Cartoonist Ali Farzat says fear defeated in Syria

Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:17pm EDT
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By Marwa Awad

CAIRO (Reuters) - Cartoonist Ali Farzat's hand glides over the paper, once more creating the images of defiance he says have helped mobilize Syrians to revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.

Just over 12 months ago, the Syrian was kidnapped, beaten and burned in an attack he blamed on Syrian security police trying to silence him and stop him drawing the caricatures that protesters have waved aloft as they took to the streets.

His hands were smashed and he suffered facial burns, temporary loss of his eyesight and multiple broken bones.

One of Syria's most famous artists, Farzat earned recognition in the Arab world and beyond for stinging cartoons of Arab leaders such as Libya's Muammar Gaddafi and Iraq's Saddam Hussein and finally, Assad.

Farzat, 60, escaped to Kuwait to recuperate. Now in Egypt, which overthrew its own president in an 18 day uprising in 2011, Farzat told Reuters he was determined to continue his work and support those still seeking to topple Assad 19 months after they began.

"Everyday the revolution inches a step forward. I am very optimistic. Do you see anyone turning back?," he said, proudly gesturing with his hands to show they were back in action.

"Fear has been defeated in Syria when the people marched 19 months ago against tyranny.

"I began to directly draw people in power including Assad and his government officials, to break the barrier of fear, that chronic fear that Syrians suffered from for 50 years."   Continued...

Syrian leading cartoonist Ali Farzat poses with one of his works at his workshop in Damascus on January 31, 2001.