Monday, June 30, 2008

The Middle East: A place with a lot of laughs, very bitter laughs

An old (and very popular) verse of old poetry that reads as follows in Arabic:
" كم ذا بمصر من المضحكات ---------- لكنه ضحك كالبكا "
It is translated from Arabic somewhat similar to the following:
For, in Egypt, there is a lot to laugh about ...
... but your laughter will sound more like crying.
This is not the case in Egypt only. The whole Middle East is a fulfillment of that centuries-old poetic verse. Many of the world's nations are filled with stupidity, poverty, greed and abuse. But the Middle East is special: it is where the depressing state of affairs goes hand in hand with the delusion of grandeur amongst the mighty rulers, and total despair amongst the people.
That despair is what immerses people is material hedonism or religious fatalism, and in some cases, a weird mix of both.
And with total thought control over everything, political cartoon and street-wise jokes have traditionally been the only venues for anything resembling expression of opinion.
The British Guardian Online has published a collection of political cartoons by several eminent cartoonist, and below is a small selection that I found very thoughtful, and painful. to see the full collection, please check the Guardian Online web site.
The comments next to the pictures are mine.

This will resonate with a lot of people here (in the US), as much as in the middle East.

You can easily apply this to most of the Arab world countries.

The next 2 cartoons are from Palestine: both are very deep and very sad.

The Graduation Party.

And finishing with this one:

To see the whole collection click here.
And for an article about it, click below:
Through a cartoon darkly
An exhibition of cartoons on the Middle East exposes the corruption, torture, venality and oppression common to region. By Ian Black for the British Guardian.

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