The drawing shows at its center the logo of the United Nations (map of the word encircled by a crown of laurels) and three human figures, one woman and two children. All the elements are in black and white colors. On the right side, two children are in the act of taking some laurels leaves from the logo. The children are giving their backs to the viewer. They are dressed in wretched clothes. On the left side, a woman, possibly the children mother, is sitting close to a big pot in the act of cooking some of the laurels leaves. The woman is also dressing in wretched clothes.


Hisar Al-Ghouta [Al-Ghouta Siege]

Created by Hossam Al Saadi, 2016

Contributed by Sara Verderi, 2018

Keywords: Equality, Universal rights, Syria, Europe, Art, Non-violence

Hossam Al Saadi is an established cartoonist from Syrian origins, based in Brussels. In 2017, the artist published his autobiography for Traverse, Brussels. The autobiography is entitled Syrie-Belgique – du silence au dessin

Syrian poet Fadwa Soulimane maintains that “Syria is not a geography, it is an idea”. I interpret Al Saadi’s work in relation to critical ideas expressed in gender and decolonial theory toward the theories and practices of international humanitarian organizations such as the United Nations. Al Saadi and more broadly Syrian intellectuals, activist, artists establish a conversation with gender and decolonial theory in regard of the UN responses to the social movements and war in Syria. This drawing portrays the population of Al-Ghouta, a sub-urban area of Damascus that became famous for its sustaining of the 2011 civil uprising and for the repression of its inhabitant by the Syrian army. The Syrian army and government employed siege as a means to convince people to surrender to their rule. Al Saadi’s drawing exposes the UN inability to provide food, and protection, to the civilians of Al-Ghouta.