What happens in the world is something completely separate from how it plays in the world. Every once in a while I like to look at the Arab press to see how something is playing. Here are a couple of Saddam cartoons I ‘m still trying to figure out. This one from Emad Hajjaj.
A number of individuals are standing with nooses around their necks looking at wristwatches. Does this refer to the two codefendents who were supposed to hang with Saddam whose sentences were postponed? But why so many? Maybe Saddam’s Baath party?
I have always been intrigued by Hajjaj. Superficially, the art reminds me of Doonesbury. His work used to appear in a Jordanian paper, but he was in trouble repeatedly for political reasons. Eventually he was banned from publishing. His cartoons feature an ordinary Arab guy with a big chin and a red and white kafiyyah head dress who comments on life, but that doesn’t seem to be the problem. If you look at his banned comics published on his website (somehow they don’t seem to get translated) they seem to depict rumors on the Arab street, but are a bit irresponsible with facts. For example, early in the march on Baghdad, there was a rumor about American troops sexually assaulting Arab women which turned out to be false. Before the factuality of the event could be determined Hajjaj drew a comic depicting this non-event. When this was proven to be a false rumor, the comic was not removed from the website but merely marked as censored. For now, I am displaying the icon to the site, just because it seems to be close to the “Arab street”, but I have some definate misgivings about the artist and the way he plays with the truth.
This one is by M. Hindawi:
The country Iraq is spelled ألعراق in Arabic. The ل on the right and the ر on the left are attached to the ع “ein” with the noose around it and have become straightened and illegible. Clearly without the letter “ein ” the word “Iraq” falls apart. I thought that was pretty subtle.
And there are a few threads about the funeral of Saddam that mourn him. After all he was Sunni and not an enemy of other Sunni nations like Egypt and Jordan. People have posted photographs of him, some pictured within the map of Iraq. Here are a couple of the emoticons people have posted in his memory.