'Nothing but blood': woman cartoonist draws Syria's Idlib - GulfToday

'Nothing but blood': woman cartoonist draws Syria's Idlib

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Syrian cartoonist Amani al-Ali speaks about some of her drawings at her home studio.

Bent over a computer tablet in war-torn northwest Syria, cartoonist Amani al-Ali takes her pen to the screen to sketch life in the embattled opposition bastion of Idlib.

"I'm trying to get across what others struggle to say.

Through her cartoons, Ali has boldly challenged traditions to comment on life in the anti-regime bastion, and to condemn seeming international indifference to civilian deaths.

Eid in Idlib

In one, the world is depicted as an ostrich burying its head in a mound of blood-drenched skulls as red missiles rain down all around.

In another, titled "Eid in Idlib", a warplane drops candy wrappers containing TNT, instead of the sweets usually distributed during the Muslim holiday.

"We see nothing but blood, darkness and destruction," she said.

'Broke with customs'

Though her cartoons have now been exhibited as far away as the Netherlands and United Kingdom, Ali had to study drawing on the sly growing up, because her father forbade it.

"I consider myself to be a girl who broke with customs and tradition," Ali said.

"I confronted my parents and managed to impose the life I wanted for myself."

Her society, she said, frowned upon women who engaged in political satire through cartoons or art.

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Syrian Cartoonist Amani al-Ali works on a painting in her home studio.

Fans and enemies

In her work, she criticises overpriced higher education.

Ali's work, she said, has earned her both fans and enemies.

"Many people tell me I should be careful, that I don't know what I'm doing," she said.

"The thing I hear most is that I'm a girl and I shouldn't be drawing such things."

But abroad, people are impressed.

Though she is unlikely to attend either without the necessary visa to travel, she hopes both will help to bust stereotypes about women in northwest Syria.

Agence France-Presse

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