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Ali Farzat: The bold comedian of Syria

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Ali Farzat: The bold comedian of Syria
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A renowned Syrian political cartoonist, Ali Farzad has published more than 15,000 caricatures in Syrian, Arab and international newspapers.

His drawings, typically without captions, are renowned for their scathing criticism and for depicting types rather than individuals. Farzat’s cartoons are universally appealing and depict relevant themes. Farzat's drawings critisised bureaucracy, cooruption and hypocracy within the government and the wealthy elite. His drawing won several international awards and is banned in many countries due to its satirical tone.

After the Syrian uprising, his caricatures portrayed actual figures like the President of Syria, Bashar al Assad. “I wanted to show people that they did not need to be scared any more”, he says. A group of masked gunmen loyal to Assad beat him brutally and damaged both his hands on the streets of Damascus in August 2011, shortly after publishing his last cartoon. Pictures of Farzat lying black-eyed and injured on a hospital bed shocked the world. "It was a big decision to start to draw Bashar and, yes, I was scared of what might happen, particularly when I was attacked," Farzat says. After the attack, he was forced to leave Syria.

In 2011 he received Sakharov Prize for peace. Farzat was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2012. He serves as the head of the Arab Cartoonists Association. The 62 year old artist now lives in Kuwait.

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