Published yesterday (updated) 04/12/2011 00:51
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Brazilian cartoonist whose caricatures against the former regime of Hosni Mubarak won him praise in the Arab world is now in the spotlight himself amid Egypt's divisive election.
Carlos Latuff's latest illustration, pointing to a sharp surge in support for Islamic candidates, was not received favorably Saturday by many Egyptians on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Unlike his work in recent months, which has focused a critical lens on violent measures taken by Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, or SCAF, the latest cartoon conveyed expectations of an Islamist victory in a vote for parliament.
The image, of a menacing sword labeled "Islamists" emerging from an Egyptian ballot box, sparked criticism that the usually sympathetic artist had resorted to crude generalizations bordering on Islamophobia.
"Latuff does not respect the voters' choice," said Egyptian blogger Zeinobia, "simply as that."
Reaction on Twitter was unexpectedly harsh, considering Latuff's series of cartoons encouraging pro-democracy protesters in Egypt, and his uncompromising criticism of the SCAF. The cartoons often showed up on signs in Tahrir square, he says.
But anger directed toward the latest caricature underscores resentment that outside interests still seek to dictate to Egyptians their political affairs, while often failing to distinguish between established religious parties and fundamentalists.
Mosaab Elshamy, an Egyptian photographer and Tahrir activist, said the image reflected an orientalist worldview: "How is portraying an entire group from different backgrounds with a sword (sign of confrontation & violence) not orientalist?"
Adding fuel to the fire, Latuff shocked many of his followers by dismissing any criticism outright and responding with expletive-laden contempt, including one crude private message to a female tweeter.
Many said it was Latuff's hostility, not his cartoon, that sparked the outcry.
At the same time, Latuff said he had received multiple death threats in response to the caricature, while his supporters condemned the uproar as an attempt to stifle the artist's freedom of expression. They ridiculed as childish a campaign to "unfollow" him on Twitter.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Posted by Zarathustra at 8:30 PM