Malaysian Cartoonist Zunar: “Even My Pen Has a Stand”
Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaq, the Malaysian cartoonist popularly known as “Zunar,” launched his latest collection of controversial political cartoons, Even My Pen Has a Stand, on July 2. The Malaysian government is not laughing, however; Zunar’s latest book may join six of his previous collections on the country’s banned book list. The government also detained Zunar for one day last September under the Sedition Act, a law intended to preserve public order, in response to the satirical cartoons in his book, Cartoon-O-Phobia.
According to Zunar, the title Even My Pen Has a Stand “was chosen because after I was arrested, detained and threatened, it is important for me to reiterate my stand that I will continue drawing until the last drop of my ink,” said Zunar to Mayasiakini.
Even My Pen Has a Stand covers subjects such as the prime minister and his wife, the rising cost of daily living, and conspiracies against democracy leader Anwar Ibrahim.
In spite of the opposition Zunar faces, the artist refuses to remain silent; Zunar won this year’s Cartoon Rights Network International’s Award for Courage in Editorial Cartooning Prize. Furthermore, Zunar has filed a lawsuit against the government for banning his collections, but the artist is also pressing charges in response to his arrest and the seizure of his books last year just before Cartoon-O-Phobia’s release. The fight for free speech continues in Malaysia; the country ranked 141 out of 178 in the 2010 Press Freedom Index and is therefore classified as “not free.”
Even My Pen Has a Stand, published by Kinibooks, is available for sale here.