Ali Ferzat

Syrian political cartoonist

Ali Ferzat is a Syrian political cartoonist known for satirical caricatures. In 1989, he received a death threat from Saddam Hussein and was banned from traveling to Iraq, Jordan, and Libya after one of his exhibitions in Paris included cartoons critical of Hussein and other dictators in the region. Ferzat ran his own independent periodical for two years—Al-Dormari—before government censorship forced him to cease production. In 2002, he was honored with the Prince Claus Award for “achievement in culture and development.” When the Syrian uprising began in 2011, Ferzat’s cartoons became increasingly critical of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the brutality of the regime’s crackdown. Protesters began using Ferzat’s caricatures as symbols on posters and placards. In August 2011, masked gunmen assaulted Ferzat and broke both of his hands and his fingers, sending a clear message of intimidation and retaliation for his work. More than 15,000 of his cartoons have been published in Arab-language and international newspapers. He is the head of the Arab Cartoonists’ Association. He now lives in exile in Kuwait.

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