Last week on (November 29 – December 5 2009)

Last week’s number one topic on was the decision of the Swiss people to ban minarets from their country. I share the majority opinion that this is the tragic outcome of a spreading fear of Islam, even though I would say that some Swiss particularities definitely influenced the decision. Firuz Kutal has drawn a cartoon on the feelings of European Muslims at the moment which I think is blatant but good. He has also posted a somewhat vulgar cartoon on the Swiss decision. While some artists express hopes for a peaceful future without the stupid ban, others concentrate on the possibly dangerous outcome of the decision. Unfortunately, the iconography used is sometimes pretty much playing in the hands of those who link Islam with violence and threat (here & here). Other cartoons show up non-violent alternatives ore quite literally describe the hurt feelings of Muslims (here & here). There are a number of cartoons that I think simply fail to convey the intended meanings (here, here & here) and there is one that might even be anti-minaret. I for one am tired of blatant symbolism now. My favorite cartoon on the issue, however, envisions a reconciliation using even more blatant symbolism. But it’s different.
In case you are interested in looking at all cartoons on the Swiss decision, there is a collection set up by user Hayati.


IlkayNew member Ilkay Saltık’s portfolio is strangely divided. There are some drawings that clearly lack artistic experience and are hardly more than mediocre doodles. Others – I would guess that these are his more recent works – are imaginative and promising illustrations. Take, for example, the capitalist with a hidden heart, the steam powered smiler or car crash crotch. I am sure that there will be more of the good stuff in the days to come.

Cartoons of Interest

My favorite cartoon this week  is “Der Landschaftsmaler” ["The Landscape Painter"] by Mehmet Karaman, who, incidentally, is from Switzerland. Is that painter being attacked by his own colors or by wild ones? Or have both of them joined forces against his naturalism? Anyway, this is a great cartoon. And it is mysterious in a good way.

Paul Hellmich


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