‘USA Today’ Details Dangers and Opportunities for Iraqi Cartoonists

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By: E&P Staff

USA Today ran an article today about the dangers — and wide range of news material — for Iraqi editorial cartoonists.

The story, datelined Baghdad, noted that the Iraqi Cartoonists Association (ICA) is down to about 50 members since dozens of artists fled the country’s violence.

One of Iraq’s most popular cartoonists, Mouayad Ne’ama, died of a heart attack in 2005 after receiving a death threat, said ICA head Hammoudi Athab. He added that another cartoonist, Dhiya al-Hajjar, survived an assassination attempt last year but is physically unable to work.

But those still working have plenty of subjects to cartoon about — including killings, kidnappings, corruption, government inaction, and the U.S. occupation.

“I draw about 20 cartoons per week,” Abdel-Ilah, a cartoonist for the Baghdad-based Al-Ta’akhi newspaper, told USA Today. “But that will increase if there is a lot of news in one week.”

Earlier this month, Iraqi cartoonist Mohammed al-Adwani won an international competition sponsored by the National Press Club of Canada, the Canadian Newspaper Association, and UNESCO. His cartoon showed an Iraqi newspaper carrier who has to work surrounded by four bodyguards.

Click here for the entire USA Today story.

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