"Let's be different, let's be beautiful!"

To "denigrate" i.e. to speak damagingly or to defame someone's character can be traced as a derogatory term as far back as 1520/30. Thus according to Webster's. To blacken - nigrare - someone verbally have in other words been a smearing of fellow men for 500 years.

Lotfi Ghariani, Left panel of triptych
January 15, 2015.
- the full tritych is shown below in this post

Je n'écoute pas ceux que te dénigrent -thus began one of the open letters from Mariam Toure, who addressed the Tunisian public the first time on September 29 last year and created a whirlwind in the country - and beyond. She is indeed a force, putting into words how she will no longer put up with racism, neither in its implied nor in its direct form in society.

She along with an artist as the Tunisian photographer Lotfi Ghariani are important eye-openers to all of us. Cartooning is suspected to be a place of speaking in types, but I wonder if it may not be even more markedly so when analyzing said drawings, categorizing in order to create deft analyses. When it happens, it is lazy thinking at best and that is a dishonor in cartooning and research alike, while at worst categorizing is hurtful and destructive.

Lotfi Ghariani, Central panel of triptych
January 15, 2015.
- the full tritych is shown below in this post

All the more reason for grasping the invitation and challenge alike given to us by Lotfi Ghariani. He has created a triptych of himself, set up as a mugshot, exhibiting how names may vary, but always to the same end of never seeing beyond that name. His artwork is all the more painful in that he soon added yet another name tag: Classification (2011-2015): "Product of the Arab Spring, North Africa".

"Today instead of working for diversity and tolerance we rush into the "categorizations" and "divisions" forgetting what we are all first of all: Human beings".

- in Lotfi Ghariani's own words to me. Absolutely! And so, January 23, is being marked in Tunisia for the second time on the anniversary of the slave abolition in 1846. The organization against racism M'NÈMTY is fronting the consequences of slavery; how it is all too present today mentally in society as in the social situation of the descendants of the slaves. One of the first steps in a new direction is described below in one of the open letters by Mariam Toure; this one is from November 4, 2014:

Lotfi Ghariani, Right panel of triptych
January 15, 2015.
- the full tritych is shown below in this post


One of the challenges many of us face is acceptance.

To be accepted by whom? Society.

That very same society which dictates the way we shall think, what we shall do or not do, how we shall reflect on everything.

That very same society which classifies all of those who do not fit into the image they wish they should convey.

This very society which to defend the "authenticity" of its members has created this word: Different.

Not resembling the average person of a particular society, is to be different; Not thinking like others is to be different; Not associating oneself to the same values as them is to be different; Not making the same choices, expressing onself in the same way or having the same aspirations as the others, it is to be different too. What must be remembered is that it is the variety of colors of a rainbow on the sky makes it so bright; difference should be seen as something BEAUTIFUL. 

"Normal" is a measuring system created by man to identify areas that he masters, knows and accepts the others ("the abnormal"). "Different" represents these other areas. 

Let's be different, let's be beautiful!

Lotfi Ghariani, January 15, 2015.
- please click on the photo for the full impact of the triptych.

The artwork shown is courtesy of Lotfi Ghariani and must not be reproduced without his permission.

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