This video interview is beautifully done by Samar Media, showing Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat at work and discussing the role of the cartoonist in society. Farzat also discusses, delightfully, the evolution of his work. I don’t know how to embed a non-YouTube video, but click and you’ll be taken to The Guardian website:
Farzat speaks of a number of things: the hope cartoons give, the horror of being kidnapped and beaten by state-affiliated thugs. Among them, he tells of how he was 12, he sent off his first cartoon to a Damascus paper. To his surprise, it ran on the front page. The editor sent him a letter full of praise, and added, “We would like to invite you to Damascus to collaborate with us.”
Young Farzat wondered how he would get to Damascus: “I was still a little boy; if someone knocked on the door, he wouldn’t even see me. He would have to look down to see me.”
“But,” he said, “I realized I was on the right track.”
Interviewers also asked him: How are your drawings different now than they were before your beating?
At first it was very difficult. My fingers were quickly stiff. Now it is a little better, but if I draw for a long time, it becomes painful. Especially in the nerves. It feels like they are electrified. But my hope is that my drawings are even stronger than before, a million times stronger.
More videos of Farzat, from Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera English: