Robot 6

Government forces break the hands of Syrian political cartoonist

Ali Ferzat after his attack (via the Washington Post/Facebook)

Ali Ferzat after his attack (via the Washington Post/Facebook)

Look, I’m not even going to pretend to be familiar with the work of Ali Ferzat, a Syrian political cartoonist who has emerged as an outspoken critic of dictator Bashar al-Assad and his bloody crackdown against anti-government protestors over the past several months. But you can bet Assad and his regime know his work, and hate it, because their security forces abducted Ferzat, beat him, made a point of breaking his hands, and dumped him on the side of the road. This Washington Post article lays out the details as they are known right now, and included the terrifying Facebook picture above. The news comes via Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter, generally your best source for information on the pressures faced by political cartoonists worldwide.

Though people like Mike Diana, Jesus Castillo, and Christopher Handley provide us with sad exceptions to this rule, in general, no one in America is subject to legal (or extralegal) punishment for the comics they draw, sell, or consume. We’re lucky. And while it’s impossible not to be gobsmacked by not just the brutality but the arrogance of a government that would punish a cartoonist critic in such an overtly symbolic manner, it’s just as impossible not to be awed by the bravery of an artist who knows he’s up against a government that would do a thing like that, but goes up against them anyway.

You can express your support for Ferzat at this Facebook page. And why not take your wallet out and donate to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund while you’re at it?

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Comments

4 Comments

This is unspeakingly horrible.

It hits home just how lucky we are in this country, to have freedom of speech!

CBLD is great, but do they have any kind of legal say in Syria? Is there a fund for Ferzat’s medical needs or anything more substantial than a Facebook shout out?

Sean T. Collins

August 25, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Julian: Not that I’ve heard of yet. I will keep an eye out. As for the CBLDF, I don’t think ANYONE has any kind of legal say in Syria right now, Syrians least of all, but beyond that I’m not sure if they get involved with cases of this sort in other countries.

Barbaric. Godspeed to the nation’s rebels.

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