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The Lebanese "revolution" in six high-impact illustrations

They master the language of graphics and they transmit their messages through strong lines and colors. As expected, Lebanon’s uprising has inspired many illustrators. When drawings do not need any explanation. Here are six extremely symbolic illustrations.

23/10/2019

Bernard Hage : the civil war ended today


Illustration par Bernard hage, alis Art of Boo


In the logo that Bernard Hage created to unify the visual identity of the revolution, both the date–2019– and the word “thawra”–revolution– simultaneously catch one’s eye. Hage, a graphic designer, illustrator and cartoonist, said that has been living the most beautiful love story with his people for the past five days.

"We thought that the civil war was over, but people were simply in denial. For the past 30 years, we have been experiencing a cold war. It is only today that the civil war has ended; that people are looking at each other and that everyone is identifying with the other. This revolution is our last chance. We should not give up and should not forget (with the help of the media) to wave the motto of this revolution. Kelloun yaane kelloun! (All of them means all of them),” Hage said.


Zarifi Haidar: all united, hand in hand

Illustration Zarifi Haïdar

Out of all of the images circulating on the first day of the demonstrations, Zarifi Haidar said that he was particularly moved by one from our colleague, Gilles Khoury, that showed three religious figures––Christian, Muslim, Druze––walking hand in hand amidst the crowd.

"I could not help but turn this picture into an illustration because, for the first time, I had the feeling that the dream of seeing all these communities hand-in-hand was materializing,” Haidar, and architect and illustrator, said, adding that rising up to the challenge of national unity should be achieved through religious harmony instead of the negation of religions.


Rami Kanso: the woman who breaks down the walls

Illustration Rami Kanso

Rami Kanso has quick reflexes. Working in London, Kanso, a graphic designer, followed the first evening of protests on Thursday, Oct. 17 via social media where he came across the viral video of a young woman kicking a minister's armed bodyguard.

"The inspiration immediately came to me in a spontaneous way. The design took me only a few hours. The attitude of the young woman is what inspired me. She broke a lot of taboos, of walls. First, that of an unarmed person standing up to someone who is (armed); of a citizen standing before the convoy of a politician; a woman facing her oppressor... I never thought that this illustration would be shared so extensively,” he said. It has now become one of the symbols of the October 2019 popular uprising.


Ivan Debs: all united against the ruling dinosaurs

Illustration Ivan Debs

With his sleek graphic lines and fiery colors, illustrator Ivan Debs has once again created a powerful and eloquent piece.

"This is a revolution," the artist said. “And we have the possibility to win! Let's put aside religious, political and other differences. Everything that can divide us must disappear now. The youth of Lebanon has risen and is protesting. Protesters of all ages, of all social classes, are all united against the dinosaurs in power; these swine who are thirsty for blood and money. Their reign bled us dry. It is time to reclaim our rights and our freedom."

"Let's share the message as much as possible. Let's scare them away! We must remain united, strong and alert! We will only succeed by ourselves, through love and through a revolution.”


Nour Flayhan: the map of our stories

Illustration Nour Flayhan.


In Kuwait, Nour Flayhan has watched the images of the demonstrations that her friends shared on social media from their first moments. Glued to her screen, she says that for the first time she realized "that everyone shared the same cause, but that each one on the streets was telling a different story."

An illustrator and storyteller, she decided to seize her pen and trace the contours of Lebanon and draw in all the bits and pieces of the stories she saw collected on the streets, including the emblematic kick of Malake Alaywe, the boys masked Casa del Papel style, the Joker-like protester and the woman addressing the army. But more than just documenting these historic moments, Nur Flayhan hopes to "transmit to the world our strength when we operate as a community."


Ghaleb Hawila: the Phoenix, a resurrection in the flames


In tribute to the people of this revolution, calligrapher Ghaleb Hawila created a Phoenix with Arabic letters written on its burning wings reading: "Take fire, O Phoenix because life awaits you; catch fire and have no fear because freedom nurses from your anger.”

“For a long time, freedom has been waiting for people to revolt in this way," Hawila added. We knew that the rare, legendary bird lived for a very long time and breeds itself: when it felt that it was nearing the end, it set fire to its nest, fluttered its wings to fan the flames and burned itself. Once reduced fully consumed, a new, young bird was born from the ashes. "The people can only take flight by setting up fires fueled by their wrath," Hawila said.


(This article was originally published in French in L'Orient-Le Jour on the 22nd of October)


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