Middle East Studies

Muhanna in New Yorker: “The Fate of a Joke in Lebanon”

September 27, 2015

The New Yorker has featured a piece by Elias Muhanna, Manning Asst. Prof. of Comp. Lit., entitled “The Fate of a Joke in Lebanon.”

“In the spring of 2010, three Lebanese comic-book artists were ordered to come to the Beirut headquarters of the Directorate of General Security, where the country’s censorship authorities are located. Omar Khouri, Hatem Imam, and Fadi (the Fdz) Baki were in their early thirties, and had known one another since they were kids. (I’ve known Khouri and Baki since then as well.) In 2007, they founded Samandal, a trilingual comic magazine based in Beirut, which became an important platform for Middle Eastern comic artists. “When we were first called in, we had no idea what was going on,” Khouri said. “We assumed that there was a problem with our publishing license or some missing paperwork.”

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