Ali Farzat’s cartoon of the man behind the bars (figure 21 in the Weeden packet) is most interesting to me because at first, I did not understand it. Initially, I was confused by the man stuck behind the prison that was half open. I did not actually get the joke until we discussed it in class. Once I learned the significance and back-story to this image, I actually thought the image was clever and comical. I learned that the significance being that this man represents the Syrian people, who had been threatening to start a revolution for a long time, were not taking a hold of their own destiny and could not see the freedom ahead due to the feeling of circumstantial learned-helplessness and the “cult” mentality of “I will do what everyone does”.
However, I think that if I were in Syria, or anywhere in the Middle East, I could easily connect to the character in the cartoon because I would know exactly what he is feeling. I think that this makes for a great political cartoon, as not only would I laugh at it, but I would also feel a pang of anger at the same time. If an entire community or country saw a cartoon like this and began discussing the meaning and the feelings evoked from it, I believe that the image could, at the very least, begin the movement towards a changing group mentality. Weeden made the interesting assertion that even though cartoons are meant to be comical, the fact that everyone gets the joke actually vindicates the real feelings and beliefs that undermine the laughter. Kind of like the phrase “all jokes are half truths”. This idea really applies to this cartoon. A controlling authority might not understand the significance this kind of media has on a society!