Cartoonists use art to oppose TotalEnergies’ business with junta

UK-based cartoonist Carol Isaacs, also known as The Surreal McCoy, has won the #TotalCartoonChallenge, a competition organised by French campaign group Info Birmanie to protest oil company TotalEnergies’ business with the Myanmar military junta.

Carol’s winning cartoon shows blood dripping from a Total oil container and forming the shape of Myanmar.

It was horrifying to hear that Total has been continuing to fuel the oppression by doing business with and protecting the military dictatorship. Total are profiteering from the misery and the people of Myanmar are paying the price with their blood,” Carol told Myanmar Now.

Carol has deep ties to Myanmar, as her family fled the country as refugees during the Second World War. She has visited several times and is currently working on a graphic novel on her family’s history.

Info Birmanie launched the #TotalCartoonChallenge on social media 10 days before TotalEnergies’ May 28 annual shareholder meeting. The challenge aimed to increase TotalEnergies’ reputational risk because of their continued business with the military junta. The winning prize is publication in Myanmar Now.

“We know the challenge is symbolic and does not carry much weight by itself, but we hope that the sum of actions, such as the letter co-signed by more than 40 elected members of parliament in France, will generate enough momentum and visibility to force Total to stop financing the junta,” Info Birmanie assistant coordinator Arjuna Lebaindre told Myanmar Now.

The cartoon challenge is part of a series of creative actions to oppose the Myanmar coup. The Raise Three Fingers campaign, which Carol is part of, is a Myanmar initiative that calls on artists to create a three-fingered salute, the symbol of pro-democracy movements in Myanmar, Thailand and Hong Kong.

Info Birmanie is continuing its campaign against TotalEnergies’ business with the junta. They are now running an online petition calling for TotalEnergies to “block any payment to the military junta until the country is ruled by the democratically elected civilian government,” receiving almost 3,800 signatures since its launch.

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