I am saddened to write that Cartoonists Rights Network reports that Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan has been executed by the Syrian regime after a sham trial.
Click on the photo to see a larger view. That’s me sitting on the stage at the lower right. Such sad news for the cartooning community.
Just last week, at the Humor Salon in St Just, I joined a nice assembly and demonstration by world cartoonists in support of Akram – at the time we all thought Akram was imprisoned, but he had already been murdered. Akram’s crime was to make people laugh at the Syrian dictator, Bashar Assad in his cartoons.
Truly tragic news. From the Cartoonists Rights Network report:
We’ve learned that on July 26, Akram Raslan and other prisoners of conscience including journalists, artists, singers and other intellectuals were secretly put on trial with no witnesses, no defense attorneys, no appeal, and no hope for justice. From unconfirmed and sketchy reports we learned that they were all condemned to life imprisonment.Somehow, along the way to prison young 28-year-old Akram Raslan (and possibly others) was peeled off, taken out and executed. He is reported to be in a mass grave somewhere near Damascus. Our reliable but for obvious reasons anonymous sources further allege that the murder of Akram and other condemned prisoners was carried out by Mohammad Nassif Kheir Bek, currently the Deputy Vice President for Security Affairs in Syria. He has already been sanctioned by the European Union for the use of violence against protesters and the Syrian civil war.Akram Raslan was the winner of the Cartoonists Rights Network International, Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning for 2013. Past award winners have hailed from Malaysia, South Africa, Turkey, Palestine, Iran, and India, including last year’s winner, Ali Ferzat, also from Syria.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.CRNI has been monitoring and assisting political cartoonists in trouble for the last 20 years. They are often victims of failing regimes stamping out criticism, drug cartels squashing investigations, corporate interest protecting money and political manipulation, and religious zealots stamping out thinking.About nine months ago young Akram Raslan was abducted from the offices of his newspaper and “disappeared” into the Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad’s prisons for the next six months. Readers might remember the case of Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat who in 2011 had his hands broken by the Syrian regime’s thugs. As they finished the job they told Ali that his broken hands would prevent him from disrespecting their master through his cartoons. Ali Ferzat was lucky. He survived the beating and eventually found safe haven in another Middle Eastern country. His revenge was to live to draw again.The hue and cry over this attack that grew from the world’s journalists and cartoonists must have made an impression on Bashir al-Assad. This time, a beating wasn’t enough. This time he decided to “disappear” the cartoonist permanently.
Here are my new cartoons! The big news the past couple of weeks has been the run up to war, and the run down from the rup up to war with Syria. Obama pitched the idea as hard as he could to a war-weary nation.
When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
Putin saw an opportunity to jump in with a plan to get Syria to give up their chemical weapons, putting a damper on Obama’s bombing plans.
I see that I have fallen behind on posting these. I’ll try to do better … so, there was a lot of Putin this week. Putin is fun, he’s easy to draw and he’s a funny character with his shirtless macho swagger that reminds me of Miley Cyrus’ twerking.
A lot of pundits were talking about how Putin and Russia had “put America into a box.” which reminded me of Marcel Marceau.
Putin looks pretty French in this cartoon, huh? Here’s Putin and Assad as the “Alien” from the “Alien” movies.
I notice whenever the cartoons are about foreign news, our traffic goes down. We need more Miley Cyrus. Here’s my most recent cartoon, about the budget showdown in Congress, that hasn’t been getting as much news as it would if other things weren’t always happening.
This one is a little surreal, a little disturbing, and a little stinky. The last one is an oldie that I drew fifteen years ago when I was a local cartoonist in Hawaii, and there was a controversy about how gifted kids were treated in schools – as conscripted labor because they “didn’t need to study with the others.” This is something I recall with my gifted daughter, Susie, who was often put to work tutoring other students, by her lazy public school teachers.
That’s it for this week. Now I’m back to life in Nashville. For a guy who doesn’t go to church, doesn’t like football, doesn’t care about music and shouldn’t eat too much bacon – remind me, why am I in Nashville again?
,war with syria