Based in Qatar, Sudanese independent cartoonist Khalid Albaih has been putting a twist on political issues with cartoons.
Albaih planted the seeds of his career during the Arab Spring of 2011 and considers himself an "artist from the revolution." Albaih was raised in Sudan but has been in exile in Doha for more than 27 years. "Khartoon" is an adept amalgam of his hometown, Khartoum, and "cartoon".
If you haven't seen posts from his Facebook page Khartoon! By Khalid Albaih, you may have seen it plastered on the walls in your home country. Albaih's work has been reproduced on walls in Beirut, Cairo and Yemen by anonymous graffiti artists. His work has appeared in multiple exhibitions globally including Edge of Arabia in London and at McGill University, which hosted a series of exhibitions and events honoring the artist's work.
If you haven't had a chance to scroll through his feed, here's a highlight of some of the most powerful ones:
1. The one that drove the historic importance of #Rio2016 home
After Saudi sprinter made history at the 2016 Olympic Games, Albaih was one of the first to show support with a cartoon captioned "Run Kariman Run!"
Albaih showed us with so few words just what Kariman was running against at the Olympics. The regressive forces of our region just cannot catch up with women like her as they race towards progress.
.Saudi Arabia selected its female Olympians roughly three weeks before Rio 2016. Four Saudi female athletes are competing, twice the number of those who participated in 2012.
2. No mountain--or Apartheid Wall--high enough to keep Palestine from the Olympics
This cartoon shows a Palestinian runner crossing the biggest hurdle of all: Israel's oppressive occupation of the Palestinian people. Bravery and steadfastness shines through in this drawing.
Palestine had the largest team since it joined the Olympics in 1996, with six athletes in the running. The team proudly walked out in embroidered dresses and keffiyeh scarves as they waved the Palestinian flag in an epic opening.
The Palestinian delegation was faced with various obstacles prior to their arrival to Rio. Upon departure, the team’s gear was confiscated by Israeli authorities, sparking media uproar. The team was forced to purchase new equipment in Brazil.
3. When will the world acknowledge the human suffering in our region?
The dejected character in Arab traditional garb faces the world with his tragedies, and is met with a shrug. It's an encounter that's all too familiar around the region and in much of the developing world.
Perhaps one of the most blatant cases of this kind of hypocrisy was in November of last year. One day after an attack in Beirut's southern suburbs, which left 40 people dead and more than 200 injured, the world turned its attention to Paris.
As the death toll in Paris grew, Facebook activated its "safety check" feature. This led people to question why this wasn't the case following the devastating terror attack in Beirut.
The same rings true for the coverage of devastating attacks in the region including those in Aleppo, which has led the online community to pledge to deactivate their accounts to raise awareness of the issue.
4. The EU puts an ocean between the refugees and safety
The EU doubles as the rough seas that so many refugees seeking safety from airstrikes, terror attacks, and religious fundamentalists, perish in. We think the piece "No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land" is the most poignant renderings of the trials and tribulations of refugees traveling to Europe. And we think this comic is a very appropriate illustration of the feelings and crises of conscience fleshed out in the piece.
The refugee crisis has been around for decades, with political instability taking a toll on the lives of millions of people in the Arab world. From Iraq to Yemen to Syria to Palestine to Libya, millions of lives have been affected because of this.
The ongoing Syrian crisis has left an estimated 4.6 million Syrians as refugees, of which half are children, according to World Vision . From the millions that are fleeing their war-stricken homes, more than 4,000 Syrians have died crossing the Mediterranean, which ultimately became the deadliest route of the 21st century.
5. Israel's occupation sticks out like a sore thumb in Palestine
Israel, quite literally, occupies centerstage of Palestinian daily life. In this cartoon, Israel's gargantuan separation barrier sits in the middle of Palestine. It's an excellent use of versatile Arabic calligraphy to show the spatial intrusion brought on by Israel.