble-rousing.  That is only half the truth because it takes two to tango and Jayalalithaa needs Singh just as much as Singh needs her, so when it suits the Congress Party, as it did during the last General Election, the regional ally can be gagged.  In this instance, Delhi’s shy-making indicates that Jayalalithaa is not acting alone, but with the tacit consent of Delhi.

The cartoon was graphic and, according to many, utterly distasteful.  The newspaper has pleaded ‘Freedom of expression’.   The same sentiments could have been expressed (and indeed have been expressed in cartoons and commentary) in better and more palatable ways.  An apology would go a long way in setting things right, one would think.

What’s funny about the whole thing is that all of a sudden we have people shedding copious tears about lack of taste and some (un)intended insult to womankind but absolute silence on what actually provoked the sentiments expressed in the cartoon.   Feminists who have not raised a whimper about these thugs attacking buses in which female pilgrims were travelling after having abused them in word and deed , have all of a sudden found voice to object to an ill mix of line and color.  If one is upset about sexism and gross crudity, one cannot be selective about it, and moreover, one should have a sense of proportion!   Some have, one notices, even demanded that the editor of the newspaper resign!

Many have commented on the controversial cartoon in the website ‘Groundviews’ , which opened up a debate with a note titled ‘A tasteless cartoon, Twitter and Indo-Sri Lanka relations’.  The main article, referring to a tweet by the President’s spokesperson Bandula Jayasekera, says ‘The tweet does not endorse the cartoon, but stops short of an apology over its hugely offensive nature’.

Now this is hilarious.  Why should either Jayasekera or the President ‘apologize’ for something neither of them did?  Does Manmohan Singh apologize for all the sexist, crude and otherwise obnoxious expressions in the Indian media?  What rot!

Random tweets from various sources are reproduced to make a tweet-mountain of a toon-molehill.  The title itself elevates the opinion of a single cartoonist (sanctioned for whatever reason by his editor) to something that could have an impact on Indo-Lanka relations.  If that cartoon and cartoonist had that power, then we wouldn’t need diplomats and external affairs ministries, for all that would take for countries to declare war on one another would be a crude-minded artist and an editor whose vigilance has slipped.

Let’s get some perspective here.

If Indo-Lanka relations are bad, the primary culprit is Delhi.  From arming, funding and training terrorists to complicity in upping the chauvinistic ante in Tamil Nadu to the machinations in Geneva and being a pound-of-flesh friend, Delhi has been fouling the diplomatic air for a long, long time.

So, berate cartoon, cartoonist and editor if it pleases and as they deserve, but keep molehill as molehill.  That’s part of responsible citizen journalism, one would think.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation‘ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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9 Responses to Falling Overboard With Crude Cartoons

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    This totally unprincipled thing that crawled out from under some (Medamulana?) rock and now works as Editor in Chief for a rag that’s owned by a member of that family has the audacity to pretend that Lakbimanews is NOT a government-supporting paper and NOT owned by one of its M.Ps – Bookie Sumathipala – and DOESN’T voice government policy! After expecting us to swallow that garbage, he should be ripe for a trip to the arctic to sell refrigerators to eskimos! The $64,000 question is, why does Colombo Telegraph continue to publish what this clown has to say when EVERYONE knows that he is a PAID lackey of the government? Are you going to give Keheliya Rambukwella and that Hulugalle character several column inches as well?

    Pacha Epa
    September 12, 2012 at 6:40 am
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      “The $ 64,000 Question” I can understand why the SL govt is struggling for foreign exchange. $ 64,000 is nothing compared to millions of dollars given to American and British firms to promote “awareness and goodwill”.

      Jim Softy
      September 12, 2012 at 1:58 pm
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    The Nation is worried that the cartoon affair might get out of hand so he is making the necessary B.S. on behalf of the twins. His anti Indian stance is evident from the start when he does not even credit India with ensuring the military success in mullivaikal. The unbeatable tigers was only beaten with Sonia’s help. Why not have a cartoon with Manmohan under Sonia’s Saree? If the Sinhala Fascists have any back bone that is the cartoon that they including the nation should have drawn….

    suryagamage nilan
    September 12, 2012 at 1:30 pm
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy http://colombotelegraph.com/comments-policy/

    Phillips H
    September 12, 2012 at 3:33 pm
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    CT and Malinda are birds of the same feather flocked together? Old journalist friends from the Raavya days? Who enjoys this type of cartoons? Racist-chauvinist and parasites.. They also enjoy discussions on anything to do with Vaginas or Vagina cream. Other websites do not do this or allow so called journalist like Malinda to publish rubbish opinion. Mahinda too is a product from two sarees. Sirimavo and Chandrika. And 1 sarong.. Prabhakaran’s sarong, for which pleasure he paid for in bribes. Then he got installed as President for Sri Lanka to build or try his very best to build a family dynasty with the support of crooks, bookies, and Kudu Silva’s dirty money. They also have the money from God (Or Devil) knows where with the $60 Billion dollar economy as well as indulge in anything they want from their island kingdom they think they own. Do politicians and Ministers make commissions? hell no-Never!!! Cartoons do not do any damage, other than piss off people like Jayalalitha and the Indians. Let the cartoons come, Malinda and Bandula. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. You buggers have no idea what is yet to come… Malinda, get somebody to write an editorial!!! ha ha ha. India has a 1, 200 million population, and Sri Lanka has 20 million. Trade wise, SL is not a real or important partner. Totally insignificant. 20% of Tourist are from India, and the survival of Sri Lankan Airlines, Port and to some extent the airport relies on India. The costs of goods and services will go up if there is no competition… Remember that before you guys mouth off. The simple key is to be fair, and just to fellow citizens who are Tamils. Or else, see the results of the past 30 years, and more to come. BTW, India stopped helping the Tamil freedom fighters 25 years ago, after the Indo-Lanka accord and thereafter helped the State Terrorist. India is still committed to help the Tamils now that the LTTE are no more except KP, Karuna and Pillaiyan.

    Donald J Gnanakone
    September 12, 2012 at 8:59 pm
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    malinda, remember ex pm manmohan singhs directive to indian political parties on the eve of his re election.. that sri lanka shall not be a subject of political rally discussion prior to elections.. let people be aware of india; we wont forget, no; we can forgive, yes; we need them nevertheless ; lets be patriotic and think about the welfare of this land first, and always..

    fayaz
    September 13, 2012 at 2:03 am
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    I have written on many an occasion the dangers for Sri Lankan Airlines, Airport and Port of Colombo. Read this of the immediate effect for Sri Lankan Airlines and Mihin Air as well as the Katunayaka Airport. “I told you” so…. http://www.dailymirror.lk/news/21878-attack-on-lankans-proves-costly-for-airlines.html Do a few more cartoons, Modayo!!!! And this effect is due to the action of the foreign ministry and the President who thought they might hurt Tamil Nadu and India.. They got it all wrong and have their Ammude’s in a twist. Wait for the trade union action in Indian airports and ports… especially affecting transshipment containers… to and from India. Indian ports will fast develop for direct services or transshipment via Singapore and Salalah, Oman. Similarly, airlines will serve Trivandrum, Trichy and Chennai to the Middle East.

    Donald J Gnanakone
    September 13, 2012 at 4:59 am
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    unnecessary cartoon and foolish write-up will bring unprecedented damage to this nation island in the Indian Ocean. If you both Malinda and Ranga knows the power of China and especially India in many aspects, you won’t speak foolish stuffs to get sandwich.

    citizean
    September 13, 2012 at 6:00 am
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    Very similar to the Lakbima editor even the Nation editor Malinda Seneviratne is a dirty racist. It is no surprise that he is trying to defend his racist pal. These kind of should be exposed and condemned. Fortunately, only a very few racists read these two rags (Lakbima & Nation).

    Lankaputhra
    September 13, 2012 at 8:01 am
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