Ali Farzat is a Syrian political cartoonist who is well known for his satires of Arab rulers and authorities. Out of the cartoons that we discussed in class, I particularly liked the one of the tree and flower. Cameron and Jordan also talk about this piece in their respective posts here and here.
To me, the cartoon represents the illusion of the Syrian regime’s power. The tree representing the regime looks huge compared to the flower, but its roots are much shorter and appear much more fragile. Although the regime might have the appearance of being mightier than the revolution, it is actually weak and perhaps even dying. The tree, as we can see, is fruitless. In contrast, the roots of the flower representing the revolution is deep and thick, signifying the revolution’s strength and hidden potential. The flower’s deep roots also suggest that the revolution has been growing for a long time. This reminds me of the Egyptian uprising whose “seeds of mobilization” had been sown as far back as the early 2000s via social media. Consequently, “While the uprising in Egypt caught most observers of the Middle East off guard, it did not come out of the blue” (1). The contrast between the flower and tree is also interesting because the flower seems to suggest that the revolution wants to bring peace to the people, whereas the tree’s branches almost look thorny, as if to say that the regime’s rule is violent.
I also found this other cartoon by Farzat representing the “poor man’s dream” being taken away my the regime. Note how invasive the hand appears to be as it snatches the flower from the man’s thoughts. Again, we see the image of a flower, here representing the poor man (i.e. the people’s) hope for peace.
(1) Hirschkind, C. (2011). From the Blogosphere to the Street: The Role of Social Media in the Egyptian Uprising. Retrieved April 9, 2011, from http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/599/from-the-blogosphere-to-the-street_the-.