Thursday, August 25, 2011
Ali Ferzat's Pen is Mightier than Bashar's Sword
It was like a bad flashback. In the 1980s Selim Al-Lawzy, editor of Al Hawadeth, a weekly critical of the Assad (senior) regime was found murdered and thrown on the roadside on the outskirts of Beirut. One remarkable detail stuck with me to this day. Both his hands were severely mutilated before he was killed. That detail stuck with me because of what it says of the viciousness of the people who committed the crime. It was not enough to kill the man, the tools of his trade, his mode of free expression, his hands had to be destroyed first. The message was clear to all those who would dare speak ill of the despot; even he knows that the pen is mightier than the sword.
Today, Ali Ferzat, the brilliant Syrian political cartoonist, was abducted by masked men in Damascus, savagely beaten and left at a roadside with both hands broken. Why? Because he dared express himself freely and speak his conscious openly and courageously; a recent cartoon apparently compared Bashar to Ghaddafi.