A Cartoonist in Reverse

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I have been a Post convert ever since moving to the area in 2001. While dissenting viewpoints are to be expected, Mike Luckovich's June 13 cartoon provoked me.

He depicted four frustrated burqa-clad Muslim women discussing their envy of first lady Michelle Obama, with a turbaned man in the foreground cursing President Obama.

I cannot fathom how this cartoon could have passed muster for inclusion. Surely America has come out of the Stone Ages.

Wasn't it just this month in Cairo that President Obama provided us with several reminders that we need to adjust our own lens to better understand the Muslim world? Speaking explicitly to perceptions of Muslim women, he stated "I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal" and that "it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit -- for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear."

I thought that this was finally the spirit of our discourse, but your cartoon diminished some of the strides we're making, reinforced old and tired stereotypes and took us decades back.

-- Vijitha M. Eyango

Silver Spring

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