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In an increasingly geopolitical world, Bendib happens to be both Us and Them, American and Muslim, a walking oxymoron--a Clash of Civilizations made flesh. He is an American political cartoonist with an in-your-face, non-Eurocentric perspective, a voice of the voiceless. Free of the usual corporate narrative. Bendib's cartoons shine a light on such topics as the corrupting influence of money on democracy, African-American and immigrant issues, environmental degradation, labor and class struggles, U.S. imperialism and Zionism, the scapegoating of Arabs, Muslims and other people of color, as well as the complicity of our Orwellian mass media in maintaining the status quo.
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Khalil Bendib produces cartoons distributed by the progressive Minuteman Media News Service to 1,700 small and mid-size papers across the country alongside Jim Hightower and Donald Kaul's weekly columns. He has two books to his credit: It Became Necessary to Destroy the Planet in Order to Save It was published in 2003 by Plan9 Publishers, North Carolina, and Mieux Vaut Empire Qu'en Pleurer, published by E-dite Publishers, Paris. His cartoons have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle and others, usually either as part of feature stories written about him or as part of full-page ads purchased by various advocacy groups. He is co-host and co-producer of a weekly radio show on KPFA-FM Berkeley (Voices of the Middle East and North Africa).From Publishers Weekly:
At once rueful and hilarious, this collection by widely syndicated, Berkeley, Calif.–based, Muslim American political cartoonist Bendib graphically illustrates the Orwellian relationship between the rhetoric of freedom among the powerful and the realities faced by those on the receiving end. These topical single-frame tableaux, mostly drawn from 2003 to this year, are ingeniously detailed and only occasionally dated. One shows a military graveyard with headstones converted into filling-station pumps, while another presents the Statue of Liberty as pregnant with political prisoners, the world's largest penal population and detainees in U.S.-sponsored camps and secret prisons worldwide. Bendib is an equal opportunity offender who connects the dots with gusto—whether dogging the Bush administration's blunders in Iraq or post-Katrina New Orleans; nuclear proliferation; racism in the U.S.; corporate welfare and waste; Islamophobia; the faux democracies of Middle Eastern autocrats; or Israel's continuing occupation and colonization of Palestinian land (one memorable image has Bush in Siamese twinship with Jerry Falwell's Christian Right, lecturing Palestinian voters on the democratic necessity of separating church and state). Those inclined to see the Bush administration's war on terror as an excuse for imperial aggrandizement and corporate greed will find Bendib's no-holds-barred satire fiercely funny. Those not so inclined, beware. (June)
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