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Cartoon in washington post.

  1. May 10, 2005 #1
    Few days ago the Washington post in America printed a cartoon in their newspaper. It had a DOG with Pakistan written over it and an American soldier standing close to it. I thought alot about it and really pissed me off. What do they really want? They hate us when we dont support them in their fight against terrorism and show us as a faithful PET if do support them.Dont you think there are other better ways to compliment somebody if thats what they really want to do?
    I'm not anti-american but that is not fair, is it?
    Last edited: May 10, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2005 #2


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    "They" are the Wash. Post, the cartoonist, and the editorial staff; "they" are not the rest of the United States. What "they" want is to sell newspapers and stir up trouble. You can submit letters to the editor to their website. I think you ought to. I don't think you should hold your breath that they'd actually print such a letter, but a little overseas feedback can't possibly hurt.
  4. May 10, 2005 #3
    Bystander is right. One of the founding tennents of America is that of a free press, devoid of governmental influence. The American Government and those alligned with its causes probabally would like that cartoons such as that were never printed, and appreciate it greatly when Pakistan, or any country for that matter, helps them in achieving their goals. However, the newspaper has nothing to do with the government; infact, many would say that The Washington Post is decidedly anti-Bush. Some would say that the Washington Post would like nothing more than to dissuade Pakistanis from supporting America as long as George Bush is in office.
  5. May 10, 2005 #4


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    Regarding the Pakistan-US relationship specifically, its a tough issue. Pakistan has had some issues with terrorism that would make us hesitant to trust their government. But it seems like they are making an honest effort to help us. The characterization is unfair.
  6. May 10, 2005 #5
    Pakistan is a military dictatorship which unofficially supports terrorism against the Indian government. Our alliance with them makes a mockery of our supposed "war against terrorism" and it is one of the examples I like to point out when neoconservatives and their allies argue about our justification for invading Iraq.

    Edit: And another thing, Pakistan supported the Taliban's rise to power
  7. May 11, 2005 #6
    Uh, so did the U.S.
  8. May 11, 2005 #7
    I was going to say the same thing. US government financially helped the Taliban to defeat the Soviet Union. And So-crates Pakistan is not a military dictatorship. Most the literate people here support Musharaf and want to see him in both the uniform and as the president of Pakistan. Cross-border terrorism is greatly reduced since he came into power. This has been confirmed even by the Indian government. Our government is doing everything it can to solve Kashmir issue and to improve the image of Pakistan internationally. If this cannot improve our image internationally nothing will.
  9. May 11, 2005 #8


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    I can't tell for sure from your description, but I would be surprised if the cartoon was intended as a compliment to Pakistan. It might be intended to say something about how the U.S. (or its military) treats Pakistan. It could also be questioning the Pakistani government's motives for acting eager to please the U.S. I'm sure there are other possibilities too. And, of course, it is easy for elements of such cartoons to fail to cross cultural divides. So while it's certainly possible that this cartoonist is being unfair to Pakistan, I wouldn't want to offer any definite guess without seeing the cartoon.

    I looked through all the Post cartoons for May and didn't find it. Do you know what day it was printed?
  10. May 12, 2005 #9


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    I can't find a link to the actual cartoon, but it turns out that it was in the Washington Times, not the Post. This makes much more sense.

    Anyway, this seems to be a big deal in Pakistan. The initial reaction by a Pakistani diplomat:
    No such luck:
    It looks like I was wrong that there might have been something ambiguous about the cartoon – all the descriptions accord well with DeathKnight's take on it, and according to the Washington Times editors, it was intended as a compliment.
    Last edited: May 12, 2005
  11. May 12, 2005 #10
    I'm sorry about writing washington post instead of times. I feel like a complete idiot.
  12. May 12, 2005 #11


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    Post? Times? It's not your home town newspaper --- don't even apologize for the mix-up.

    Rethinking the tone and intent of the cartoon as described: American GIs and war dogs have developed an equal partnership --- the dogs are often more respected in K9 units than people --- it is possible that the cartoonist was drawing on experiences of this nature. It is a regrettable lapse of judgment, or of cultural awareness that the cartoon was run without considering the notion that "dog" is a perjorative in a large part of the world, if the "war dog" hypothesis actually holds.

    Ain't a free press wonderful --- something like this happens --- maybe it was intended as a sincere compliment and ignorance of culture results in the delivery of an insult --- or, it was intended to stir up trouble and bad feelings. Now that diplomatic notes have been exchanged, we'll never know.
  13. May 12, 2005 #12
    Can you quote what the editors said in describing it as a compliment? I can't believe anyone competent enough to land a job as a newspaper editor could be that stupid.
  14. May 12, 2005 #13
    That's stupid. I still think it was intentional. I still remember seeing an American cartoon in which the term DOG was used as an abuse. Even in english language the expressions with dog in them always have negative meanings. And after all this he was thinking that personifying Pakistan as a dog would not hurt anyone's feelings?
    And if he really was complimenting Pakistan (slim chance) then it was obviously not a very good way to do it.
    Last edited: May 12, 2005
  15. May 12, 2005 #14
    then they put the quran in a toilet , what a way to keep allies and show tolerance for other religions by the forces..
  16. May 12, 2005 #15
    which is worst for you guys in pakistan ; pig or dog ? both are v.smart animals by the way.
  17. May 12, 2005 #16
    In my experience, dogs will eat feces, poison, plastic, and anything else that's lying on the ground and gleefully run into oncoming traffic while chasing after a car. I don't think that really qualifies dogs as very smart animals.
  18. May 12, 2005 #17


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    Yes, there are many expressions in English that use the word 'dog' negatively, but there are others that are not negative (e.g. 'hot dog' (not meaning the food), 'top dog', 'underdog'). But actually the linguistic uses of the word 'dog' are not a good guide as to how Westerners perceive dogs. For Americans and Europeans, dogs most often symbolize loyalty, companionship, intelligence, courage. But there are, of course, other, less positive, cultural meanings – there is no easy summary. (I'm tempted to try to compare Westerners perception of dogs to the perception of horses by Pashtun and similar peoples, but I don't think I really know enough about them to know how accurate it would be.)

    However, I certainly agree that the imagery is insulting to Pakistanis. First, there is ignorance that dogs are not pereceived the same way in Asia and the Middle East as they are in the West. On the part of the cartoonist, this is hardly surprising – I don't think most Americans are aware of this. However, if the Washington Times editorial staff were competent, this is the sort of thing they should be aware of or at least have some procedure for checking. Living in a city full of foreign diplomats, one would think that checking up on cultural perceptions before publishing something like this would be automatic. This is why it made more sense to me that the cartoon was published in the Times, it would be far more surprising if the Post were that incompetent. (And there's certainly nothing to apologize for about mixing up the Post and the Times. I would be surprised if many people outside the U.S. knew about the Times.)

    The second problem is the arrogance of the image. While Bystander is correct about the level of respect felt for military dogs by the soldiers who work with them, I suspect that's not what most people seeing the image are going to think of. It seems much more likely that they will think of (as you said) a pet – a patronizing image at best. This is the arrogance of many in the U.S. right now: other countries can be treated as subordinates rather than equals, no viewpoint really matters but their own. It's an attitude similar to that of the British imperialists of a century ago, and is not restricted to those who hold power here, or to those on the political right (i.e. those who are most likely to be sympathetic to the Times).

    This attitude is carried over into their pseudo-apology that you quoted.
    While it is quite true that American political cartoonists mock our leaders quite mercilessly, and that the editors of the Times are not accountable to the President, the Times' editors don't seem to be able to tell the difference between making fun of individual politicians and insulting an entire other country or culture, and that the responsible use of free speech includes apologizing when a mistake of this magnitude is made.

    My guess would be that the insult to Pakistan was not intentional. I think it's just ignorance and arrogant stupidity – both that the Times allowed the cartoon to be published in the first place, and that they're too thick to understand that they've created a real problem that might require a real apology.
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