10 March 2017 by Graham Duncan
I was shocked and saddened to hear that on this day Bill Leak had died of a "suspected" heart attack.
The reaction to his death that followed in the media both surprised and dismayed me.
The kindest words came from some of those whom Bill had caricatured and satirised the most.
While the vitriolic comments came from some quarters Bill had stood up for. It seems the man was misunderstood by many.
Those Bill worked with obviously knew him to be the good and brave genious he was.
I came to respect his work and bravery back in 2003 at a time when the government of the day was trying to scare us all into going to war
yet again for no good reason, other than it was good for business and their opinion polls.
I wrote a letter to the editor which was published in The Weekend Australian 11-12 January, 2003, immediately below Bill's cartoon titled
'WAITING FOR GUNG-HO' and under the headline 'Be alert and alarmed: society under threat'.
It was also the fiftieth anniversary of the first production of the famous play 'Waiting for Godot' by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters,
Vladimir and Estragon, wait for the arrival of someone named Godot who never arrives.
The play has been studied and debated for fifty years as to it's meaning, but Beckett was known to be a pacifist, as I believe was Bill Leak.
I like to think Bill was depicting two bums waiting for Gung-Ho to go to war in IRAQ and commit war crimes,
but hoping Gung-Ho wouldn't show up.
Bill's cartoons often exposed the bad behaviour of people, whether they be aboriginal, islamic, religious or political extremists.
He was not a racist and I hope his clever cartoons are studied, debated and appreciated as long as Samuel Beckett's play.
BE ALERT AND ALARMED: SOCIETY UNDER THREAT
It is shocking how quickly our easy-going society has degenerated since the Tampa affair and the
September 11 disaster.
We have become obsessed with security and religious differences, and now war. This is because a few people who should know better (our leaders) have failed us.
They have allowed (in fact, helped) the public’s basic fears and prejudices to be exploited.
At the moment we must be alert, not alarmed. I am alarmed. It is reminiscent of the rise of Hitler or at
least the McCarthy era.
I was also alarmed to hear a recent report that a leading academic recommended the Government
perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether or not we should send troops to Iraq.
Since it appears none of our leaders can tell the simple difference between good and evil or right and
wrong, we will have to rely on the UN to protect us from US.
Somebody’s god, please help us.
(Published with the approval of Bill Leak and News Corp.)