AUB Libraries Online Exhibits

Mapping Power Relations

inaha tadur2.jpg

إنّها تدور! حكاية النهضة الأوروبية، تأليف د. نايف سعادة ود. معين حمزة، رسوم نبيل تاج، إخراج محي الدين اللباد، دار الفتى العربي 1980

Whereas the 90s generations were introduced to the working of empires through video games such as Civilization and Age of Empire; the 80s children were initiated onto the background of empires and imperialism through small gem books put out by Dar al-Fata, such as the book "Inaha Tadur" (It Revolves! The Story of European Renaissance). Here, the roots of the idea of imperialism are traced back to the Copernican revolution, and the subsequent ideas explored during the Enlightenment in Western Europe, linking science and progress, with the basic premise of empire expansion: the invention of tools of destruction (gun powder), the promotion of military power, the advent of colonialism, and the totalitarian adoption of an all pervasive scientism, that leaves very little room for respect of other values (integrity of nature, rights of indigenous populations, respect for other forms of life, etc.) Children are exposed to an alternative historical discourse, that tries to open up new horizons for grassroots commitments, and to a different understanding of the very idea of progress.

إنها تدور187.jpg

إنّها تدور! حكاية النهضة الأوروبية، تأليف د. نايف سعادة ود. معين حمزة، رسوم نبيل تاج، إخراج محي الدين اللباد، دار الفتى العربي 1980

While the text of Inaha Tadur provides a descriptive account of the events, it is the drawings that convey its political messages. The featured drawing places the scientific advancements in a political context in line with the anti-colonial moment of the time. The vicious cycle goes: power and colonialism, wealth, science and discoveries, development of arms, the war industry, and back to colonialism.


نظر3 - الشمال والجنوب188.jpg

نَظَرْ! 3، محيي الدين اللبّاد، العربي للنشر والتوزيع، 2003

In 1987 Mohieddine al-Labbad published the first issue of Nazar. A magazine that conveyed much of al-Labbad's genius, Nazar was in a way an hommage to a defining socio-historical moment and a generation of Arab cartoonists, illustrators, and authors who wrote progressive content for both children and adults. Because it was addressed at a more mature audience, Nazar spoke in a more candid language (and drawings) to compliment some of the themes conveyed in Dar al-Fata's publications.


مائدة القط.jpg

مائدة القط، قصة زكريا تامر، رسوم محي الدين اللباد، دار الفتى العربي

Before Nazar, al-Labbad’s critique of neoliberalism was evident in his illustrations for children’s book. Describing The Cat's Banquet in as interview, al-Labbad said. "There was a story by Zakaria Tamer called The Cat’s Banquet that I designed the cover for. At the time I was doing lots of caricatures about the infitah—Sadat’s economic open-door policy in the 70s—in which a vicious-looking cat is in the process of seducing a bird. I gave the cat a pack of Marlboros and a bottle of Coke. This was the image of the enemy: extremely well dressed but with claws, like the West." (Interview with al-Labbad, Bidoun Magazine)