On August 25 2011, Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat was beaten by regime security forces for his system critic editorial drawings against the country’s president Bashar al-Assad. His hands and fingers were broken by his assailants, as a warning not to “draw against his masters”, before he was thrown by the wayside to be found by passers-by.
Al-Jazeera liveblogs on the matter
This kind of oppression and scare tactics is unacceptable to us as cartoonists, and with this project we want to show the despots of the world that if you break one artist’s hands, a thousand will rise in his place. We call upon cartoonists of every creed and nationality to produce works celebrating the freedom of expression, opposition to censorship, and in support of Ali Ferzat.
Side note: The Syrian regime’s crackdown on dissidents is not limited to cartoonists, of course. As criticism increases, so do the desperate measures of the leaders, and there have been numerous arrests of outspoken cultural figures in recent months. In July, Ibrahim al-Qashoush, the composer of a popular anti-regime song, was found dead in a river with his vocal chords torn from his throat. We react to the brutal crime against a fellow cartoonist, and show our outrage in our fashion, in solidarity with him and everybody being deprived of their human rights.