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Cartoonists in peril

July 15, 2009 in Comment

najialaliCartoonists in this country might be feeling the pinch at the moment, but at least they don’t work under the threat of arrest, assault or even death.

In Honduras recently, cartoonist Allan McDonald (interview) was detained for 24 hours, had his studio ransacked and cartoons and drawing materials destroyed following the publication of several cartoons supporting ousted president Manuel Zelaya.

Similarly, in Mexico cartoonist Mario Robles was recently given the Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning by the Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) after a cartoon mocking a crackdown on public demonstrations led to death threats and an assualt.

In Iran, cartoonist Behzad Basho is being held in prison following the recent post-election uprising, and fellow Iranian Nik Kowsar is currently living in exile in Canada following arrests and death threats.

These threats and assaults are nothing new – in 1987 Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali (previously in Bloghorn) was murdered outside the London offices of a Kuwaiti newspaper. A collection of his cartoons, A Child in Palestine, has recently been published in the west for the first time.

by Royston

Political cartoon exhibition: Shooting the Witness

February 13, 2008 in General

Shooting the Witness, an exhibition by the Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his assassination in London, is at the Political Cartoon Gallery in London from March 6 until April 12.

Naji Al-Ali was one of the most prominent cartoonists in the Arab world. He had no political affiliations and the absence of slogans and dogma in his work brought both success and criticism. His bold and illustrative cartoons, widely published over the past 20 to 30 years, reveal the tragic state of the Middle East. His work sadly still rings true today.

His cartoons portrayed the bitter struggle and plight of the Palestinian people against Israeli oppression. He also campaigned against the absence of democracy, widespread corruption, and gross inequality in the Arab world. He was said to have antagonized virtually everyone in the Middle East.

He produced around 40,000 drawings, on average two cartoons a day, working for various publications in the Arab world. Naji Al-Ali draws a critique of all sides in the conflict, and the world’s complicity in the prolonged occupation of the Palestinians.

For the first time in London, 60 of Naji Al-Ali’s original artworks will be exhibited. The Political Cartoon Gallery is organising the exhibition in cooperation with the SOAS Palestine Society, the Nakba60 group, Cartoon County and the family of Naji Al-Ali.

The Political Cartoon Gallery, 32 Store Street, London WC1E 7BS, is open Monday to Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm and on Saturdays between 11.30am – 5.30pm.

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