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Occupy Sketchbook: European Edition

Today we're proud to run our final installment of Occupy Sketchbook. With the protests growing beyond the States we thought we'd do a European edition. Our regular contributor, Spiros Derveniotis, send in sketches from Athens, where austerity protests have taken hold. Our editor, Tjeerd Royaards, visited Occupy Amsterdam as the cold sets in. And Tom Humbertone, who first contributed a piece of comics journalism on the student uprising in London, returns with a take on the city's latest protest.

We've had a lot of comic coverage of Occupy over the last month. Make sure to catch the first installment of the sketchbook series here, Sarah Glidden's sketchbook essay on Miami, and the third installment on Boston and LA, as well as Stephanie McMillan's ten page piece on protests in DC.


The Beginning of the American Fall (part 2)

Today we run the second part of Stephanie McMillan's The Beginning Of The American Fall, her report from a week at the Stop The Machine rally in Washington DC. (Read part one here.)

Asked how she has stayed involved with the Occupy movement since leaving DC, McMillan says, "I regularly work with an anti-capitalist/anti-imperialist group in South Florida called One Struggle. We organize locally, including within and around Occupy Miami and Occupy Fort Lauderdale."

Now that many of the camps have been broken up by police, Occupy organizers are beginning to shift tactics. "Many of them seem to be moving toward taking over private space in ways that are even more transformative," Mcmillan says. "In Atlanta there was recently a group that occupied the front lawn and basement of a family threatened with eviction. These kind of actions damage capital and defend the people, both of which I think are very positive developments."


Bahrain Backstory

Michael Cavna's Comic Riffs blog has some of the backstory for today's comic by Josh Neufeld:

The personal plea launched from the eye of the Pearl Revolution caused Neufeld to question the conditions and presentation of his State-sponsored trip, blind as he was to “underlying tensions” during his four days in Bahrain. “I felt hoodwinked,” Neufeld tells Comic Riffs, noting that was invited as a symbol of freedom of literary expression after the publication of his reportorial graphic-novel bestseller “A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge.”

Josh Neufeld's "Bahrain: Lines in Ink, Lines in the Sand"

Today Cartoon Movement publishes Josh Neufeld's "Bahrain: Lines in Ink, Lines in the Sand" The story follows Mohammed and Sara, two young Bahraini editorial cartoonists who found themselves on opposite sides of Bahrain's short-lived Pearl Revolution.

Neufeld met Mohammed and Sara at workshops he led while visiting the tiny Persian Gulf country on a U.S. State Department trip. Shortly after Josh became friends with both of them on Facebook, Bahrain underwent much turmoil in protests inspired by the Arab Spring.

Neufeld documents their impressions of the events, through their words, experiences, and their own cartoons, which were published as events unfolded.


The New York Times recently reported on on an independent commission's findings that Bahrain used excessive force in its crackdown on protesters. "The report specifically mentions the thousands of people expelled from universities, exactly what happened to Mohammed," Neufeld says.  "The Times pieces also make a point about how different a society the country is now Again, this is something Mohammed talks about directly in the story's last page."

The divide between Shia and Sunni, between Mohammed and Sara, was characterized this way:

“There is no neutral account,” said Mohamed Helal, the commission’s legal officer.... “The community is almost living in parallel universes.” In investigating one episode, Mr. Helal said he found on the same day, at the same moment, “there was not one moment of overlap. How can you reconstruct the truth when there’s no overlap?” he asked.