Cartoon satire of ‘development’

What is ‘development’? What is done in the name of development? Who ‘does’ development and who is it done to?

These are just some of the questions explored in a cartoon book launched earlier this year in India by the charity Survival: the movement for tribal peoples. The cartoon book There you go!, written by Oren Ginzburg, satirises the destruction of tribal peoples in the name of ‘development’ and has been designed to be read in two minutes.

The short comic, available for printing as a slideshow below (or for specific pages), challenges some of the underlying assumptions that we might have about expert officials who want to ‘bring sustainable development’ but instead leave the tribal peoples with poverty, pollution and a dependency on welfare.

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said of the cartoon,

This little book contains the big message that we must avoid the arrogance of presuming to know what’s best for those whose voices are not heard in global debates. It reminds us of our shared responsibility to see to it that all people are active participants in shaping the decisions that impact their lives. Only then can we hope to see real development.

Download, share and explore the issues further in your classroom or on your blog and join in the discussion!

•    Is this what ‘development’ looks like in practice?
•    What do you think of what Mary Robinson said?
•    What would you do differently if you were the briefcase-wielding official?