Sometimes an article doesn’t end up as it begins. I search for artists of Graphic Literature and am successful. But when I find them, sometimes I get a lesson beyond cool looking pictures and novels that I can see and interpret with very few words to get in the way of my imagination.
Take Maizin Shuja’a Al-Din of Yemen.
With the aim of entertaining and educating children, Shuja’a Al-Din publishes comics that discuss different issues including child labor, early marriage and education.
Newspaper publishers do not appreciate cartoonists in Yemen, Shuja’a Al-Din says. However, the lack of appreciation makes him “more determined to continue his work.”~yementimes.com
There is also Arwa Moukbel, a young female cartoonist. Now that’s a rarity in Yemen. She likes to speak her mind but her family keeps her in check so as not to, I guess basically get herself imprisoned or worse. Not exactly a lot of freedoms there.
Rashad Al-Sameai is probably one of the most if not the most popular right now. The former psychology studies 30 something year old creates from his heart and writes about bad habits and things that speak to the people. I’m not exactly certain what his work says so I’m not going to display it here. One somewhat popular comics site actually erased the text from a cartoonist’s work before putting it on their site, not Al-Sameai. But I would rather just not display it than alter it. If I can translate it at some point I’ll share it. But I do know he champions the rights of women and children.
Finally, Kamal Sharaf, actually spent a month in prison for, being forcibly removed from his home in 2010 after he challenged the then president Ali Abdullah Saleh. He still satires, and challenges. And even challenges the current president at times.
I think a big part of what Yemen cartoonist have a problem with is how other countries like to stick their noses in and treat the country like it belongs to them. I get that. Depending on the government at the time, you could be taking your freedom into your own pen. Imprisonment, death threats, and basic fear for family are common thoughts each day as these cartoonist deliver messages in one panel that a whole news show or book can’t explain. And you know what? You’ll remember the images.That news show? Not a chance.
I plan to expand this one a lot more as I find more cartoonist, have more time, and translate what I find.
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