It seems that we get news of editorial cartoonists being laid off from newspaper jobs every couple of weeks, but it is unusual to hear of a cartoonist resigning from a rare newspaper job.
This week, our own Stephane Peray resigned from his job as the editorial cartoonist for the “Arab News” newspaper – a major daily newspaper in Saudi Arabia. Here is his letter of resignation, along with some of his cartoons that could not or would not run in Saudi Arabia. Some samples of Stephff’s cartoons about Saudi Arabia are below
To the management of the Arab News and to my readers, from Stephane “Stephff” Peray,
I’ve been very happy to work for the past 10 years with the Arab News, the leading daily English language newspaper in Saudi Arabia. Today I made a decision to resign with the newspaper because, since the Khashoggi scandal, I have a problem with the moral issues involved with the cartoons that are allowed to reprinted in Saudi Arabia.
Of course, my editors at the Arab News are not responsible for the war in Yemen, or for the assassination of a Saudi dissident journalist, still I face a difficult dilemma in deciding if I should continue to work with any media in Saudi Arabia.
For the past months, for obvious reasons, the Arab News couldn’t use any of my cartoons that were relevant to the Khashoggi affair and couldn’t publish any of my cartoons that relate to the war in Yemen – a war that killed thousands of innocent Yemeni children. In recent days, the Arab News cannot use any of my cartoons about the Saudi teenage girl, Rahaf, who escaped from Saudi Arabia and asked for asylum in Australia.
Sometimes I draw cartoons about my French government that has no problem with selling weapons to the Saudi government, exposing the double standard of western countries when it comes to choosing between human rights and lucrative defense contracts. If I keep publishing cartoons in a Saudi newspaper that will never publish any controversial cartoons, am I not guilty of hypocrisy myself?
I am just a cartoonist. I do not earn much money and taking the decision to resign from the Arab News was painful because I need the income, but I firmly believe that I must resign.
So I tender my immediate resignation from my collaboration with Arab News and ask my editors to please accept my apologies for any inconvenience I am causing to them by my abrupt departure. Please understand this has nothing to do with editors at the Arab News.