Today my colleagues at CRNI are dealing with two cases of cartoonists who've fallen prey to injurious and inhumane governments.
Musa Kart and his colleagues from Cumhuriyet newspaper have been held without trial for 100 days held on charges of "crimes on behalf of the Fethullahist Terror Organisation and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)”. Musa is no terrorist, he is however a man who's been twice sued unsuccessfully by President Recep Erdogan. It's abundantly clear that Turkey's recent civil unrest and spike in terror attacks are being used as a convenient pretext by unscrupulous, authoritarian dictator to take revenge on old enemies. The paper itself marked this dreadful occasion with a heartfelt statement of solidarity:
"Our job is to bring the truth to light – especially the truth that it is wished to conceal from the people."
One such concealed truth is that of Eaten Fish, the Iranian cartoonist held in Australia's detention centre on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea for several years and who has now resorted to hunger strike. His tale is a litany of international dysfunction and failure of will. Australia's iron resolve to end people trafficking by accepting no migrants who arrive by sea does not excuse their decision to leave them languishing in wholly illegal prison camps. Papua New Guinea's acquiescence in permitting such a travesty on their territory is compounded by their reluctance to accept responsibility for any of the detainees as the camp is closed. Other island nations in the region shame themselves by turning their back. Those that do offer to help have their overtures rejected. And to cap it all the only hope of a solution is snatched away by a vulgar, unthinking, reactionary US president. A vulnerable and damaged child of no nation, little wonder Eaten Fish has elected to die.
If you happen to read this and in are in any position to lend assistance to either man, please get in touch.