ali ferzat and his power from below
"Of all the arts, cartoons stand on the front line against dictators,"
"I wanted to show people that they did not need to be scared any more," Ali Ferzat
Ferzat started off at the young age of 12 where he sent one of his drawings to a local newspaper, they had accepted and praised his work and wanted him to work with them. He knew from that age that he was destined to draw and give meanings and messages through the drawings. Ferzat believes that a cartoon not only presents an event but it also gives an opinion about them.
In his works he uses the dictators as a mockery and sense of humor to degrade their power and make them less important to the people. In my opinion, doing that is a very risk-full and skillful thing to do because considering how important and powerful dictators are, they can easily swipe you out and kill you if you disagree with anything they say. Ali Ferzat wants to show and give power and belief to the people so they stand up for themselves and not be afraid in the process of doing so. Fear is what the dictator wants over the citizens but if they all unite, they can pull him down from his power, like what had happened to Muammar Gaddafi. Showing these cartoons of Ferzat in the newspaper and social media gives hope to the people that dictators have no power in themselves and this in turn will give the people the courage to protest and criticize what is happening to them.
Ali Ferzat wanted to show the fear that had been taken over Syria ever since the Baath party took control in 1963 till this very day. People were afraid of the government and they felt they had no hope or power to overcome any obstacle the Baath made but when Ali Ferzat made a cartoon of what was happening it gave people hope and courage to go outside and protest, they even used his drawings duing the protests. People did not know if the artist was Syrian or foreign because if a Syrian did this, he would be considered crazy since everyone feared the president, but the courage of one person gave hope to the whole Syria. Power from below can start from somewhere if one is willing to start a small spark courage which in turn will be an on-going ripple of courage spread out throughout the whole population.
If no one takes action in doing something there obviously would be no change, which is why protests is an example of power from below. Ali Ferzat decided to be less violent physically but he was violent and powerful mentally when drawing after drawing he drew what the dictators didn't want the people to see.
Consequences to these drawings overtook Ferzat in August 2011 after his last cartoon was published, he was taken by the militia group which were loyal to Assad and they tortured him savagely. They beat both of his hands repeatedly and mocking him continuously telling him that he won't be able to draw any longer! This torture spread around on the news and social media worldwide.
Ali Ferzat was scared of what he should do next, if he should stop drawing and let his guard down, or if he should keep on fighting and spread more hope to the people of Syria. He decided to keep on drawing nonetheless of the brutal torture he went through but he was exiled from his country and sent to Kuwait. Although far away from home, he still produces drawings and he is not afraid to publish them whatsoever.
People like Ali Ferzat are the type of people Syria and the whole world needs. He sends powerful messages of hope, courage, freedom and reality. From this artist I know that if I use my artistic abilities wisely, I may change how the world perceives art, not just a matter of beauty but also as a subject to pass a message to those people that don't want Us to see it!
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