October 29, 2013
South African Hindus Object To Zapiro Cartoon
The offense caused in the South African community by a Zapiro cartoon showing the deity Genesha in order to make a point about a controversy in the sport of cricket seems to be settling into a familiar pattern
. The popular South African cartoonist wished to illustrate the notion that the organization controlling cricket in South Africa is willing to sacrifice the its chief executive in order to keep open its access to the necessary funding and money that comes from touring in India, where cricket is enormously
popular. While the point being made seems to be sound -- the executive was removed from certain dealings during the most recent with more of the same -- using Ganesha in a way that 1) affiliates the deity with a sport, 2) affiliates the deity with a corrupt practice within the sport, 3) has him holding money, 4) has all of these things going on in close proximity to the Diwali celebrations (a five-day New Year), 5) has them taking place despite Lorgat being Muslim rather than Hindu adding to the general disrespectful feel of the cartoon, and maybe a couple more I can't think of, has angered several people of that faith.
Three organizations have been contacted thus far and asked to investigate: the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities; the Human Rights Commission; and the Ombudsman of the Press Council of South Africa.
The cartoonist and his employer have no intention to apologize, and stress that it's a clear use of the deity's metaphorical power, and not in any way comment on the actual deity or the beliefs Ganesha represents. I would imagine that this view will eventually hold given Zapiro's status and his paper's record in supporting him.
posted 8:20 am PST
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