What a contrast!?!UK vs Egypt cartooning

March 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

As I was browsing through the newspapers and online news sites of last week, my eye was caught by two articles on cartooning. The one from BBC News “Marriage mirth” announces the exhibition Royals and Commoners In and Out of Love. With the royal wedding just weeks away London’s Cartoon Museum is featuring a showcase of historic images of wedding related subjects including many cartoons on the Royal Family.

Steve Bell in the Guardian

(Funny, as I’m writing this I’m hearing two songs on the radio, “Death by Diamonds and Pearls” (Band of Skulls) and “Good Luck” (Basement Jaxx). Those words ‘Death by diamonds and pearls‘ and ‘totally deluded‘ seem to stick in my mind as i’m writing this post.. But I can’t really explain why)

The article in the Sunday Indepent (taken from the Washington post) AmidRevolution, Arab cartoonists draw attention talks about the role of cartoonists in the wake of the revolution and the freedom they enjoy now.

Oh boy oh boy, WHAT A CONTRAST!!

While cartoonists in the UK have been poking fun with the royal family for ages, cartoonists in Egypt for the first time in their live have been able to draw and publish a full image of Mubarak.
“Before the revolution, I [only] drew part of Mubarak — his big nose. When readers saw it, they knew what I meant,” says Okasha, who has received death threats over his work. “After the revolution, I am drawing Mubarak completely.”

Egyptian political cartoonist Sherif Arafa, 30, says: “It was impossible to criticize Mubarak in a governmental newspaper. The cartoon would never be published, and if it was, the editor in chief can lose his position and the cartoonist could get arrested.”

“I was working in a governmental newspaper, so I wasn’t allowed to criticize top officials and of course Mubarak,” Arafa says. “However, we had tricks to draw him in cartoons, such as cartooning him from the back.”

After the revolution, he says, “the first thing I did was cartoon Mubarak and publish it on the Cartoon Movement’s Web site. I finally published all the cartoons I had hidden in my drawers for many years.”



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