Smashing the hand that holds the pen


Ifølge Comittee to Protect Journalists:

Ali Ferzat likes to work through the night. His attackers knew that. Masked men grabbed Syria's most famous cartoonist as he set out for home from his office near Damascus' central Umayyad Square at around 5 a.m. on Thursday, and bundled him into a van. A few hours later, he lay in a bloody heap with a bag over his head on an airport road some 19 miles (30 kilometers) out of town.

Ferzat does not know who attacked him, according to friends I contacted who visited him in Al-Razi hospital after the assault. But it's not hard to guess. The assailants stomped on his hands, breaking bones in his left hand. That's the hand that holds the pen he has used to skewer President Bashar al-Assad who has unleashed tanks and even the navy, as well as Syria's feared secret police, to quash political protests.

In a cartoon this week, Ferzat drew Assad on a roadside with a suitcase, trying to hitch a ride from a fleeing Muammar Qaddafi. The journalist has made a career out of debunking dictators. Saddam Hussein once threatened to have him killed.

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