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Black Banners in Sydney 1: a DoubleQuote in the Wild from Ardeet

[ by Charles Cameron — feeling kinship with the cartoonist who calls himself Ardeet ]

two images


As my regular readers know by now, I have a “form” I use for juxtaposing ideas — verbal, visual, and even mathematical on occasion — that I term DoubleQuotes, and I believe that juxtaposition, whether it be used to make a point of raise a question, is a standard feature of human thinking and a very powerful rhetorical device, yet little explored, critiqued, explained and appreciated.

In my view, when humans consistently use a certain way of doing things on many otherwise unrelated occasions, it’s a good bet that “sharpening” that way of doing things into a tool — making a point of it, if you like — will result in both practical and educational benefit.

Thus when I spot others using juxtapositions in a similar way, I call them DoubleQuotes in the Wild. They are an inspiration to me, confirming my hunch of the general utility and ongoing prevalence of the DQ principle.


Here, then, is a “DQ in the Wild” from cartoonist Ardeet:

Local situation

That’s powerful, the suggestion being that the world press takes an event where there’s a suggestion of possible jihadist involvement (“terrorism”) a lot more seriously than one where that is not the case (“spree killing”). While the hostage situation was playing out in Sydney, for instance, a US vet killed “his ex-wife and five of her relatives” in Pennsylvania, drawing far less media interest.


I could see how Ardeet’s cartoon could be read in that sense, but I wasn’t sure how he intended it, having been exposed recently to dozens of images of hands raised as a sign of the Ferguson protests.

A somwhat different pairing therefore suggested itself to me, one with a different emphasis:

SPEC DQ hands & banner

Here the point is not that an event moves from local to global interest when the jihadist’s black banner appears, but that the hostage-taking in Sydney offers a curious and ironic (albeit unintended) take on one of the chief symbols of the protests in and about Ferguson, while the Ferguson protest gesture adds resonance to the image of hostages forced to hold up the black banner in Sydney.


I have been talking about the “black banners from Khorasan” hadith an its Mahdist implications online since 2007 if not earlier, and on Zenpundit since September 2009, and I think a clarification is in order at this point.

The flag in the image from the Lindt cafe is not in fact the Daesh / Islamic State flag, and indeed the hostage-taker appears to have asked for a genuine Daesh / IS flag as one of his demands. The flag shown is a black flag containing the Shahada or Islamic profession of faith in white, and black flags in Islam have a history as war flags dating back to the time of the Prophet himself.

Two tweets from Aaron Zelin will clarify the matter visually:


More on this in Black Banners in Sydney 2: on flags and their meanings.

One Response to “Black Banners in Sydney 1: a DoubleQuote in the Wild from Ardeet”

  1. Richard Thompson Says:

    G’day Charles,
    “DoubleQuotes” was a new term for me, however I enjoy its neatness.
    I like the effect that DoubleQuotes can have on a message.
    I feel that when it hits the mark it can make the mind oscillate in a similar manner to the experience of being unable to visually resolve the direction of a cube wireframe drawn on a two dimensional surface.
    In my opinion, this has the effect of giving the message extra emphasis.
    Also, thanks for extra info on the flag in this and the ensuing post.

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