Tuesday 1 May 2007

'Terror' cartoon ignores the obvious

What to make of Steve Bell's cartoon in today's Guardian (above - accompanied by the caption 'Fertile Ground')?

Presumably some reference is intended to yesterday's conviction of five men for conspiracy to cause mass murder using fertiliser bombs. OK, so we expect cartoonists to cast a satirical eye on the news, rather than joining in the general relief and satisfaction that these convictions must have caused most people. But surely the story suggested plenty more obvious targets for Bell's usual merciless satire - the reactionary death cult that turned five British men into terrorists, for example? Instead, we get a rather predictable case of blaming the (in this case, thankfully, potential) victims. Unless I've misread it, the image suggests that British military action, symbolised by the planes and barbed wire, provided the 'real' fertiliser (in the form of 'blood, bones and bullshit') for this and other terror plots.

In other words, it's all our own fault, rather than the result of deliberate and coldblooded planning by a sophisticated international network bolstered by a twisted fundamentalist ideology. And just when I was beginning to warm to The Guardian again...

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