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Arabic Controversy Over Simple Cartoon

Several readers have pointed us to to an article on BoingBoing about an interesting little cartoon: “It seems like an appropriate enough cartoon. The depiction of the president elect Barack Obama with the US flag behind him and the bubble quoting Obama as saying the change has come to Washington.” However it has sparked some controversy.

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From Daoud Kuttab via BoingBoing:

“Looking up to the Obama depiction was an excited Egyptian woman congratulating the African American senator, reminding him not to forget that people around the world have been hoping and praying for his success. This was followed by the Arabic phrase uqbal inna, meaning “may the same [change] happen to us.”

According to the opposition weekly Sawt al Umma, the cartoon appearing the leading Egyptian daily Al Ahram, caused a sense of an emergency among the Egyptian leadership. The independent weekly stated that 150,000 copies of the paper’s first edition were quickly removed from the streets and destroyed and the “troublesome” phrase disappeared from future prints that day. The before and after cartoon depiction appeared in Sawt al Umma.”

Here is an English translation of that page.

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