Caricaturing Qaddafi. Or Qaricaturing Chaddafi… (how DO you spell “caricature,” anyway?)

Thought this was interesting over on the NYT site:

Before the Libyan opposition began retreatingbefore forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, Finbarr O’Reilly of Reuters took account of the wealth of anti-Qaddafi graffiti and other graphic expressions of popular anger, which include some anti-Semitic sentiments. He wrote to Lens:

Like many dictators, Qaddafi carefully controlled how his image was used, often portraying himself as a deity or beloved leader. With the rebellion, however, freedom of expression in rebel-controlled areas means that ridicule has become a key weapon in the fight against the climate of fear that has long gripped the country. Anti-Qaddafi caricatures and graffiti have sprung up across cities like Benghazi, most of them portraying him in an unflattering light.

Those first few words give me pause… Before the Libyan opposition began retreating…

I wonder, was this little eruption of irreverence toward the Libyan dictator destined to be short-lived? If so, view the images while you can…

The images themselves, in some cases, betray an elaborate complexity one doesn’t often see in political caricature, at least not in this country. Listen to me, like I’m an art critic. They’re actually sort of hard to characterize. Sort of Ralph Steadman without the drugs, or something… or maybe with different drugs… See what you think.

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