"Au contraire… Only two laps to go—the presidency and the parliament," says the race-car driver.
In Mustafa Hussein’s cartoon for Al-Akhbar, a state newspaper, Mother Egypt is suped up for Formula 3/7, a reference to July 3, 2013, when the military ousted former President Morsi. 
The dragster reads, “Road Map,” a reference to the military’s transition plan, now in its tenth month. Presidential balloting, set for May 26-27, will be an important sign post. The race is on.
With so many symbols packed into this cartoon, I had a few questions:
Why does Hussein always personify the country as a woman?
Why is she labeled in both Arabic and English, as opposed to her usual Arabic crown?
What is the significance of the race car? (To me, the implication is that Egypt’s “Road Map” is rushed, haphazard, and dangerous).
Who is Mother Egypt talking to? What is the voice on the other line saying? “Abadan,” which can mean "au contraire,” "on the contrary" or "never!" suggests that the caller asked a provocative question. 
Perhaps the caller is asking, “Is the transition almost over?” Thus, Mother Egypt’s reply would be: not yet, we still need a parliament.
Why the emphasis on the parliament? Hussein’s cartoons have driven home the threat of terrorism and violent youth of late—why is he prioritizing a parliamentary election now?


Portrait of cartoonist Mustafa Hussein, 79 years of age and head of the Egyptian Society of Caricature (via Vetogate).
***More of Hussein’s illustrations here here here here here and here . Plus stay ‘tooned for a longer analysis of national personification, Egypt as a woman, and the battle for symbols in Egyptian cartoons.

"Au contraire… Only two laps to go—the presidency and the parliament," says the race-car driver.

In Mustafa Hussein’s cartoon for Al-Akhbar, a state newspaper, Mother Egypt is suped up for Formula 3/7, a reference to July 3, 2013, when the military ousted former President Morsi. 

The dragster reads, “Road Map,” a reference to the military’s transition plan, now in its tenth month. Presidential balloting, set for May 26-27, will be an important sign post. The race is on.

With so many symbols packed into this cartoon, I had a few questions:

  • Why does Hussein always personify the country as a woman?
  • Why is she labeled in both Arabic and English, as opposed to her usual Arabic crown?
  • What is the significance of the race car? (To me, the implication is that Egypt’s “Road Map” is rushed, haphazard, and dangerous).
  • Who is Mother Egypt talking to? What is the voice on the other line saying? “Abadan,” which can mean "au contraire,” "on the contrary" or "never!" suggests that the caller asked a provocative question. 
  • Perhaps the caller is asking, “Is the transition almost over?” Thus, Mother Egypt’s reply would be: not yet, we still need a parliament.
  • Why the emphasis on the parliament? Hussein’s cartoons have driven home the threat of terrorism and violent youth of late—why is he prioritizing a parliamentary election now?

Portrait of cartoonist Mustafa Hussein, 79 years of age and head of the Egyptian Society of Caricature (via Vetogate).

***
More of Hussein’s illustrations here here here here here and here . Plus stay ‘tooned for a longer analysis of national personification, Egypt as a woman, and the battle for symbols in Egyptian cartoons.

"The Mighty Hero"—Look what I stumbled upon at a newsstand along the Nile.

For more on Arabic translations of superhero comics, see my post from January. 

"In the morning, Ahmed and Hossam go to the university…
In the evening, Ahmed and Hossam return from the university.”

Egypt’s universities are sites of violence. Last week, three explosions went off at Cairo University, killing a policeman and injuring five. 
Ongoing clashes at universities have postponed classes and led to myriad detentions, injures and deaths. I hope that a media or watchdog organization publishes a thorough report on the subject. At first glance there’s no news article that captures how turbulent and deadly universities have been since the summer.
Anwar has frequently devoted his page-three cartoon in the country’s largest circulation independent paper, Al-Masry Al-Youm, to this very issue. He continues to draw attention to the violence on campuses—how students are struggling, afraid to go to classes.
If there’s one collegiate institution that seems immune to campus clashes it’s the American University in Cairo (where I happen to work). That lush oasis in the middle of the New Cairo desert, with metal detectors and guards at each entrance, feels like it’s in another country entirely.
In fact, two AUC students are currently incarcerated. So far, the student newspaper The Caravan is the only outlet to have covered the story:

Mechanical Engineering student Abd El Rahman Boghdady and Abdallah Ghandour, a Computer Science junior, were arrested by police December 20 during a protest calling for an end to military rule and for the release of political detainees.
Their arrest came less than a month after the then-newly enacted protest law, which prohibited “unsanctioned gatherings” of 10 people or more.


Students at the sit-in called on the university administration to pressure the Interior Ministry to release Boghdady and Ghandour [Nour Ihab Hanna]
***
Now it’s our job to learn the names of the others, the detained and arrested — to tell their stories.
That’s what Anwar’s cartoon is calling on us to do.

"In the morning, Ahmed and Hossam go to the university…

In the evening, Ahmed and Hossam return from the university.”

Egypt’s universities are sites of violence. Last week, three explosions went off at Cairo University, killing a policeman and injuring five. 

Ongoing clashes at universities have postponed classes and led to myriad detentions, injures and deaths. I hope that a media or watchdog organization publishes a thorough report on the subject. At first glance there’s no news article that captures how turbulent and deadly universities have been since the summer.

Anwar has frequently devoted his page-three cartoon in the country’s largest circulation independent paper, Al-Masry Al-Youm, to this very issue. He continues to draw attention to the violence on campuses—how students are struggling, afraid to go to classes.

If there’s one collegiate institution that seems immune to campus clashes it’s the American University in Cairo (where I happen to work). That lush oasis in the middle of the New Cairo desert, with metal detectors and guards at each entrance, feels like it’s in another country entirely.

In fact, two AUC students are currently incarcerated. So far, the student newspaper The Caravan is the only outlet to have covered the story:

Mechanical Engineering student Abd El Rahman Boghdady and Abdallah Ghandour, a Computer Science junior, were arrested by police December 20 during a protest calling for an end to military rule and for the release of political detainees.

Their arrest came less than a month after the then-newly enacted protest law, which prohibited “unsanctioned gatherings” of 10 people or more.

Students at the sit-in called on the university administration to pressure the Interior Ministry to release Boghdady and Ghandour [Nour Ihab Hanna]

***

Now it’s our job to learn the names of the others, the detained and arrested — to tell their stories.

That’s what Anwar’s cartoon is calling on us to do.

See the Pyramids Along the Nile

The Egyptian Society for Caricature, along with the Minister of Culture and other official bodies, inaugurated the First International Cartoon Gathering last night. At the Cairo Opera House’s spacious Palace of the Arts, five large galleries displayed 500 cartoons from Egyptian and international artists.

That the launch was on April 6, the anniversary of iconic labor protests against former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2008, was either an oversight or a slight. “There will be problems in the country,” Akhbar Al-Youm cartoonist Hany Shams had warned the organizers beforehand. But the Ministry of Culture said that April 6 was the only available date. 

Tahrir Square was closed for much of the day, and hundreds of protesters instead demonstrated in front of the Journalists and Lawyers Syndicates, a throwback to the pre-uprising days.

Upon entering the Palace of Arts, dozens of examples of Egyptomania were given prime billing, though the illustrations looked tiny compared to the high-ceiling. On the caricature-steeped walls, works of European, Arab and Egyptian cartoonists commingled. Over a hundred guests, including distinguished cartoonists, trailed by video cameras and SLRs, strolled through the sprawling galleries.

Egypt was depicted as pharaohs and sphinxes, hieroglyphs and sand dunes; stuff about politics was relegated to the back galleries. 

Ukrainian cartoonist Vladimir Kazanevsky’s pyramid homage was the gathering’s centerpiece. Surrounded by clicking cameras, Hany Shams asked his Ukrainian colleague what drew him to Egyptian imagery. Kazanevsky explained that very origins of cartooning could be traced to the walls of pharaohs’ tombs. The facial expressions of ancient cats and dogs inspire him.

As for the ongoing revolution in back home, Kazanevsky said that his countrymen had learned from the Egyptian protesters—“We took [the idea of] burning tires from Cairo.” As for his impressions of Egyptian caricaturists, the Ukrainian said that in all countries, “there is a growth of cartooning after revolutions,” citing Japan and Iran.

So why are cartoonists from 64 countries drawing Egypt’s pharaonic past while overseeing its turbulent present? Egyptomania reinforces the idea of an Egypt that is incomprehensible and astonishing—a country that was once ahead of its time but is now backward. Such cartoons perpetuate these fantasies without questioning their relevance. There is no attempt to comprehend how this past relates to the present. It’s ahistorical and thus needn’t engage with today’s politics.

To be sure, Egyptians should be proud of their rich history, its stunning and complex art and architecture. But Egyptians must also be proud of today’s state of flux. That’s the material cartoonists must address.

Dozens lingered in the foyer, taking selfies in front of the scarabs and papyrus pastiches. I searched for a cartoon among the 500 that depicted the police or the military. There was only one gag: a robber (in cartoonish striped jail clothes) being chased by an officer, because the former had tried to steal a pyramid.

The walls were over-saturated. Tucked away in upstairs galleries, there were plenty of political cartoons, and I’ll have to go back to read them more closely. (500 cartoons! That could take days.) 

But on April 6, 2014, a five-minute walk from Tahrir Square, there was no space to discuss politics. 

"The Presidential Race!"
Where to start with this pithy cartoon by Walid Taher?
It’s from Egypt’s most independent newspaper, Al-Shorouk. The character says, “The Presidential Race,” but it looks more like competition between the tortoise and the hare. 
Before him rolls a tank and a bicycle. The former signifies the military’s latest foray into politics, of course. So does the latter.
This week, photos of retired Field Marshal Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi in a tracksuit, beside a Peugeot bike, made the social media rounds. When Sisi announced his presidential bid last week, he said it would be the last time he would wear a military uniform. Who knew he was trading it for Adidas? 
So Walid uses the bicycle rather than a business suit to symbolize the presidential bid.The two-wheeler appears to be winning the race, too.
Is the cartoonist playing with fire by drawing a joke about the Armed Forces?
Not so fast. The soft-spoken Walid, who looks a lot like the gentleman speaking in today’s cartoon, told me last spring:

I don’t see any red lines, except the social taboos—don’t draw naked girls or people making love. These are understandable lines and they don’t bother anyone, because in the end these are social limits.
I don’t fear anything. I don’t know, maybe there is a beast that I don’t see. But I don’t see it!  


More posts featuring Walid Taher: 
here here here here here here here here and here.

"The Presidential Race!"

Where to start with this pithy cartoon by Walid Taher?

It’s from Egypt’s most independent newspaper, Al-ShoroukThe character says, “The Presidential Race,” but it looks more like competition between the tortoise and the hare. 

Before him rolls a tank and a bicycle. The former signifies the military’s latest foray into politics, of course. So does the latter.

This week, photos of retired Field Marshal Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi in a tracksuit, beside a Peugeot bike, made the social media rounds. When Sisi announced his presidential bid last week, he said it would be the last time he would wear a military uniform. Who knew he was trading it for Adidas? 

So Walid uses the bicycle rather than a business suit to symbolize the presidential bid.The two-wheeler appears to be winning the race, too.

Is the cartoonist playing with fire by drawing a joke about the Armed Forces?

Not so fast. The soft-spoken Walid, who looks a lot like the gentleman speaking in today’s cartoon, told me last spring:

I don’t see any red lines, except the social taboos—don’t draw naked girls or people making love. These are understandable lines and they don’t bother anyone, because in the end these are social limits.

I don’t fear anything. I don’t know, maybe there is a beast that I don’t see. But I don’t see it!  

More posts featuring Walid Taher: 

here here here here here here here here and here.

Oum Cartoon Bookshelf Part II

I meant to make bookstore rounds, but got off to a late start. By the time I made it to Madbuli Bookstore—literally as I walked up to their storefront in Talat Harb Square—their power was cut. Comics are kept in the basement, and I wasn’t about to stumble over books in the dark.

Most of downtown’s streets were dark—still bustling, but bleak. An omen of the long, hot summer to come.

Nonetheless, nearly every downtown corner has a kiosk with piles of broadsheets and books. I asked a dozen news-vendors if they carried any new comics. I found these treats instead:

The first caricature of retired Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on a magazine cover. It’s from Roz El-Yusef, one of the country’s oldest periodicals, known for its classic cartoons. On the cover, Al-Sisi holds his hands up, victorious, as if his presidential bid signifies a win already. The top headline: “Sisi’s Difficult Battles.” He doesn’t, however, look like he’s having a tough time.

Also of note: Sisi is in civilian garb, no longer in the field marshal’s uniform. Plus his famous sunglasses are no where to be found. 

We now have a better sense of the red lines in Egypt today. It’s okay to caricature Sisi, so long as it’s in a positive light.

Which brings us to the Brotherhood—it’s okay to caricature them, so long as it’s in a negative light. Consider Supreme Guide Badie’s face on the cover of Al-Musawara glossy publication that has been in print for ninety years. The head of the Islamist movement is hanged by a noose. The Photoshop job is titled, ”Execution of the Brotherhood,” in support of the mass death sentencing from the week past. It’s provocative, to say the least.

Then there’s the curren-sisi. Reprints of Egyptian pounds with the retired field marshal’s face. I bought a 500 worth—seemed like a good investment. 

I also bought you this tank top:

"YOU MAKE FUN OF MY FEELINGS WHILE I’M AT THE DEPTHS OF MY SORROWS," says Daisy.

shebak:

rashakamal:

ليلتك هباب ابطوط 
* ذكريات عبثية طفولية 

اخص الله يلعنك

"YOU MAKE FUN OF MY FEELINGS WHILE I’M AT THE DEPTHS OF MY SORROWS," says Daisy.

shebak:

rashakamal:

ليلتك هباب ابطوط 

* ذكريات عبثية طفولية 

اخص الله يلعنك

Presidential Elections in Egypt
"Sir, when I ask you who you expect to win the presidential elections,
pretend you don’t know…
Pretend to think about it…
Don’t respond straight away!!!”
Anwar / Al-Masry Al-Youm / 29 March 2014

Presidential Elections in Egypt

"Sir, when I ask you who you expect to win the presidential elections,

pretend you don’t know…

Pretend to think about it…

Don’t respond straight away!!!”

Anwar / Al-Masry Al-Youm / 29 March 2014

"What did that criminal do, sergeant?" asks the sleaze ball. 
"He molested an English tourist in Sharm El-Sheikh!" 
Amro Selim, cartoonist for Al-Masry Al-Youm, comments on the rape of a British holiday-maker at a Sinai resort.
Note that the sleazy guys speaking to the policeman are harassing a female passerby. He draws attention to a double standard. From Selim’s perspective, the sexual harassment and assault of foreigners leads to legal repercussions. Egyptians who assail Egyptian women, however, are not held accountable. Quite to the contrary, victim-blaming is a common trope in Egyptian media. 
Isn’t that just vile? Everyone deserves the right to safety and freedom from intimidation. I hope that Amro Selim continues to draw about this topic, a disgusting act that happens all too often and is not given enough space in newsprint. Given the sexual assault of a Cairo University student and countless other cases, cartoonists have a responsibility to lead the conversation—to make sure readers know that such behavior is simply unacceptable.
"In surveys, over 90% of Egyptian women say they have been harassed," reports BuzzFeed’s Sheera Frenkel. She has curated “the first time I was sexually harassed”—a social media hashtag that has gained traction as women and men bravely share their personal experiences.
For years Doaa Eladl, also at Al-Masry Al-Youm, has drawn powerful cartoons that shine a torch on harassment and injustice. Her colleagues are finally joining the fight.
Here was Al-Masry Al-Youm cartoonist Makhlouf’s rendering of the Cairo University assault. It appeared on Facebook, not in the newspaper.

As my colleague Rozina Ali tweeted, "Crude? So is the act." 
And here’s another cartoon about harassment from the archive.

"What did that criminal do, sergeant?" asks the sleaze ball. 

"He molested an English tourist in Sharm El-Sheikh!" 

Amro Selim, cartoonist for Al-Masry Al-Youm, comments on the rape of a British holiday-maker at a Sinai resort.

Note that the sleazy guys speaking to the policeman are harassing a female passerby. He draws attention to a double standard. From Selim’s perspective, the sexual harassment and assault of foreigners leads to legal repercussions. Egyptians who assail Egyptian women, however, are not held accountable. Quite to the contrary, victim-blaming is a common trope in Egyptian media. 

Isn’t that just vile? Everyone deserves the right to safety and freedom from intimidation. I hope that Amro Selim continues to draw about this topic, a disgusting act that happens all too often and is not given enough space in newsprint. Given the sexual assault of a Cairo University student and countless other cases, cartoonists have a responsibility to lead the conversation—to make sure readers know that such behavior is simply unacceptable.

"In surveys, over 90% of Egyptian women say they have been harassed," reports BuzzFeed’s Sheera Frenkel. She has curated “the first time I was sexually harassed”—a social media hashtag that has gained traction as women and men bravely share their personal experiences.

For years Doaa Eladl, also at Al-Masry Al-Youm, has drawn powerful cartoons that shine a torch on harassment and injustice. Her colleagues are finally joining the fight.

Here was Al-Masry Al-Youm cartoonist Makhlouf’s rendering of the Cairo University assault. It appeared on Facebook, not in the newspaper.

As my colleague Rozina Ali tweeted, "Crude? So is the act." 

And here’s another cartoon about harassment from the archive.

Satire at a Tense Time

As part of the Qahwa and Kalaam series, I delivered a talk at the American University in Cairo’s Arab and Islamic Civilizations Department on March 3. I discussed how the red lines of acceptable speech have shifted since the mid-2000s, when cartoonists took major risks under former President Hosni Mubarak. In fact, this is one of my findings: incredibly radical cartoons were published during an authoritarian era. 

Looking forward to your thoughts and feedback. Apologies in advance for the shaky quality of the video.

Introducing the Oum Cartoon Bookshelf

I had planned to write a post about the “process”—the bookstores I go to regularly, the myriad books I’ve bought recently, the tools I use to translate them, and the organization and cataloguing that comes next.

That’s too much content for a single post. So I’m launching the Oum Cartoon Bookshelf, a semi-regular note about what happens behind the scenes here at the Cartoon Bureau. It will be based on the Arabist’s “Colophon"section, which lays out their process, complete with best practices worth emulating. But there will be more cartoons, obviously.

Today I just wanted to emphasize the plethora of new books in stores across Cairo. I’m shocked that so many new books feature cartoons.

The eight books above are all recently published and available—perhaps you’ve already stumbled up them:

  • The COMPLETE Works (two volumes so far) of the preeminent Salah Jahin, an “offshore mentor” to today’s cartoonists according to Andeel. See a post of naked cartoons from the book here.
  • Reprints of Roz Al-Yusef newspaper from 1925, including dozens of basha cartoons penned alongside difficult-to-read Arabic.
  • A new graphic novel about Talaat Harb—the statue in Cairo’s most bustling downtown intersection comes to life.
  • Impact of the Locusts by Dr. Ahmed Khalid Tawfik and illustrated by Hanan Al-Karagy.
  • A retrospective of cartoons and magazine covers by the great Hegazi, though the printing is particularly bad and many cartoons are blurry.
  • Al-Masry Al-Youm cartoonist Anwar drew the cover of a book.
  • Tesh Fesh, the second in a series on Arabic caricaturists, with tight bios and well-curated portfolios.

Each of these books warrants its own blog post, but it in due time, as I juggle some other deadlines. Feel free to chime in if one of these is on your coffee table, too.

Julian Assange and the ‘Fountain’ of Leaks
Here’s an old cartoon of mine. And if you haven’t seen Andrew O’Hagan’s meditation about "Ghosting" for Assange, I urge you to set aside some time and read it. 
The part that made me crack up was that Assange wanted O’Hagan not only to ghostwrite a memoir but also a manifesto:

‘Facts. Some feelings. But it should be a manifesto. It can have some reflections from childhood and whatever, but the book should be a manifesto of my ideas. It should be like moral essays. And it should have like a plot. Not with personal stuff but a sense of transition.’

‘And what is this plot of your life that you’d like to relate?’

‘I’m not at all interested in a book that is personal. I’ve always known this.’

‘So now you’re talking about a book of ideas?’

He just stared at me, as if he were a child who had lost his homework and I were an admonishing teacher.

‘Need more manifesto.’

‘Okay,’ I said. ‘But you have to write that. A manifesto comes from belief. It can’t be second-guessed or ghostwritten.’

Julian Assange and the ‘Fountain’ of Leaks

Here’s an old cartoon of mine. And if you haven’t seen Andrew O’Hagan’s meditation about "Ghosting" for Assange, I urge you to set aside some time and read it. 

The part that made me crack up was that Assange wanted O’Hagan not only to ghostwrite a memoir but also a manifesto:

‘Facts. Some feelings. But it should be a manifesto. It can have some reflections from childhood and whatever, but the book should be a manifesto of my ideas. It should be like moral essays. And it should have like a plot. Not with personal stuff but a sense of transition.’

‘And what is this plot of your life that you’d like to relate?’

‘I’m not at all interested in a book that is personal. I’ve always known this.’

‘So now you’re talking about a book of ideas?’

He just stared at me, as if he were a child who had lost his homework and I were an admonishing teacher.

‘Need more manifesto.’

‘Okay,’ I said. ‘But you have to write that. A manifesto comes from belief. It can’t be second-guessed or ghostwritten.’

"Inside the apartment in Bab El-Louk, my things are scattered everywhere…"

I just returned from my weekly scouring of Cairo bookstores. And look what I finally got my hands on: The Apartment in Bab El-Louk, a graphic novella by Donia Maher, illustrated by Ganzeer and Ahmad Nady.

Bab El-Louk is a neighborhood in downtown Cairo, a two-minute walk from Tahrir Square, where many young artists and rabble-rousers, including Ahmad Nady, live. It’s also home to some of Cairo’s finest cafes and dingiest bars. But before I pontificate any further, let me spend the afternoon reading the gorgeous comic.

Lissie Jaquette has already translated a portion of the story to English, on Words Without Borders. As if that weren’t fun enough, Ganzeer worked with the English text to elegantly recreate the print version’s aesthetic. [Update 3/24/14: Lissie corrects me—the English lettering in the translation below was done by font guru Salma Shamel, based on Ganzeer’s original.]

See what I mean?

And here’s another page:

Continue reading at Words Without Borders.

And check out Ganzeer’s Tumblr, as well: ganzeerism.

Project: In the Bab El Louk Apartment / في شقة باب اللوق

Date: January 2014

Place: Cairo, Egypt

Description: Illustration and art direction for short story written by Donia Maher and published by Merit Publishing House with a grant from Al Mawred Al Thaqafy. The booklet also features a 9-page comic book illustrated by Ahmad Nady.

ISBN 978-977-351-680-2

See You at the Movies
An Oum Cartoon reader sent along this beautiful 1943 New Yorker cover by Constantin Alajálov. The colors are lovely, the faces on the soldiers perfectly befuddled, and—best of all—the Arabic on the movie posters is pretty accurate.
Some background from the Saturday Evening Post:

Constantin Alajálov was born in 1900 to well-off Russian parents. They were able to give him the advantage of schooling, but his professional training did not last long; he had barely started at the University of Petrograd when the Russian Revolution broke out. He traveled around the country with a group of artists, painting posters and murals of Communist propaganda in order to survive.

He then “emigrated to Persia and again started painting for a revolution until no longer safe. After his stay in Persia, Alajálov headed to Constantinople, his last stop before he emigrated to America at age 23,” according to Wikipedia, though there’s no citation.
My questions: Was this illustration above based on a photograph in Cairo or Casablanca? Did Alajálov make Mideast stops on his way to the U.S., and find time to catch a couple of flicks? Or perhaps he just spoke Arabic, given his cosmopolitan background. 
His other New Yorker covers are great. However, I’m dying to get my hands on some of his Russian propaganda. Maybe another reader will come through.
As an aside, if you’re in Cairo—specifically New Cairo—catch this fun exhibit at the American University in Cairo. No Arabic Mickey Mouse, but plenty of photos, posters, and paraphernalia from the Golden Age of Egyptian cinema. 

See You at the Movies

An Oum Cartoon reader sent along this beautiful 1943 New Yorker cover by Constantin Alajálov. The colors are lovely, the faces on the soldiers perfectly befuddled, and—best of all—the Arabic on the movie posters is pretty accurate.

Some background from the Saturday Evening Post:

Constantin Alajálov was born in 1900 to well-off Russian parents. They were able to give him the advantage of schooling, but his professional training did not last long; he had barely started at the University of Petrograd when the Russian Revolution broke out. He traveled around the country with a group of artists, painting posters and murals of Communist propaganda in order to survive.

He then “emigrated to Persia and again started painting for a revolution until no longer safe. After his stay in Persia, Alajálov headed to Constantinople, his last stop before he emigrated to America at age 23,” according to Wikipedia, though there’s no citation.

My questions: Was this illustration above based on a photograph in Cairo or Casablanca? Did Alajálov make Mideast stops on his way to the U.S., and find time to catch a couple of flicks? Or perhaps he just spoke Arabic, given his cosmopolitan background

His other New Yorker covers are great. However, I’m dying to get my hands on some of his Russian propaganda. Maybe another reader will come through.

As an aside, if you’re in Cairo—specifically New Cairo—catch this fun exhibit at the American University in Cairo. No Arabic Mickey Mouse, but plenty of photos, posters, and paraphernalia from the Golden Age of Egyptian cinema. 

The Weekend Sketch
More from my sketchbook here here here here here here and here.

The Weekend Sketch

More from my sketchbook here here here here here here and here.

Caricature & Comics
From Egypt,
Mother of the World

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