This Post was originally written for Global Voices
One of Akram Ruslan’s cartoons that outraged Assad regime. Source: Cartoon Movement Blog. Used under CC BY 2.0
Featuring dictators considered among the greatest taboo freedom of expression and possible life-danger of cartoonists’ anywhere, anytime. Syrian cartoonist is not an exception as they suffered torture, loyalists attacks, and even death. Cartoons they draw yet reflecting lives of millions of Syrians and Arabs, nonetheless, have fund their way online through four years of uprising against Assad regime thanks to social media “free spaces”.
Assad acts towards his people have inspired Arab and foreign cartoonists who flooded the printed, digital, and social media portals with thousands of examples. We have sorted out 6 of Syrian artists with a short bio of each presented in a random order.
Not to forget, honorably, we have to mention 2 Syrian artists who suffered the most: Ali Farzat, internationally awarded artist, who has been beat up in exchange of mocking Assad in early days of the Syrian revolution, and Akram Ruslan who detained and reported killed for the same reason.
1. Hussam Sara
One of early revolution activists posting his drawing on his Facebook page. Worked for several Arabic newspapers in Bahrain. He is son of Fayez Sara, an opposition leader and a brother of Wisam Sarah, a martyr pacific activist who had been tortured to death in Assad prisons in Feb 2014. Hussam suffered [Ar] a physical attack in Bahrain as he draws Assad clearly in his work.
2. Kamiran Shemdin
Born in al-Qamishli, 1974, published his cartoons in Aljazeera website and Ge P magazine in Iraqi Kurdistan. In an interview with SyriaUtold he says: “The sight of the thousands of Syrians marching in the streets without fear and calling for the downfall of the regime gave me a feeling of solace and of being free myself. Despite my exile, I was a part of them with all my feelings.”
3. Amer M. Zughbi
Amer worked in several Arab newspapers, currently working Albayan in UAE newspaper and publishing on the AlJazeera website. He Won the Arab Journalism Award for best cartoonist in the Arab newspapers and publications for three times 2007, 2009 and 2013.
4. Firas Bachi
Born in 1979 in Damascus, has a B.A. in Economics in 2003 but still in love with art & drawing. Cartoonist, Caricaturist, and Advertising Art Director. On his Facebook page he describes his cartoons as: “againstall forms of dictatorship politics, human injustice, suppression & oppression, racism & discrimination. cartoons that dig to expose the fuzzy scenes in a world of injustice where surrendering suddenly became a habit, and supporting the unjust became a worship.” More of his works on FirasBachi.com
Assad as Pheron, Nobody stopped him. Source: Firas Bachi Facebook page. Used with permission.
5. Ahmad Jalal
Do you remember the infamous people of “Liberated Kafranbel” holding creative cartoons banners? Ahmed is behind them. His hobby before the revolution, turn him to be known as “Kafranbel Cartoonist”. He works within a group of young people filled with irony spirit and creativity in their village in the countryside of Idlib, Syria.
Assad and ISIS via Ahmed Jalal Facebook Page. Used under CC BY 2.0
6. Saad Hajo
Born in Damascus in 1968, graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, work in in “An-Nahar” and “ambassador” newspapers in Beirut, Lebanon. He has several published books, one of which tilted “بلاد العنف أوطاني” (meaning countries of violence are my homeland). Winner of the “Gabrovo Carton” award of humor and biennial art, 2005 Bulgaria.
Assad as eye doctor via Saad Hajo Facebook Page. Used under CC BY 2.0