Resisting Through Languages: Dāriǧah and Caricature in Contemporary Tunisia

in La rivista di Arablit, a. X, n. 20, dicembre 2020, pp. 45-78.

The genesis of graphic literature in the Arab world has its roots in twentieth-century Egypt and Lebanon, which are the main focus of recent academic studies on comics and cartoons (Jacquemond 2008). However, also Maghrib, and particularly Tunisia, boast some relevant independent artists and collectives. This paper aims at analysing some caricatures contained in the book Khalti Khadhra by Mohamed Doggui (2017) and some other cartoons taken from the writer’s and Anis Mahrsi’s Facebook pages. The relationship between the linguistic code (Tunisian dāriǧah) and the visual code (cartoons) will be analysed, emphasizing the role of Tunisian Arabic as a language of a written culture, accessible to a vast audience thanks to the use of their mother tongue and the web, and a means of resistance expressing all the contradictions of the post-revolutionary Tunisia.

Graphic Literature as a Pan-Arab Tendency

This paper aims at analysing how two contemporary Tunisian intellectuals use caricature and satirical literature as a means of social and political resistance. Therefore, the analysis of some caricatures taken from the satiric book Khalti Khadhra (Ḫālatī Ḫaḍrāʾ, My Aunt Ḫaḍrāʾ, that is The Green)1 by Mohamed Doggui (Muḥammad Duqqī) and the author’s Facebook account will be presented2. Doggui is a contemporary Tunisian poet and writer who usually expresses himself in Spanish. The caricatures included in the book are by the Tunisian illustrator Anis Mahrsi (Anīs al-Maḥarsī); the cartoons taken from Doggui’s Facebook account have been realized or assembled by the writer himself.


1Henceforth Khalti Khadhra, as it is expressed on the book cover.
2In addition to his personal Facebook account, Doggui has a page in Tunisian Arabic called Kothr elham idhahhek (It Is Better to Laugh than Cry) with more than 120000 followers.

This is an Article from La Rivista di Arablit - Anno X, numero 20, dicembre 2020

Acquista Back to Anno X, numero 20, dicembre 2020

L’Autore

Cristina La Rosa |