Türkİye, Politics, Environment

Palestinian artist ‘corrects’ Charlie Hebdo cartoon on Türkiye’s quake crisis

Speaking to Anadolu, Abrar Sabbah says victims should not be mocked

Mucahit Aydemir  | 10.02.2023 - Update : 10.02.2023
Palestinian artist ‘corrects’ Charlie Hebdo cartoon on Türkiye’s quake crisis


Palestinian artist Abrar Sabbah, who received appreciation for her drawing against the provocative cartoon of the French Charlie Hebdo magazine mocking the earthquake disaster in Türkiye, stated she wanted to convey a message of support for Türkiye.

French magazine Charlie Hebdo has sparked outrage with a cartoon it published mocking Türkiye after two deadly earthquakes hit the country on Monday.

"Earthquake in Türkiye" was written in the top right corner of the cartoon. "(Didn't) even need to send tanks," it says at the bottom.

Sabbah, a 26-year-old Palestinian cartoonist, illustrator and graphic designer, edited Charlie Hebdo's cartoon in a video she posted on her social media account with a caption commenting: "Hey, immoral Charlie Hebdo. You wouldn't draw like that. This is how you would draw it! We will stand up again. The people will rise again!"

Sabbah, who is a graduate of Türkiye, received thousands of likes in a short time and circulated the internet.

Victims should not be mocked

Sabbah, who speaks fluent Turkish and preferred to explain her thoughts to the Anadolu in Turkish, said, "I saw the cartoon made by Charlie Hebdo in these difficult times we live in. Of course, like millions of people, I was angry and could not remain silent. In my opinion, this cannot be a cartoon. Caricature is a satirical work. But people who suffer should not be mocked."

"Many people's rights are violated," she said, adding that she illustrated in her video what many people wanted to say.

"At the same time, I wanted to send the message that Türkiye is a very strong country, and the Turkish people are very strong people who do not give up. I hope this message reached well," she said. "Our most powerful weapon is the pen. By writing or drawing, this way we can send a more lasting message. I wanted the message in response to Charlie Hebdo's cartoon to be in a language they understand."

"I got lots of positive feedback. I have received many support messages on my personal account. For example, 'We couldn't make our voices heard, you told us what we couldn't say' or 'You gave us morale when we were in great pain and depressed.'," she said.

Painful disaster

The young Palestinian woman, who lived in Türkiye for six years to study at university, said she felt as much pain as a Turk feels.

"May Allah help both peoples in Türkiye and Syria. I felt as if my own family had been harmed," she said.

She went on to say that the desperation she felt made her redraw the cartoon of Charlie Hebdo.

"I made this drawing thinking about what I can do myself and how I can contribute. I tried to come up with a cartoon using my talent. I hope this misdirected (Charlie Hebdo) cartoon has been corrected," she said.

Türkiye will rise again

Expressing that the Turkish people value Jerusalem and Palestine as much as the Palestinians, Sabbah said, "this (Palestine cause) is the cause of all of us, of course, but the interest and feelings of our Turkish brothers in Palestine are more evident."

Sabbah noted that she constantly follows the speeches or works of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish ministers regarding Palestine or Türkiye, which convey a message that "We are one nation. The only difference between us may be language."

"I hope we will survive this painful disaster. Türkiye will rise again. The Turkish people are very powerful," she asserted.

Studying in Türkiye

Sabbah, who came to Türkiye for undergraduate education in 2016, learned the Turkish language at Ankara University, Turkish Language Education Research and Application Center (TOMER).

Sabbah graduated in 2021 from Selcuk University, Faculty of Communication, Department of Journalism in Konya, where she started after language education.

She was the first in the department and the third in the faculty.
Sabbah, who lives in the city of Akka, part of the historical Palestinian lands and located within the borders of today's Israel, speaks Turkish, English and Hebrew in addition to her mother tongue Arabic.

Palestinian Abrar Sabbah stated that she is trying to use the languages she speaks to convey accurate information to the international public about the disaster in Türkiye.

"I am trying to convey our rights issues using these languages. I am trying to translate the news (from the earthquake area) as much as possible so that more people are aware of this disaster," she added.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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