Monday, October 14, 2013

Cartoons to Die For?

Image: Akram Raslan

Via the Cartoonists Rights Network - hat-tip Mike Lynch's vigilance - comes (update - possible) news of Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan's execution for "...various crimes including sedition and disrespecting the head of state. The only evidence against him was his Facebook posted cartoons encouraging people to laugh at the dictator." Humbling perspective while making fun of the usual idiots here at home, and a cautionary lesson in how, if given true power, many of them would do the same.
“Here in the United States we are experts in the knowledge that editorial cartooning is a dying art. In other areas of the world, however, it is an art that people die for.” - Dr. Robert Russell


  1. Hi Jaime, according to Comic Riffs from the WaPo, this death is not confirmed. it's impossible to say what is going on re his case right now. There is too much turmoil. It is clear that he is, if not dead, in great peril . It's nauseating to think of this brave man's life in the hands of a brutal warrior king like Asssad.

  2. Thanks Peter: duly modified. Maybe he'll only have his hands broken like Ali Fezrat...

  3. I hope that Peter is right -- that Raslan is indeed alive, but merely in danger. Unfortunately, CNR may be correct that the fearless cartoonist was executed at the end of July. This is all too horrible for words.

  4. Some people really hate to be laughed at. The ability to take it is a continuum like nearly every other human characteristic. Making fun of iron-fisted tyrants is particularly dicey, especially if it seems to be working.

    In the case of editorial cartooning the drawing is not necessarily outright funny so much as it is a graphic distillation of one or more paradoxes of official behavior. In either case, if it cuts too precisely the result may be like flicking a rhinoceros on the ear. Totalitarians don't care what you think and don't want anyone else to care either.

  5. A good metaphor: around this neck of the woods it's be a moose. And like many other large mammals of the tundra, they may look dumb and act kinda slow, pissing them off is a bad idea.