by Huseyin CAKMAK / Cyprus
Politicians are most criticized people by cartoonists. Therefore, many politicians are very much resent and even despise cartoonists. It is known that the origin of this resentment and despising is the emergence of cartoon.
Cartoon art was known and perceived as weird and funny drawings until the 18th century.
In 1830, the first political humor newspaper “Caricature” was published in France. All corrupt politicians, officials, lawyers, prosecutors and judges were reflected as illustrated characters and harshly criticized by the cartoonists of the period in the political humor newspaper published by a French cartoonist, Charles Philipon.
When the political humor newspaper “Caricature” criticized and disturbed the corrupt political circles, these circles were obliged to take measures in order to silence cartoonists. Measures to silence taken against cartoonists starting from the 18th century are still carried on in our daywith various methods.
While political cartoon artists criticize the wrongdoings of politicians and authorities in political, economic, cultural and social fields, they also make constructive and guiding criticisms so as to arrive at good and correct solutions. Nevertheless, cartoonists do not criticize politicians using a lenient method as they would like. They direct sharp, mercilessand harsh critics congruent to the essence of cartoon art.
Although certain politicians utterly resent and despise cartoonist, they are afraid to reveal their feelings. However others overtly declare that they fear cartoonists. One of those politicians is the former Greek Prime Minister Yorgo Papandreu.
During his office, a journalist asked Yorgo Papandreu: “Who do you fear most when you are in power?” His reply was: “I fear the opposition leaders 10 times, the public 50 times, the journalists 100 times! But I fear a cartoonist 1000 times, even more!”
While Yorgo Papandreu expressed his fear of cartoonist in a very sincere and tolerant way, certain politicians conceal their fear of the cartoon art, and follow lawsuits against cartoonists who have criticized them when they assume power. Other politicians, on the other hand resort to methods like censorship, arrest, torture, assassination and execution to silence cartoonists!
Art of politics is comprised of conflicts. However, cartoon is an art that both criticizes and guides in order to correct conflicts. Conflicts will never end as long as politicians exist. And cartoonists will exist as long as the conflicts continue.
(author of the article is a renowned cartoonist from Cyprus, the President of FECO – Cyprus and editor of “Yeni Akrep” e-magazine)