Two Arab cartoons

Two cartoons from Hajjaj at The first is Condoleeza Rice from 10-04-06 and was either censored or not published. I can’t make out what it says on the crescents, but I think the label on Condi says “Ra-ees” رايس or president. But what is she wearing? A properly long Arab shirt, or Western attire? cartoon-condoleeza-mahjoob-10-04-06.jpg

What I found most interesting about the drawing was the portayal of her legs. In the Arab world, women do not show their legs. Sometimes girls will even wear a thin long-john type garment under slacks so their ankles won’t show if the pant leg accidently rides up. Socks only come off in the middle of summer when temperatures reach 105 degrees. red-iraq-hajjaj-cartoon.jpg

The second picture is today’s cartoon and needs no comment. The two arms clearly arise from the Sunni and Shiite areas of Iraq, with the Kurdish areas untouched.

The political viewpoint of Hajjaj, which to me is very close to the Arab Street, reinforces the “civil war” theme rather than the “proxy war between Iran and the U.S.” theme that is gaining prominance here.


2 Responses to “Two Arab cartoons”

  1. adiamondinsunlight Says:

    dear Nijma,

    You have made a very understandable mistake. The Arabic word “president” has a hamzeh; the Arabic transliteration of Condoleezze RICE’s last name has a long alif.

    If you have followed Rice’s trips in the region, she always makes a point of wearing skirt suits. Besides, women in the Arab world (except Saudi Arabia) show their legs all the time. Even muhajjibat girls wear skirts just below their knees. What they do not show – and nor does Rice – is skin. Like her, they wear nylons or (for the more conservative) tights.

    The cartoon itself is fascinating. The man is trying to spot the Ramadan moon through his telescope, while she is dangling a “Shiite crescent” in front of it. This is a brilliant, and witty, commentary on contemporary politics and religious practice all in one.

  2. Nijma Says:

    Thanks for sorting out my Arabic. I can read it now–“al-Hallal al-Shee3ee” on Rice’s crescent and “Hallal Ramadan” behind it. I think Hajjaj is Palestinian, so he would be Sunni, but I’m still puzzled that this would be worthy of censorship. Jordan’s King Abdullah has made very public statements about the need to include Sunnis in the Iraqi political process.

    The cartoon’s implication is the Shiite dominance is only temporary or seasonal. Now that partition of Iraq is being discussed openly by U.S. presidential candidates, the possibility of disenfranchisement of the Sunnis seems more lasting, especially since they don’t have oil in their area.

    If satellite television is any indication, Lebanon where you live is much more cosmopolitan than Jordan, where I lived. The only place I ever saw skirts above the ankle in Amman was in the north part of Jebel Webdeh (south of Abdali bus station) on some of the older women. That neighborhood has a lot of Christians, but I don’t know if they were Christian.

    Some of the younger women did wear slacks with a jacket, but their jackets were cut longer, below the butt. They say it’s so the men can’t stare at their butts. Knowing the shebabs, I wouldn’t be surprised. Most Jordanian women wear the “jewelbab”–the ankle length dress with the three big buttons in front. They can wear this same thing when they are pregnant and it doesn’t show. But that is in the city. In Amman I wore a loose T-shirt with sleeves just past the elbow (like the sleeve length the cartoon shows on Rice), but I would not go into a rural area without my arms completely covered to the wrist.

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