(BUZZFEED) ISTANBUL — The subjects that have turned up in Ali Ferzat’s crosshairs for more than three decades range from hunger and oppression to corrupt generals and brutal politicians.
Born in the Syrian city of Hama in 1951, the world-renowned satirist and cartoonist, considered one of the greatest living artists in the Middle East, has kept his focus local, finding hypocrisy and suffering around the region — and often at home.
The struggles of the Syrian people appear frequently in his award-winning political cartoons, which has led to dire personal consequences. In 2011, after Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad met peaceful protests with brutal crackdowns, Ferzat began to target him more directly than ever: showing Assad inflating his stature in a fun house mirror, or trying to hitch a ride with a fleeing Muammar al-Qaddafi. One day Ferzat was seized by the regime’s police, who beat him savagely, taking special care to smash his hands.
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