“He cannot be considered a Brazilian,” states one of the comments on the published cartoons of Carlos Latuff, who is now called “the Brazilian cartoonist of the revolution” after publishing several critical cartoons of the ousted Hosni Mubarak at the very beginning of the Egyptian revolution.
One of his most famous cartoons depicts Khaled Said holding the ousted president as if he’s a mouse trying to run away.
The interest in the Middle East is not new to Latuff, since the majority of his caricatures are about the Palestinian issue and the US invasion of Iraq.
Latuff comes from Arab Lebanese descendants on his mother’s side and was born in Rio de Janeiro on 30 November 1968.
“My interest in the Palestinian cause started after my visit to the West Bank in 1999, when I decided to support the resistance movement, especially after witnessing the horrendous crimes of Israel. When I got to know more Arabs and Muslims I understood that they have the right to be antagonistic to European imperialistic policies,” says Latuff, who decided then to support the resistance through his cartoons and to comment on what the western media was not covering.
The Egyptian caricaturist Amr Selim describes Latuff's caricatures as unique and his ideas as clever. “He criticized the Egyptian dictatorship during its height, which is why nobody should be surprised of the cartoons he’s drawing or criticize him for being Brazilian. In that case you would expect me, an Egyptian cartoonist, not to draw anything related to what’s happening in Yemen, Palestine or the U.S.,” says Selim “It is the right of any cartoonist to draw about societies surrounding him especially if it is a country like Egypt that has international and regional influence.”
Latuff did not stop drawing cartoons about the Egyptian revolution with Mubarak’s resignation; currently he’s drawing cartoons criticising the performance of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) in running the country.
“Until now the whole regime has not fallen,” says Latuff, “Egyptians have faced a lot for many years, under the dictatorship that is supported by the US, but the people have found their voice in the streets with nothing to lose now."
Most of Latuff's cartoons are published in independent media outlets like the Independent Media Center “Indymedia”. Other outlets include blogs and websites, the Brazilian edition of MAD and Canada’s Online news website The Toronto Star, the Saudi Al Ahrof newspaper and the Lebanese Al Akhbar.
The majority of his cartoons revolve around the Arab-Israeli conflict. His series “We are all Palestinian”, which caused a controversy, depicts many of the groups that have faced racism and discrimination in history including the Jews in Warsaw, the blacks in South Africa during the apartheid, the native Americans and the Tibetans in China.
He also has a series that depicts many politicians including George W. Bush, Ariel Sharon and Tony Blair in the form of monsters and Nazis, which has made the Israeli right-wing Likud party publish a statement on its official website in 2006 urging the Israeli government to take measures against him.
He is still supporting the Egyptian revolutionaries as seen in the cartoons about the 8 July sit-in and the events that followed. He believes that Egyptian people are invincible and is certain that Egyptians will attain their longed-for democracy and that art will flourish in the country's new-found freedom.