As part of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists gathering in SLC this week, the Cartoonists Rights Network International is giving its Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning to Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan.
For some reason, it helps humans to confront horror and injustice through humor. And when it comes to sight gags of astonishing bleakness, editorial cartoonists just can't help themselves.
But, because politicians, bigots and despots have notoriously lousy senses of humor, the cartoon courage award is not exactly coveted. Raslan is, in fact, missing after being arrested by the Bashir al-Assad regime.
Joel Pett, President of CRNI, explains:
"Mr. Raslan was arrested by Syrian authorities at the offices of his newspaper, Al-Fida in the city of Hama, Syria approximately six months ago. He has been held incommunicado since then. A reliable source reports that he has been tortured and abused, deprived of any legal counsel, and is now to be put on trial in a special court that has been created for enemies of the state."
Egyptian cartoonist, Tamer Yousef, will accept the award on Mr. Raslan's behalf.