The Houla Massacre

Just a few metres down the street from us is a milk bar (candy store) run by a Syrian family. I thought about them the entire time while I was drawing this cartoon. 

I usually start my Sundays looking for news stories to base my Monday editorial cartoon on. I'll be honest and say that I spent half the morning avoiding this story mainly because I felt like I didn't have enough background information to make an educated statement about what was happening in Syria. Sure I kept seeing the headlines off to the side; but when drawing editorial cartoons, I usually take the more popular stories as subject matter. That way more people might "get it."

But, as I was trawling for stories, I noticed that Dylan Horrocks posted on twitter about following #HoulaMassacre to see the world's reaction. And so, I did that. Out of curiosity and out of trying to find a story to base a cartoon on.

It led me to a video on YouTube that rattled me to the core. I know war is horrific, but I was not prepared to see a room full of dead children under the age of 10 - each one being picked up in turn and presented to the camera like a limp doll. And with each one, the presenter asked the camera, "what has this child done to deserve this?" Those images on that video stayed with me for the rest of the day and will stay with me for the rest of my life.

I don't want to rant about how atrocities like this should not happen. That much should be obvious to anyone who has blood in their veins and a brain in their head.

I don't want to give links to news stories about this massacre. If you want to see those horrors, then do an image search for "Houla". You don't even have to type in "massacre."

If anything, I would like anyone who reads this blog to take a moment to honour those children by giving someone - whose life you appreciate - a hug. Let them know that you're glad they exist in your world and that your life is immensely better for it.

This cartoon is dedicated to that great family down the road and their children who I know are very very loved.


Home on the (Free) Range

One of the big news stories last week was how Tassie will be banning battery hens as well as sow stalls. It's a great move for animal rights and there has been much rejoicing.

There's also news that Tasmania will be banning single use plastic bags being given out at shopping centres. We use reusable bags and it's common to see other people using them at the supermarket. All in all, the environmentalist in me is pretty chuffed at these results.

My original drawing actually had brand names all over the bags of the major companies that still use plastic bags. But my wife actually suggested that I might get myself into some sort of legal trouble with that. Plus - and this was the more convincing argument - it would be easier to colour.


A Bad Idea With Good Intentions

I'm in two minds about the news behind this cartoon. There's a professor in Singapore that wants Tasmania to trial a ban on cigarette sales to anyone born after the year 2000.

Now, while I think the result would be excellent - I hate seeing kids smoking - I also believe that this is the wrong way to go about doing it. People have a right to develop an expensive, addictive habit that slowly kills themselves and makes tobacco companies insanely rich. Plus, I honestly think that a ban would only make it all the more attractive to those who couldn't get cigarettes. Or they'd just find something worse - hence the cartoon.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big anti-smoking advocate. I'm one of those few people who has never actually tried to smoke a cigarette (asthmanerd). The only person that has ever made me want to smoke is Rod Serling. But then I'd just follow people around, narrating their lives and occasionally advertising Chesterfield cigarettes.

Many of you might know that I'm a new father. Every time I see a young girl take a drag on a cigarette, I immediately think of Clementine and how I can possibly detract that habit before she even thinks about smoking. Maybe I'll just tell her that there's this law in Tasmania...


Mum's know best

It's always great when two different news stories with similar threads happen at the same time. It makes coming up with a joke just a little bit easier. Of course, that's something all cartoonists are on the lookout for. (I for one am sick of cartoons depicting the Labor Party as the Titanic and The Carbon Tax as the iconic iceberg. I don't claim to be a great political cartoonist, but C'MON - even I saw those jokes coming a mile away.)

Sooo, the state government is looking to cut out funding for Mothers Groups - something that my wife has found incredibly useful with the raising of Clementine. We feel lucky that we got to be part of that right before it stopped. It's a stupid move by the government - and they're making enemies with the WRONG people. Mums. If hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, then it's suffice to say that women hath no fury like a mum scorned. And before you ask - no, none of the babies are based on Clementine. Well, maybe the thylacine baby...

In other news, it's been found out that there isn't a contingency plan for if and when a Thylacine is ever found. I know, they're supposed to be extinct, but every year there is at least one farmer out in Woop-Woop who swears his brother saw one while staggering home drunk last Thursday night. And don't let the fact that their neighbor has a rare brown labrador with stripes get in the way of the truth, either!  So, it remains a nice little Tasmanian legend. Our little sasquatch. 

I had two ideas spawn from these stories. Here's the other one:

"and after that, let's play G-20 summit. I get to be Engalnd this time!"