I AM HONORED to be one of the winner of “2016 Cartooning For Peace Award”. The ceremoney was held at the Palais Eynard in Geneva in the presence of the Honorary President of the Swiss Foundation Cartooning for Peace, the former Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Kofi Annan and Municipal Councillor for the City of Geneva Mr Guillaume Barazzone. The other winner is Kenyan cartoonist, Gado. Work of both cartoonists are exhibited at the Lac Leman in Geneva.
“2016 International Editorial Cartoons Prize” gives new strength for me to continue the fight against the 60-year old corrupt and repressive Malaysian regime. Human rights and freedom of expression in Malaysia are in dire straits. Sedition Act and other draconian laws are used widely to silence critics. All institutions are being used as political tools by the regime in order to maintain power.
Talent is not a gift, but a responsibility. It is a duty for me as a cartoonist to use the art as a weapon to fight unjust rulers. Fear and intimidation are the potent tools being used by the regime to scare the people. I believe, strokes of art can lead the people to cross the line of fear.
I also strongly believe that, when facing with moral crisis, there is no room to grumble in silence. We have to stand up and cry our voice out loud and clear. Neutrality is escapism for those who live in comfort zone. How Can I be Neutral, Even My Pen Has a Stand!
Finally, I would like to remind the regime that repression begets rebellion: you can ban my cartoons, you can ban my books, but you cannot ban my mind. I will continue to fight through cartoons. I will keep fighting until the last drop of my ink.
Zunar, Political cartoonist
3rd May 2016, Geneva
Zunar (Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque) is a political cartoonist from Malaysia. Through his cartoons, he expose corruption and abuse of power committed by the government of Malaysia. His slogan is “How Can I be Neutral, Even My Pen Has a Stand”.
He is now facing nine charges under Sedition Act and facing possible 43 years jail if found guilty. He was detained and locked behind bars twice first time was on September 2010 for two days and recently on 10th of February 2015 for three days. Five of his cartoon books have been banned and his office in Kuala Lumpur has been raided a few times and thousands of his cartoon books were confiscated.
The printers and bookstores around the country which carry his cartoon works, have been raided and they have also been warned not to print or carry any of his titles. October 2014, three of his assistants were arrested for selling my latest cartoon books. The webmaster, who manages his website and online bookstore, was called in by the police for interrogating.
1) “Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award 2011” by Cartoonists Right Network International
2) Human Rights Watch Hellman/Hammett Award for 2011 & 2015
3) International Press Fredom Award, Commitee to Protect Journalist, New York 2015