Today is one of the gloomiest days in Syria history and in history of self expression and creativity. Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat was kidnapped by non-identified people, in the center of Damascus, blinded and furiously beaten. Then he was abandoned, while bleeding, in the road to Damascus airport.
“Many people just passed by”, told me his son, who I have been knowing for a long time, a poet and TV director. “They were probably too scared to help him, intimidated by the violence”.
His hands have been broken, a clear warning against his creativity which has always been critical of power.
Ferzat, 60, was born in Hama. He was the founder of “Doumari”, the most important satirical newspaper in Syria. In the 80s, he started publishing on Le Monde and came to be known as one of the most creative and critical intellectuals in the Arab world.
Some of his most recent caricatures have heavily criticized Syrian government and especially some prominent business-figures, like Rami Makhlouf (owner of Syriatel telco company) closely related to the ruling family.
(the drawing says : Rami Makhlouf)
So far, Syrian government has not expressed any official statement or feeling whatsoever in reaction of what happened to Ali Farzat. Syrian state news agency Sana has not reported the news yet, while all international and Arab media outlets have, since this morning.
(the guy is pointed at as “mn7hbbakji”, an expression taken from “mn7hbbak” -we love you- a slogan widely used in Presidential campaign in support of Bashar al Asad).