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An American Cartoonist Interviews an Egyptian Cartoonist
Cartoonist Bedaiwi
Cartoonist Bedaiwi
Bedaiwi is an Egyptian Political Cartoonist and Illustrator who I came into contact with several years ago and have read his material online. I've decided that for this site I want more representation of ideas from other parts of the world and opinions that are not my own, even opinions that I know may cause the American jaw to drop. Bedaiwi, being very friendly, I think is the perfect interview to start with.

I've tried to keep the Bedawi's answers to my questions unedited for the most part but remember that English may not be a perfect translation of what he is saying since it is a second language. One of the great things about cartooning like Bedaiwi's is that it can often transcend language so that the point gets across without having to worry about translating it from one language to another. So agree with him, disagree with him, here's Bedaiwi.
POLITICAL GAMES: To Begin with, how long have you been cartooning? And have you always worked in Egypt? Are your cartoons published internationally?

BEDAIWI: I've worked as a cartoonist since 1995, I'm working in many newspaper such as "October magazine ", "Katr Al Nada magazine" and "Caricature magazine".

Out of Egypt I was working for " Elaph web website " it's the most famous website in the Arab area but I'd left it because the publisher does not want me to criticize the USA he asked me to stop criticizing but I refused because I believe the cartoonist should draw what he wants I was the first & last cartoonist who drawn for them because they remove the cartoon part from the site.

But after I had published my own web site & a Chinese newspaper written about me, taking many awards, many cartoon websites put a link & banner for my web site I consider my self an international cartoonist.

POLITICAL GAMES: Are your cartoons mainly political? Or do you do illustration work that is not political?

BEDAIWI: Most of my cartoons are a politically, I draw other subjects when I participate the international contests as you know all of these contests do not put the political as a theme.

offensive to Israel cartoon
A common theme. The American Government is
fat and Israel is often leading the "fat lady."

The "fat lady" won't stop eating.

POLITICAL GAMES: I looked at your cartoons on your site and noticed that you like to use a fat woman to represent the US Government. What do you mean by that or what does that represent to you?

BEDAIWI: Yes, the main reason who makes the woman ugly is the fatness so I see the US government is ugly in order to what she is doing in the middle east & there is an other reason which is the difference that I want to be a Differentiated cartoonist by representing the US by this way because all cartoonists around the whole world use a tall man who wear a hat to represent the US Government.

POLITICAL GAMES: I personally believe in criticizing my government as much as possible, but are you also criticizing the American People with any of your cartoons? Or just the American Government?

BEDAIWI: Not at all, the American People is a good People as I know through my readings & the American movies I see the American is a lover of a good life, he is always looking for a luxury, the American People focuses one's attention on the money & how can live a good life. I don't blame him because he has not full information about us I think some of them think that we still moving by Camels.

POLITICAL GAMES: You have many cartoons associating America with Israel. What is the criticism there? Is it mainly about Palestine? Or actions taken by Israel?

BEDAIWI: Yes, because US always sides with Israel, US is a full power to Israel, the US's Vito is ready before Israel start doing any action, until this moment I don't know who governs other.

POLITICAL GAMES: Do you think the Muslim world would still be critical of the USA if they did not fund or support Israel? Or are there larger complaints about the USA that have nothing to do with Israel?

BEDAIWI: We don't have any problems or complaints about US except standing beside Israel in the whole things , I believe in"Honesty is best policy" so if US Government has the honesty than I'll change my mind & love it.

POLITICAL GAMES: What is your opinion of the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Does he go too far in denying the holocaust or do many Egyptians agree with him? Does the Muslim world in general deny the holocaust or are there many different opinions?

About the holocaust I see that it's not important for me if I deny or agree it, the important is we have to see who did it, we all know that the Germans who did it not The Arab People not the Muslims People, so there is no joy If I deny or agree it but what I believe is what Israel does with Palestinians & Lebanese is more horrible.

About The Egyptian People the whole People (Muslims & Christians together) part of them thought that is a lie & the other doesn't care.

Did a CIA plane fly into the twin towers? The shame of Abu Ghraib

POLITICAL GAMES: One of your cartoons shows a CIA plane flying into the World Trade Center. Do you think September 11th was a plot by the US Government? There are many Americans that believe this too, even though I don't. Does this mean that if Osama was proved to be responsible without a doubt that you would disagree with his actions? Why would the US Government fly a plane into the World Trade Center?

BEDAIWI: Yes, although I'm the only cartoonist who says that by drawing but there many people who believe it's a plot by CIA such as "Anderias Polooh" the German minister who written" September 11 & CIA" book on 2003 who said also that the Mosad is a Partaken , & the French writer "Terry Messan",& in Polls by Zogby international 45 % asked to re-open the investigation & 44% thought Bush Abusing them to attack Iraq, in other side I think Osama has no ability & power to do this, & I believe that Osama himself knows that he did it but he believed to be a hero but a fake one I believe that he is the one who disfigure the Muslims & Islam Image because the Muslim People don't like the neither war or the death

POLITICAL GAMES: What was your reaction to Abu Ghraib? I noticed two of your cartoons are inspired by that exposure of military torture.

BEDAIWI: My reaction had put in two cartoons which you saw in my site the first cartoon the prisoner who wears the US flag I saw US despised itself by this horrible actions in that prison & the despised in that situation is US not the Iraqi prisoner, the other one I imagined the US want to fornication & extortion that nude prisoner.

POLITICAL GAMES: Do you have an opinion on what America should do in Iraq now? Leave or stay? Or withdraw slowly? Is there any way to stop the violence?

BEDAIWI: In the history as we all know never known the occupation didn't stay forever, one day must go out so I think US well be out of Iraq but when that question should the US government answer, my opinion US should hurry to leave the Iraqi People lives in Pease, But before discuss this I wonder why US attacked Iraq, it says to protect the Iraqi from Saddam, yes I agree with it but we all know it has a power, ability & strong to get rid of him without this war .

POLITICAL GAMES: I am sure you were aware of the Danish Cartoons that offended a majority of Muslims. How did you react to those cartoons? What is your view on free speech? Should there be limits to free speech? Did you draw any cartoons on this issue?

BEDAIWI: I was like all Muslims aware & angry about these cartoons but my reaction as a cartoonist was no thing because the reaction cartoonist should be by cartoons & our religion asked us to no mock at other religions, also in our religion we must believe in all the prophets if any Muslim mock at any prophet he goes out of Islam, so I have not drown any cartoons.

POLITICAL GAMES: Have you ever gotten in trouble for drawing a cartoon? Has any of your cartoons ever been censored or banned for some reason?

BEDAIWI: In a manner of speaking " He pays the piper who calls the tune " yes in 'Elaph "the best Arabian website was not have a cartoon section they asked me to work of them for a daily cartoons after few months I surprised an articles from an Iraqi writer criticizing my cartoons which criticizing USA, few day later I had received e-mails from two Iraqi writers abusing me so I asked the editorial to leave the work but the head manager sent me a apologizes e-mail telling that not the Elaph opinion & I had continues with them for a 7 months more, and there are more trouble but not so big one of it I had received a-mails from Canadian abusing me too much but I replied him tastefully

POLITICAL GAMES: Does Egypt have any rules about what you can draw and what you cannot draw? Can someone offend Islam with a cartoon and not be censored? Can you criticize the Egyptian Government and not be censored?

BEDAIWI: Yes we have rules but not written, we can't draw about the president but we can criticize all ministers in the Egyptian Government.

POLITICAL GAMES: I see that you have a book available called "Mad Brush". How can interested people order your book or get a copy? What is the book about?

BEDAIWI: My "Mad Brush" book is not about Political but I'm going to publish my second book "The Shame" which will be my first political book.

If any person want to order my publish book just send me an e-mail to bedaiwi@bedaiwi.net

POLITICAL GAMES: Do you have any other comments that you would like to tell readers of PoliticalGames.net?

BEDAIWI: Yes, I want to tell the reader of PoliticalGames.net that my cartoons about USA Government not criticizing the American people because I love them as a human I was to dream to live with them because it's a Democracy country but now as I know this Democracy is for Americans only & after these actions it becomes just a dream.

If you would like to read more of Bedaiwi's Cartoons and writings please visit his site at: Bedaiwi.net

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