Source AP ©

United Nations exhibit editorial cartoons showing conflicts, hunger, racial discrimination and religious extremism

The three Magi climb a wall to reach Bethlehem. A young woman provocatively shows her lingerie, then is shown veiled and crying.

These are two in an exhibit of more than 40 editorial cartoons the United Nations hopes will raise awareness of conflicts, hunger, racial discrimination and religious extremism.

The exhibit opened in Rome Monday as part of a worldwide U.N.-backed tour.

Cartoonists from various countries contributed the works to mark U.N. International Day for Human Rights on Monday with drawings that dealt with events ranging from the repression of monks in Myanmar to the mass deaths in Darfur, Sudan.

"Cartoons are minimally verbal and they're mostly graphic, so they can go over language borders and they are effective; everybody takes a look at (them)," even people who do not read the whole newspaper, American cartoonist Jeff Danziger, whose work is in the exhibit, told The Associated Press.

Some of the cartoons deal with the war in Iraq and violence against women.

Visitors also see cartoons on a video screen. One shows a man holding a banner reading "Yankee Go Home" while next to him a U.S. soldier holds a banner reading "We Want To Go Home."

The poster for the exhibit - featuring a man tied to a chair - is the work of Hassan Karimzadeh, an Iranian cartoonist who was allegedly pressured not to come to Rome to present his work, said Jean Plantu, a political cartoonist for the French newspaper Le Monde and one of the organizers of the show. No one at the Iranian embassy in Rome was available Monday afternoon to comment on the allegation.

"We make drawings without knowing that we practice human rights everyday," said Plantu, who drew the woman in her lingerie. "Our language is the cartoon. My first language is not English, it is not French, my first language is the drawing."

The exhibit, in Rome's Auditorium, is backed by the U.N. Regional Information Center for Western Europe and runs through Jan. 10.

Plantu said the exhibit will travel to Jerusalem; Wellington, New Zealand; Berlin and Istanbul, Turkey.

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