At this weekend’s SPX we had some fun calling the main panel room “The UN,” and indeed the attendees had a grand time making paper placards for various countries, adding to the fun. Well now, lo and behold, the fantasy became reality yesterday, as an international group of political cartoonists went to the UN for a program entitled “Cartooning for Peace.”
Political cartoonists discussed the power of their pens and brushes at the United Nations on Monday and the pressures they face — highlighted by the Muslim outrage over a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper.
More than 15 cartoonists from Denmark, the Middle East, the United States, Africa and other countries, drew a fine line between freedom of expression and respecting religious beliefs during a program on their changing profession entitled “Cartooning for Peace: The responsibility of political cartoonists?”
Cartoons “can encourage us to look critically at ourselves, and increase our empathy for the sufferings and frustration of others,” U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in opening remarks at the gathering. “But they can also do the opposite. They have, in short, a big responsibility.”