Cartoonist’s Note: I am hosting the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists convention and today I am featuring Akram Raslan in my usual spot.
Raslan is a Syrian cartoonist who is missing and is presumably in custody of the Assad regime. He is also a reminder that to dictators and tyrants, cartoons are no laughing matter.
Raslan got under the skin of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad and his supporters by portraying him as an enemy of the Syrian people, mindlessly destroying his own country.
Syrian government authorities arrested Raslan six months ago at the offices of the newspaper Al-Fida in Hama. He has not been heard from since, but sources say he is being held in inhumane conditions and tortured.
I have mentioned the "Cartoon and Cocktails Gala" this Saturday evening at The Little America Hotel, which will be open to the public. While much of the evening will be given over to music, comedy and general silliness in celebration of cartoons and cartoonists, we will not forget the serious rights and protections we enjoy in America under the First Amendment.
Cartoonists Rights Network International will take a portion of the evening to remember our fellow cartoonists who draw cartoons critical of government and free-lance goons at the peril of losing life and liberty. Akram Raslan will be given the "Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning" by the director of CRNI, Robert Russell.
Often people tell me I’m brave for drawing what I do in the paper. I’m flattered, but in my case bravery has nothing to do with it. Come and hear a little about real courage. Saturday, June 29, 6:30pm, Little America.
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.