Recently, a cartoon in the Australian newspaper depicting starving Indians eating solar panels (sent to the developing nation in an attempt to curb carbon emissions) has been condemned as “unequivocally racist”.
The cartoon was drawn by Bill Leak, one of the nation’s well known cartoonists.
It appeared in Australian newspaper ‘The Australian’, published by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which has inclined to take a skeptical approach to action on climate change.
The cartoon attracted widespread anger and criticism from within Australia and the rest of the world alike.
Amanda Wise, an associate professor of sociology at Macquarie University told sources:
“This cartoon is unequivocally racist and draws on very base stereotypes of third world, underdeveloped people who don’t know what to do with technology,”
“This is really old imagery he has drawn on. Thin, starving people wearing turbans, who are so starving they are going to chop up solar panels. That is 1950s symbolism. We have moved on. The rest of the world has moved on.”
“In Australia people from India are the second largest migrant group and they are coming here on skilled visas.”
“India has not only been a sophisticated negotiator on climate change, insisting ‘developed’ nations pay their dues for destroying the planet, it has also voluntarily started adopting renewables like solar energy in hundreds of villages.”
Chris Kenny, a columnist at the ‘The Australian’, told Indian media that the cartoon was:
“mocking the Paris deal for spending aid on climate instead of reducing poverty”, adding that “solar panels are not the greatest need in developing world”.
Though, this is not the first time when a major news publication came under the radar for their depiction of the climate change negotiations. Recently, New York Times cartoon portrayed India as an elephant stalling a train depicting climate change talks, also received a lot of criticism.
India took a tough stand in the recently concluded climate talks in Paris and PM Narendra Modi had publically announced that it would be ”morally wrong” to not put the majority of the financial burden on the developed nations based on their historic emanation
India was also targeted by NYT last year by publishing a cartoon on India’s low-cost space program. For which NYT came under widespread criticism and laterNYT also apologized to the people.
Source : The guardian