Cartoon Mania and Maniacs

There's a lot of power in the pen. Like today's controversial cartoons, the plans, accords, contracts, scripts and speeches drawn up on simple paper are capable of either bringing our worst nightmares to life, or actualizing our best dreams.

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Ellen W. Horowitz

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Arutz 7
Three of my kids were in Amona. All returned safely (thank G-d), but with accounts of such horror and brutality that I found myself too distressed and shaken to write down my thoughts. I write when the spirit moves me, but these last several days have knocked both the wind and inspiration out of me.

If you're some kind of ostrich and have, up until now, avoided viewing scenes or video footage from the atrocity at Amona, then you're under obligation to do so. At the very least, view the photo collection compiled from a variety of news sources which appear at sites like http://satlavi.co.il/amona.html.

Unable to write, but too tortured not to express myself, I gave an interview on the Tovia Singer Show, which pretty much exposed me as an anguished and distraught Israeli mother who has come to the very sick realization that the State of Israel has sanctioned and declared open season on her children.

I also reverted back to my skills as a cartoonist, and I tried my hand at a couple of placards for Sunday night's protest in Zion Square in Jerusalem. Sometimes, a simple black-and-white line drawing can restore a bit of clarity to a tortured soul. Plus, the recesses of an artistic imagination have, in the past, provided me with a great escape - and an occasional laugh.

But there was no escape, because the reality is far more devastating than anything I could conjure up in my fantasy world. It simply isn't funny. When rendering ideas, it's either the gross exaggeration through caricature or the over simplification via cartoon form that gives us the room to laugh. But the actual images and footage of Israel's prized SWAT team bludgeoning our Jewish youth with truncheons went beyond imagination; so any image I attempted to draw was unable to even hint at the profound horror of it all.

Nevertheless, the drawings did receive some attention from a variety of press sources. One cartoon depicted a rearing horse posed to crush a downed and bleeding youngster. The riot squad rider had a sinister smile and was saying, "Olmert's orders." The second placard depicted Pharaoh Olmert decreeing that his riot squad officer should, "Bash the head of every Zionist youth."

I wonder if those Danish cartoonists are suffering from a similar syndrome. In today's inverted world, perceived fantasy has become reality and what we thought to be our sane reality may be nothing more than an illusion. The cartoons of our imagination may fall flat or ignite unwanted reactions, because they are just too close to the truth.

The real-life lslamic loony-toons of today can inflict more damage in this world than Warner Brother's Taz can wreak on Toon Town in a year. It's reality gone daffy.

There's a lot of power in the pen. Like today's controversial cartoons, the plans, accords, contracts, scripts and speeches drawn up on simple paper are capable of either bringing our worst nightmares to life, or actualizing our best dreams.

There is a bit of poetic justice at play here. A seemingly neutral and composed Northern Europe is the place where the mere paper Oslo Accords were born and real Arab terrorism, in the form of arch-villain Yasser Arafat, was resurrected. A region of the world that managed to successfully feign fairness and neutrality for so many years may now be unable to escape from some of the chaos it helped to conceive.

It used to be that if one wanted to freely and brazenly express everything and anything that popped into their fertile or perverted mind, they would relocate to Northern Europe - and let it all hang out. Otherwise, they could end up like Tatiana Soskin, who was arrested in 1997 and subsequently sentenced in an Israeli court to two years in prison for offending religious sensitivities. It seems she had produced a drawing that depicted Mohammed as a pig reading the Koran. She was apprehended while attempting to post the cartoon on an Arab storefront in Hebron. Israel and the rest of the world condemned her at the time, while breathing sighs of relief that World War III had been averted.

The hot-headed Russian immigrant, Tatiana, was prevented from doing the deed that the cool-headed dudes of Denmark have done with their relatively mild renderings.

I don't know if that's funny, but it sure is ironic.

If today's moderate leaders and followers of Islam were sane and secure in their faith, then these type of cartoons would be dismissed with a shrug of the shoulders as being tasteless and ludicrous, or the clerics would have had the courage to step forward and ensure that any outrage would have been properly vented via legitimate action and protest. As a Jew, the Arab European League's recent rendering of Anne Frank in bed with Hitler doesn't do much for me, but I'm surely not going to torch Mecca for it.

However, those vengeful thoughts do cross my mind as I watch a Jewish mother sit vigil over her seven-month-old baby who suffered serious head wounds in Friday's Kassam rocket attack. The attack, which emanated from Gaza, hit a kibbutz in Southern Israel that temporarily houses Jewish families expelled from Gaza under last summer's universally hailed Disengagement Plan. It seems that the Israeli government neglected to provide secure rooms or take other measures to protect the uprooted families, and much of the Diaspora Jewish world just doesn't give a damn.

Ironic, yes? It calls for a cartoon, but it just wouldn't be funny.

This whole row really isn't about cartoons. It's more about the way we've ignited Islamic fervor by empowering and encouraging the terrorists of Hamas and the tyrants in Iran. Empowerment is a very popular term in the Western or Free World's lexicon (they probably use the word a lot in Northern Europe). Look at the damage we've caused by liberating and sanctioning the beasts among us.

My hunch is that as the world awakens to this reality, and recognizes that we in the Western world brought upheaval upon ourselves by fostering excessive tolerance and freedom, those sinister living and breathing cartoon characters in our lives will consume themselves with their own hatred. This type of evil can't sustain itself indefinitely. I imagine the bad guys know it, too. And perhaps it's the insecurity and fear of losing their place in this world that has caused the tyrants and terrorists to run amok in an orgy of gore. They may be in their death throes, but they're not going down without a fight.

Islam may have met its match. The pen, when wielded by righteous people who express the truth, is indeed mightier than the sword.

Ehud Olmert may have met his match, too. The creativity, spirit and devotion of our Jewish youth is far stronger than any crushing blows the acting prime minister's police force can deliver.

In the meantime, things just aren't too funny. It seems that the good, creative people of the world should keep their pencils sharpened and heads protected, and pray for the day when we can all laugh again. "Then our mouth will be filled with laughter, and our tongue with songs of joy." (Psalm 126)


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