Last night, thanks to the generosity of John Lent, I attended the
Cartoonists Rights Network dinner of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists. I may expand this post later, but I'll just note that the four after-dinner speakers were excellent. The Canadian Ambassador spoke about Canada's commitment to free speech (but not to hate speech - slippery slope there). Iranian turned Canadian cartoonist Nik Kosar, a previous winner of the CRN yearly award was there and noted that he had just been reunited with his family, four years after he was forced to flee Iran. Fleming Rose spoke on the Danish Islam cartoon controversy; at an earlier session he made the salient point, "It is individuals, not religions, who enjoy human rights." In this session, he warned strongly against capitulating on free speech issues.
Jonathan "Zapiro" Shapiro of South Africa was presented with this year's award and discussed being sued by a South African politician for $2 million dollars due to three cartoons claimed defamatory. He's fighting it of course, but also told us about his earlier career as an anti-apartheid cartoonist. An article about his award is in his newspaper
"Zapiro's truth to power lauded" Mail & Guardian 6 July 2007.
The evening ended with political humorist Will Durst cracking up all the gathered editorial cartoonists. Pictures hopefully will follow.
Dave Astor posted his take on it -
Shapiro Receives 'Courage in Editorial Cartooning' Prize -- Will Durst Speaks
By Dave Astor
Published: July 07, 2007 9:45 AM ET