Syrian Voices 2013

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Syrian Voices 2013

Post by Admin on Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:59 am

2013 2013 2013 <div><i style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: x-large;"></i><br /><div style="display: inline !important;"><i style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: x-large;"><img class="rg_i" data-src="http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcShAVZyuu9ATWryTbVngKGRDVG9KoG2rugNJLfD4sL9utffG3iT" data-sz="f" height="303" name="WynehkqggBJOHM:" src="http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcShAVZyuu9ATWryTbVngKGRDVG9KoG2rugNJLfD4sL9utffG3iT" style="margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;" width="400" /></i></div><i style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: x-large;"></i></div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"></span><br /><div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><b>I enjoyed this interview with the Syrian cartoonist - Ali Ferzat - which appeared in the Times the other day.</b></span></span></div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><b><br /></b></span></div><div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">I'm sure Ali Ferzat would struggle to bring forward completely conclusive, 100% proof that &nbsp;his cowardly attackers were agents of the Assad regime - yet I wouldn't put it past some of the wackier conspiracy theorists to argue that this was carried out by Israel - to give the Syrian Government a bad name. &nbsp;</span></div><div style="font-size: x-large; font-style: italic;"><br /></div><i style="font-size: x-large;">I can’t believe they’re Churchill’s grandchildren, says Syrian cartoonist</i></span><br /><div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><i><br />Ali Ferzat, whose work is being shown at the P21 gallery in London: “I want these cartoons to break the wall of fear" Richard Pohle Times photographer<br /><img src="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/multimedia/archive/00449/135922569__449653c.jpg" /></i></span></div><div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><i><a href="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/arts/visualarts/article3863872.ece#"></a><a href="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/arts/visualarts/article3863872.ece#"></a><br />Ali Ferzat clowns around, pulling faces for the camera. “Do I look like a terrorist to you?”<br /><br />He certainly does not, but the Syrian cartoonist is an enemy of the state: exile, dissident and Assad Provocateur.<br /><br />He wears biker boots, dark jeans and an artist’s neckerchief, which, together with his ginger beard and dancing eyes, project a rarefied air of intellect and mischief: Think Howard Jacobson, disguised as Fozzie Bear.<br /><br />But for all his good humour, Ferzat feels bitterly let down, as the world stalls over what to do in Syria. He feels let down, in particular, by the UN, the US and the anti-airstrike politicians of Westminster.<br /><br />“I cannot believe these are Churchill’s grandchildren,” he says, shaking his head, when we meet at an exhibition of his work in London.<br /><br />“Babies, women and children are under attack. Yet, the whole world steps back, ignoring its moral responsibility to protect them. I believe that is more damaging to humanity than anything the regime has done. Inaction is a worse crime than the crime itself.”<br /><br />Why did they vote against a military airstrike? he asks.<br /><br />Fear of further loss of life, I offer; of lighting a match in a gunpowder store, and drawing world powers into an assault with no clear objective, or long-term strategy.<br /><br />He scoffs. “That is so naive. Are they teenagers or parliamentarians?<br /><br />“Britain, with its role in the world, has a responsibility to do more than just turn its back and say ‘We don’t want war, or anything to do with it.<br /><br />“There are British councils and cultural centres all over the world, giving people knowledge and promoting democracy. If they want to apply democracy, they should start here. The red line has been crossed. What is the message they want to give, by doing nothing?<br /><br />“The problems will go on and on, if this regime is not confronted. They will affect the neighbouring countries and even reach the UK and the US too, so it is in their own interests to end this.”<br /><br />Ferzat, 62, is one of most prominent figures of contemporary Arab culture, beloved among Syrians and named by Time magazine last year as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.<br /><br />He sees no other solution but to advocate the bombing of a place he loves.<br /><br />“If the US and the UK show weakness, it will send a message to oppressive regimes around the world. Iran, Russia, North Korea: all these countries are watching to see if they are prepared to act on their word.<br /><br />“The people living in these regimes are watching too. If Syrians can be gassed with impunity, they will not even think of asking for democracy.”<br /><br />He is speaking through an interpreter but breaks off, asking to borrow some paper. He pulls out his pen to demonstrate a point. Western powers have the capability to strike the Assad regime where it hurts, he says, sketching a fighter jet. “They have the technology.” He doodles a crosshairs target. “It would be a very precise hit.”<br /><br />The black felt tip squeaks against the paper, as bombs morph into black figures brandishing machineguns.<br /><br />“We’re not asking for full intervention or victory to be handed to us on a golden plate. We’re asking them to protect women and children. Safe zones, no-fly zones. The international community has a moral responsibility to act.”<br /><br />He accuses the UN of abandoning the humanitarian ideals upon which it was founded. “They are like the mafia, concerned only with their own interests. At least with the mafia, you know what you’re dealing with. These people are like robots, hiding behind their positions.<br /><br />“If the UN can’t enforce its own charter, what is the point of it being there? We might as well return to the forest where it is every man for himself.” He apologises. “Bad example. Even the forest has its own laws of nature.”<br /><br />The five permanent members of the Security Council — China, France, Russia, US and the UK — he says, are not much better.<br /><br />“They are putting political interests before protecting people. It makes me very angry.”<br /><br />Ferzat cannot keep his fingers still. When he’s not drawing he plays with a bracelet of jade-coloured prayer beads, wrapped around his wrist. He’s not a religious man. They’re a present from a friend, he explains. “Helps with stress.”<br /><br />There has been a lot of that. In August 2011 <a href="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/middleeast/article3145781.ece">masked gunmen beat him up</a>, battering his hands.<br /><br />“They said they were breaking my fingers so I could not draw my masters. I thought I was going to die.”<br /><br />Weeks previously, the body of Ibrahim al-Qashoush, the composer of a popular protest song, was pulled from a river, with his vocal chords severed.<br /><br />The parents of Malik Jandali, an internationally acclaimed pianist, were beaten up the same month that their son performed a protest song in Washington.<br /><br />Pictures of Ferzat concussed and bloody in his hospital bed went viral, prompting cartoonists worldwide to sketch in solidarity. (One example depicted him, bandaged and black-eyed, raising one defiantly upright finger.)<br /><br />The attack marked the transgression of a personal red line by a man who had once walked into his gallery in Damascus and held out the hand of friendship.<br /><br />Throughout the 1970s, Ferzat’s work had appeared in state-run newspapers. By the 1980s, he was published internationally. Then, one day in 1996, a casually dressed young man paid him a visit.<br /><br />Bassel al-Assad, the charismatic elder brother who had been groomed for glory, was not long dead, and Bashar had been recalled from London where he had been studying ophthalmology<br /><br />“I didn’t recognise him at first, but I could see he had bodyguards so assumed he was a relative. He was trying to be nice. He complimented my work.”<br /><br />The future dictator even laughed at a cartoon, mocking security guards. “He pointed it out to his own guard, who just gave a fake smile.”<br /><br />It was the first of several unscheduled meetings. Mr Assad also approached other artists and actors.<br /><br />“He would ask me for advice, what I thought should be done to improve things. I suggested more independent newspapers.”<br /><br />Ferzat was granted permission to set up his own — al-Domari, “The Lamplighter”, the first independent periodical in Syria for 40 years.<br /><br />For three years it published cartoons and critical analysis before the dictator lost his sense of humour. Ferzat continued his work, keeping it allegorical and abstract, until the Arab Spring gave him the confidence to directly caricature Arab leaders. The figures he was lampooning were suddenly real and recognisable.<br /><br />Intimidation soon followed. Anonymous phonecalls were made to his home, threatening his wife and four children. ‘We’re going to fracture your skull,’ said the voice on the end of the line. “We’re going to crush you.”<br /><br />Ferzat was leaving his office in Damascus at 5am when he noticed the white car tailing him. It ploughed into the rear. Three men dragged him out, put a plastic bag over his head and tied his hands together with plastic handcuffs. “They were so tight, I thought they were going to cut off my hands.”<br /><br />He was dragged into an alley, near Umayyad Square, one of the biggest public spaces in the city.<br /><br />“One man held my left hand, the other held my right. They pushed my fingers right back, like this, until they broke, and beat my hands and arms with black, plastic batons. They said ‘the shoes of Bashar are worth more than your head’.”<br /><br />Having broken three fingers on one hand, five on the other, they threw him out of a speeding car on the airport road. He has kept the bloody shirt he was wearing at the time.<br /><br />“One day I’m going to frame it, alongside all the other prizes I have received. It will say, ‘This is the only prize I have received from the regime’.”<br /><br />Why does he continue? “I feel I’m doing this for the sake of a whole country, which is worth more than a single life.”<br /><br />He went to Kuwait for medical treatment with his family, and stayed there. “My supporters say they need me alive. All these years, we could not hear our own voices. We were afraid to use them. Now, we’re making our voices heard and it’s priceless.”<br /><br />I ask him to sign a postcard of one of his cartoons. He wrote: “For Lucy, may tomorrow bring a more beautiful day.”<br /><br />“I miss Syria. I hope to return one day. I would like to invite you, when things are better,” he said.<br /><br />Before leaving he points to one of his cartoons on the gallery wall. It shows a puny Bashar Assad flexing his muscles in front of a mirror that duly reflects back a magnificent image of a towering strongman.<br /><br />“I did that while I was still in Syria,” he says. “Courage!” He says the word in English, flexing his own tiny muscles in triumph.<br /><br />“I want these cartoons to break the wall of fear. It is not easy to take that wall down. But I feel it is the right thing to do.”</i></span></div><br> 2013 2013 2013 <br><div><i style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: x-large;"></i><br /><div style="display: inline !important;"><i style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: x-large;"><img class="rg_i" data-src="http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcShAVZyuu9ATWryTbVngKGRDVG9KoG2rugNJLfD4sL9utffG3iT" data-sz="f" height="303" name="WynehkqggBJOHM:" src="http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcShAVZyuu9ATWryTbVngKGRDVG9KoG2rugNJLfD4sL9utffG3iT" style="margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;" width="400" /></i></div><i style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: x-large;"></i></div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"></span><br /><div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><b>I enjoyed this interview with the Syrian cartoonist - Ali Ferzat - which appeared in the Times the other day.</b></span></span></div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><b><br /></b></span></div><div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">I'm sure Ali Ferzat would struggle to bring forward completely conclusive, 100% proof that &nbsp;his cowardly attackers were agents of the Assad regime - yet I wouldn't put it past some of the wackier conspiracy theorists to argue that this was carried out by Israel - to give the Syrian Government a bad name. &nbsp;</span></div><div style="font-size: x-large; font-style: italic;"><br /></div><i style="font-size: x-large;">I can’t believe they’re Churchill’s grandchildren, says Syrian cartoonist</i></span><br /><div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><i><br />Ali Ferzat, whose work is being shown at the P21 gallery in London: “I want these cartoons to break the wall of fear" Richard Pohle Times photographer<br /><img src="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/multimedia/archive/00449/135922569__449653c.jpg" /></i></span></div><div><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><i><a href="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/arts/visualarts/article3863872.ece#"></a><a href="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/arts/visualarts/article3863872.ece#"></a><br />Ali Ferzat clowns around, pulling faces for the camera. “Do I look like a terrorist to you?”<br /><br />He certainly does not, but the Syrian cartoonist is an enemy of the state: exile, dissident and Assad Provocateur.<br /><br />He wears biker boots, dark jeans and an artist’s neckerchief, which, together with his ginger beard and dancing eyes, project a rarefied air of intellect and mischief: Think Howard Jacobson, disguised as Fozzie Bear.<br /><br />But for all his good humour, Ferzat feels bitterly let down, as the world stalls over what to do in Syria. He feels let down, in particular, by the UN, the US and the anti-airstrike politicians of Westminster.<br /><br />“I cannot believe these are Churchill’s grandchildren,” he says, shaking his head, when we meet at an exhibition of his work in London.<br /><br />“Babies, women and children are under attack. Yet, the whole world steps back, ignoring its moral responsibility to protect them. I believe that is more damaging to humanity than anything the regime has done. Inaction is a worse crime than the crime itself.”<br /><br />Why did they vote against a military airstrike? he asks.<br /><br />Fear of further loss of life, I offer; of lighting a match in a gunpowder store, and drawing world powers into an assault with no clear objective, or long-term strategy.<br /><br />He scoffs. “That is so naive. Are they teenagers or parliamentarians?<br /><br />“Britain, with its role in the world, has a responsibility to do more than just turn its back and say ‘We don’t want war, or anything to do with it.<br /><br />“There are British councils and cultural centres all over the world, giving people knowledge and promoting democracy. If they want to apply democracy, they should start here. The red line has been crossed. What is the message they want to give, by doing nothing?<br /><br />“The problems will go on and on, if this regime is not confronted. They will affect the neighbouring countries and even reach the UK and the US too, so it is in their own interests to end this.”<br /><br />Ferzat, 62, is one of most prominent figures of contemporary Arab culture, beloved among Syrians and named by Time magazine last year as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.<br /><br />He sees no other solution but to advocate the bombing of a place he loves.<br /><br />“If the US and the UK show weakness, it will send a message to oppressive regimes around the world. Iran, Russia, North Korea: all these countries are watching to see if they are prepared to act on their word.<br /><br />“The people living in these regimes are watching too. If Syrians can be gassed with impunity, they will not even think of asking for democracy.”<br /><br />He is speaking through an interpreter but breaks off, asking to borrow some paper. He pulls out his pen to demonstrate a point. Western powers have the capability to strike the Assad regime where it hurts, he says, sketching a fighter jet. “They have the technology.” He doodles a crosshairs target. “It would be a very precise hit.”<br /><br />The black felt tip squeaks against the paper, as bombs morph into black figures brandishing machineguns.<br /><br />“We’re not asking for full intervention or victory to be handed to us on a golden plate. We’re asking them to protect women and children. Safe zones, no-fly zones. The international community has a moral responsibility to act.”<br /><br />He accuses the UN of abandoning the humanitarian ideals upon which it was founded. “They are like the mafia, concerned only with their own interests. At least with the mafia, you know what you’re dealing with. These people are like robots, hiding behind their positions.<br /><br />“If the UN can’t enforce its own charter, what is the point of it being there? We might as well return to the forest where it is every man for himself.” He apologises. “Bad example. Even the forest has its own laws of nature.”<br /><br />The five permanent members of the Security Council — China, France, Russia, US and the UK — he says, are not much better.<br /><br />“They are putting political interests before protecting people. It makes me very angry.”<br /><br />Ferzat cannot keep his fingers still. When he’s not drawing he plays with a bracelet of jade-coloured prayer beads, wrapped around his wrist. He’s not a religious man. They’re a present from a friend, he explains. “Helps with stress.”<br /><br />There has been a lot of that. In August 2011 <a href="http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/middleeast/article3145781.ece">masked gunmen beat him up</a>, battering his hands.<br /><br />“They said they were breaking my fingers so I could not draw my masters. I thought I was going to die.”<br /><br />Weeks previously, the body of Ibrahim al-Qashoush, the composer of a popular protest song, was pulled from a river, with his vocal chords severed.<br /><br />The parents of Malik Jandali, an internationally acclaimed pianist, were beaten up the same month that their son performed a protest song in Washington.<br /><br />Pictures of Ferzat concussed and bloody in his hospital bed went viral, prompting cartoonists worldwide to sketch in solidarity. (One example depicted him, bandaged and black-eyed, raising one defiantly upright finger.)<br /><br />The attack marked the transgression of a personal red line by a man who had once walked into his gallery in Damascus and held out the hand of friendship.<br /><br />Throughout the 1970s, Ferzat’s work had appeared in state-run newspapers. By the 1980s, he was published internationally. Then, one day in 1996, a casually dressed young man paid him a visit.<br /><br />Bassel al-Assad, the charismatic elder brother who had been groomed for glory, was not long dead, and Bashar had been recalled from London where he had been studying ophthalmology<br /><br />“I didn’t recognise him at first, but I could see he had bodyguards so assumed he was a relative. He was trying to be nice. He complimented my work.”<br /><br />The future dictator even laughed at a cartoon, mocking security guards. “He pointed it out to his own guard, who just gave a fake smile.”<br /><br />It was the first of several unscheduled meetings. Mr Assad also approached other artists and actors.<br /><br />“He would ask me for advice, what I thought should be done to improve things. I suggested more independent newspapers.”<br /><br />Ferzat was granted permission to set up his own — al-Domari, “The Lamplighter”, the first independent periodical in Syria for 40 years.<br /><br />For three years it published cartoons and critical analysis before the dictator lost his sense of humour. Ferzat continued his work, keeping it allegorical and abstract, until the Arab Spring gave him the confidence to directly caricature Arab leaders. The figures he was lampooning were suddenly real and recognisable.<br /><br />Intimidation soon followed. Anonymous phonecalls were made to his home, threatening his wife and four children. ‘We’re going to fracture your skull,’ said the voice on the end of the line. “We’re going to crush you.”<br /><br />Ferzat was leaving his office in Damascus at 5am when he noticed the white car tailing him. It ploughed into the rear. Three men dragged him out, put a plastic bag over his head and tied his hands together with plastic handcuffs. “They were so tight, I thought they were going to cut off my hands.”<br /><br />He was dragged into an alley, near Umayyad Square, one of the biggest public spaces in the city.<br /><br />“One man held my left hand, the other held my right. They pushed my fingers right back, like this, until they broke, and beat my hands and arms with black, plastic batons. They said ‘the shoes of Bashar are worth more than your head’.”<br /><br />Having broken three fingers on one hand, five on the other, they threw him out of a speeding car on the airport road. He has kept the bloody shirt he was wearing at the time.<br /><br />“One day I’m going to frame it, alongside all the other prizes I have received. It will say, ‘This is the only prize I have received from the regime’.”<br /><br />Why does he continue? “I feel I’m doing this for the sake of a whole country, which is worth more than a single life.”<br /><br />He went to Kuwait for medical treatment with his family, and stayed there. “My supporters say they need me alive. All these years, we could not hear our own voices. We were afraid to use them. Now, we’re making our voices heard and it’s priceless.”<br /><br />I ask him to sign a postcard of one of his cartoons. He wrote: “For Lucy, may tomorrow bring a more beautiful day.”<br /><br />“I miss Syria. I hope to return one day. I would like to invite you, when things are better,” he said.<br /><br />Before leaving he points to one of his cartoons on the gallery wall. It shows a puny Bashar Assad flexing his muscles in front of a mirror that duly reflects back a magnificent image of a towering strongman.<br /><br />“I did that while I was still in Syria,” he says. “Courage!” He says the word in English, flexing his own tiny muscles in triumph.<br /><br />“I want these cartoons to break the wall of fear. It is not easy to take that wall down. But I feel it is the right thing to do.”</i></span></div><br>2013 2013 2013 <br> <a href="http://www.matrixar.com/" title="Matrix ">المصفوفة : أجمل الخلفيات والصور</a>

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