THE FLIPSIDE: Cartoons For Peace?

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Editor’s note: Welcome to The Flipside, where we offer a different view of this week’s news. The Flipside … posting every Friday afternoon

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words can we get for an animated cartoon? In China, the powers that be are hoping for a hell of a lot. An adorable cartoon princess by the name of Ipal Khan, who happens to belong to the Uighur ethnic minority, is set to capture the political hearts (at least that’s the desire) of disenfranchised millions living in a nation dominated by an overwhelming Han majority.

Miss Khan, who also goes by the moniker “the Fragrant Concubine,” has been created with the express intent of quelling the tempers of the predominately Muslim Uighurs living in China’s resistive and conflict prone Xinjiang Autonomous Region. And, as everyone knows, young, angry men with a ton of pent-up frustration often turn to concubines in order to relieve their … Hold on a sec. What kind of wholesome children’s entertainment are we talking about here?

Ideally, by featuring a non-Han Chinese Disney-esque female lead in an animated series, folks living in Xinjiang will realize they haven’t been marginalized to the extent they believe. What are a few human right violations compared to a charming cartoon “concubine” invited to live with the Han emperor in peace and harmony — or maybe, in a darker twist, captured and enslaved instead? The historical accounts for the basis of this story tend to vary, depending on who’s doing the telling. Guess which tale the Uighurs stick to?

It remains to be seen if this animated experiment will have the social impact the creators hope for. If, by some miracle, it does, the model could be exported to other conflict zones around the world. Just imagine …

Fernando, the quirky Mexican cartel kingpin who loves children almost as much as he loves gore and machetes. Ahmed, the Islamic insurgent and his affable cartoon cat Habbab, who — over the course of their bloody career — learn the value of being able to compromise just a smidgen. Vlad the Incubator, a Russian separatist who devotes his time to taking care of war orphans and babies at risk. Whitey Magee, a politician with a questionable record on race relations, who, after being visited by a magical genie, has an epiphany and realizes that we’re all just human under our skin. The possibilities are endless!

Carl Pettit is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.

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