Thursday, May 1, 2008

Devil in a Red Dress

May Day has always been my favorite holiday of the year. Not only is it International Workers Day but in Northern Europe it is Walpurgis Night (or Vappu in Finland apparently). A quick trip to Wikipedia also confirms that it is Green Man Day. Much of this tradition derives from the pagan festival of Beltane although here in the US it is noted for the commemoration of the Haymarket Riot of 1886 in Chicago. This year it was also the "Día Sin Ningún Inmigrante" which was marked by huge protests and boycotts across the nation basically scare the shit out of all the bigots and politicians who are advocating the racist and inhumane H.P. 4437, the so called "Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control " bill currently winding its way through the U.S. Senate.

As a one time illegal immigrant myself I joined in the solidarity celebration dressed in devil horns to depict the demonizaction of Latino and other immigrant workers. People tend to forget that it's not just dish-washers and cleaners who come from other countries just to make a living. Cartoonists are immigrants as well. In fact the large number of US editorial cartoonists were born outside the country including Pat Oliphant (Australia), Lalo Alcaraz (Mexico), Oscar Berger (Czech Republic), Michael Ramirez (Japan) and Ann Telnaes (Sweden). Even Thomas Nast--inventor of the donkeys and elephant metaphors used for the US poliotical parties--was born in Germany.