AAEC responds to beating of Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat

The American Association of Editorial Cartoonists has released a statement condemning the cruel beating of Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat.

The full statement reads:

The American Association of Editorial Cartoonists strongly condemns the brutal treatment of the Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat at the hands of his government. The AAEC urges individuals and governments to join the association in condemning this vicious attack.

This is part of the account reported by The Associated Press:

BEIRUT (AP)-Masked gunmen dragged Syria’s best-known political cartoonist from his car before dawn Thursday, beat him severely and broke both his hands as a warning to stop drawing just days after he compared Syria’s president to Moammar Gadhafi, a relative and activists said. Hospitalized with serious injuries, 60-year-old Ali Ferzat has become the most famous victim of the repression of Syria’s five-month uprising. The attack on him was a stark reminder that no Syrian is immune to the crackdown.”This is just a warning,” the gunmen told Ferzat, according to a relative who asked that her name not be used for fear of reprisals. “We will break your hands so that you’ll stop drawing.”

Understandably, this attack may be overshadowed by the murderous attacks that the regime is perpetrating on the rest of its people, but as cartoonists, we are outraged at the pointed brutality of the attack on Mr. Ferzat. The attackers intentionally broke his hands.

Breaking the hands of a cartoonist is more than an attack on one brave individual, it’s an attack on the right of a people to express themselves. It’s an act of a desperate regime foolishly thinking that its violence and efforts to intimidate will keep a cartoonist from criticizing the regime’s repressive behavior. Instead, it only sets hundreds of hands to drawing the clear conclusion that those behind the brutal repression have lost all legitimacy.