AUB Libraries Online Exhibits

The Image of the leader

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مجلة سمير – العدد 641 - عدد خاص، أبطال الحرية – القاهرة: دار الهلال، 1968

Comics, as one key element in building the discourse of the imagined community of the Arab Nation, participated in the cultivation, institutionalization, popularization and mediation of the image of the Arab Leader(s). This image would of course change depending on the sociopolitical and historical contexts, but a constant interchange of communally relevant facts, symbols, emotions, desires, hopes and dreams, were constantly tapped into, in an attempt to appeal to and mobilize different groups at different historical junctures. As such, comics helped to frame, reinforce and create new ways of seeing the "Arab leader": steadfast, paternal, down to earth, "one of us", tough, a good listener, or beyond reach, threatening – different means were employed to different ends.

سمير 641 1.jpg

مجلة سمير – العدد 641 - عدد خاص، أبطال الحرية – القاهرة: دار الهلال، 1968

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History of the Libyan Revolution: Once Upon a Time … Qadhafi. Serge Saint-Michel & Domonique Fage.  published by Afrique Biblio Club, 1980.

To convey the intended image, small graphic tricks were deployed: paternal and/or tough, Saddam Hussein is the father of Iraqi children, smiling but with graying sideburns and a piercing, almost threatening gaze; Abdel Nasser as the hero of Arab Nationalism rises above all else, and looks directly into the gazer's eyes; direct, steely yet humble Mahatma Ghandi was portrayed as the "thinker", the inner soul of anti-colonial resistance. Across the spectrum and the times, the intended effect and supporting subtle message of a mediated image of a true leader (and of the Nation) was conveyed, reinforced, and popularized.

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غلاف مجلة سمير، قصة حياة جمال: الحلقة الأولى -  العدد 757 – محمد حجي– القاهرة: دار الهلال، 1970

Subtle – and at times not so subtle – clues were used and put at the service of the National discourse across the geo-political and historic spectrums. Clues to claim lineage and affiliation to past revolutionaries were inserted here and there, and contributed immensely to anchoring the political in an accumulated history of defiance and resistance for autonomy and independence of the peoples across time and geopolitical spaces. Clues were also made to contemporary leaders around the globe to claim membership into a worldwide community of likeminded revolutionaries and movements for self-determination and independence from colonialism.

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غلاف مجلة سمير، جمال عبد الناصر: الطالب الثائر -  العدد 758 – محمد حجي – القاهرة: دار الهلال، 1970

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غلاف مجلة سمير، جمال عبد الناصر -  العدد 759 – محمد حجي – القاهرة: دار الهلال، 1970