Friday, April 14, 2017

Embedded Political Messages in X-Men Gold

The X-Men series touches on mutants who are persecuted by society

The 'QS 5:51' is a reference to a passage in the Quran

In this panel, the numbers "212" referenced a significant political date in Jakarta, Indonesia
All pics credit to

Marvel Comics made an apology when one of their illustrators made hidden hints to an ongoing political blowup in Indonesia. 
The imagery included by Indonesian Muslim Ardian Syaf, a freelance contributor to Marvel, was called "bigoted" and he was accused of "spreading hatred" by social media users. Some even saw anti-Semitic sentiment in his artwork.
The maiden issue of Marvel's latest X-Men Gold series was released in early April 2017. Marvel had since said they will take the offending references out of subsequent print editions, as well as take disciplinary action.
The said artist had spoken to Indonesian media following the controversy, saying while he was expressing a political view, he was not trying to spread hate.
The two politically-charged mentions in the comic:
The first reference was spotted on metallic Russian mutant Colossus, who wears an innocent-looking T-shirt during a baseball game. The shirt has the words 'QS 5:51' on it – a reference to a passage in the Quran interpreted by some to mean that Muslims should not appoint Jews and Christians as their leader.
The number 51 also appeared elsewhere throughout the issue, further referencing the passage.
The reason this is controversial is because it is widely seen as a reference to the case against the governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (widely known as Ahok). Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent, is currently on trial for blasphemy.
He has angered hard-core Muslims after he referenced the passage while campaigning last year. The prosecution says he insulted Islam but Purnama insisted his comments were aimed at politicians "incorrectly" using the Quranic verse to make a case against his re-election.
The second reference came in a panel scene involving mutant and X-Men leader Kitty Pryde, who was seen addressing a crowd on the street. The number "212" is written on a wall in this scene.
Many readers noted its significance – the largest-ever street protest organized by hardline Muslim demonstrators against Purnama took place on December 02, 2016 (hence 2-12 for 2 December). 
Ardian Syaf had previously confessed to participating in this rally.
Marvel had already distanced themselves from the above mischief and issued the following statement: "The mentioned artwork was inserted without knowledge behind its reported meanings. These implied references do not reflect the views of the writer, editors or anyone else at Marvel and are in direct opposition of the inclusiveness of Marvel Comics and what the X-Men have stood for since their creation".
The X-Men are mutants who tackle bigotry as they fight for equality and peace with humans.
Illustrator Gary Choo, who previously worked on Marvel artwork and covers, said planting political opinions and ideals into comics isn't something new.
"Politics should continue to find its way into comic books", he told the BBC. "But for what Marvel represents, this episode definitely did not fit into Marvel's storytelling".
On Thursday, I was at the lunch-time meeting of the Ireka Toastmasters Club. I was a Speech Evaluator.

And in the evening, I was in Shah Alam for the Zuellig Pharma Toastmasters meeting and where I evaluated two CC speeches. 

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