Cartoonists Draw a Grim Picture of Egypt's Future
January 31, 2013
This article originally appeared on the website of RNW.
'Two years after the revolution – where is Egypt going?' is a question the world is waiting to see answered. It is also the question of the latest edition of the 360 Degrees project, organised by Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Cartoon Movement and their Arabic media partners. Readers are sending their reactions via Twitter and Facebook, and cartoonists use the tweets and comments as inspiration for cartoons.
Where am I going?
“No one knows where Egypt is going, I don't have an answer to the question,” Egyptian cartoonist Mohamed Sabra tells RNW. Sabra's cartoon “Where am I going?” shows that even the famous 1928 statue 'Egypt's Renaissance' is confused. This cartoon was selected for the project. “Every time we think we are finally moving in the right direction, something happens to prove the opposite,” says the cartoonist.
Badr-Eddine Ali wrote the Facebook comment on which Sabra based his cartoon: “We are not yet at the time of getting the fruits, because the fruits of the revolution don’t have the strength to achieve development and prosperity. The Egyptians have to prove to the people who love this beautiful country that they can meet the challenge and have the patience so that Egypt can pass through this crisis.”
Germs and insects
Not everyone is this patient, some are calling for a new revolution. “When you remove 30-year-old furniture of course you need to cleanse the place against germs and insects, the revolution of January 25th 2013 is the disinfection against germs,” tweeted @eng_amgad2011. Italian cartoonist Enrico Bertuccioli went to work on this reaction.
Between military and religious rule
Several readers show their fear of being ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The new government is making the same mistakes as the old regime, according to Egyptian cartoonist Doaa Eladl. She shows the Brotherhood as a bull running for the (red) chair that symbolizes power. In another cartoon, she expresses the future of Egypt as a dark cave between two bad choices: military or religious rule.
No way back
Cartoonist Bernard Bouton expects that freedoms will decrease, especially for women. He symbolized the tweet 'Egypt is going on a one way railway' from Mohamed Abouwafia with a classical Egyptian picture, where men are walking on a railway consisting of women.
And Palestinian cartoonist Fadi Abou Hassan drew a giant voting box in green, the colour that symbolizes Islam, and writes that Islam will seize power in Egypt.
Their colleague Mohamed Sabra thinks people both in and outside of Egypt are too afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood. “Everything they do is seen as dangerous,” he says. “But just because they are Islamist, doesn’t mean they are extremist. Give them a chance.”
Hold on together
It all depends on Egyptians' ability to reach a compromise, tweets @cruser1991: “Egypt holds on to a rescue rope and it is tight to its maximum. The question is whether Egyptians hold together like threads of a strong rope or will they split up like threads of a worthless rope and Egypt will fall?”
What does the rescue rope look like? Saad Murtadha from Iraq offers several choices.
Alexander Dubovsky used the same 'rescue rope' tweet for his cartoon: a life boat hanging from the pyramids. Many other cartoonists also used the pyramids in their drawings: a quick way to make clear which country they are talking about – and what they think that country is heading for.
360Degrees, #360D, poses a different question each week giving RNW’s Arabic readers the chance to have their say on major issues.