The present words are thoughts on a book two months published or nearly so. It is the first collection of the cartoons by Khalid Albaih stemming from the days of Occupy till the present and it has been interesting to note the first reactions from holding almost a kilo of them within that one cover.

Spread from Khartoon! on what followed from the US reaction to 9/11.
The feedback has focused on the stark meeting with Khalid's line, all the more present from being seen on a solid page. Stark black on a white page no less. There is every sense of being met on each page with an onslaught of a clear idea transformed into line.

The stark onslaught has postponed seeing the wider frame of their setting, and since that what was our favourite part of the road to the book, I cannot wait any longer to write a few words about it.

It felt like an revelation seeing the cartoons fall into their natural place as in a mosaic finally being laid. A mosaic just waiting to be detected in its entirety. Seeing Khalid's jubilations while he and I did the arrangement were the most memorable moments I shall take from making the book. This was seeing his own work on a new level. The cartoons fell into place with each other, winding their tale on the reasons why situations arose and how the one lead to the next.

The collection forms in its entirety a novel on our time. The major events of the past decade across the globe from the Occupy movement and the war on Iraq to Black Lives Matter and the civil courage of Kaepernick kneeling.

Our idea was to step back from cartoons referring to specific persons or events. The selection is about happenings, developments and the human nature in the general sense. This is about the greater image of how our age came about with the affinities to human action through all of time. Such as greed and corruption and what the two of them cause in unison.

Spread from Khartoon!

We are still living in what we see before us. The consequences are still our everyday lives and we do not know what shall happen from here.

Spread from Khartoon!
The girl reaching for Wi-Fi by standing on the books of before was the cartoon struggling the most finding its proper place in the whole. It is at once so positive on the eagerness of reaching further and yet so sad. Suddenly it glided into place, finding home with nature turned into the spying life of CCTV. Human life is one of enterprise driven by passion and obsession and more often than not formed against fellow humans.

Thus are we, all of this are we. That is the gift from the artist transforming his idea from "anybody's language" in the words of Virginia Woolf, into a "perpetual marriage" with us, the beholders. He creates a curtain that draws us in and forms itself around us. No one is left out.

Spread from Khartoon!

Khartoon! can be ordered at the publisher here and you are welcome to email them. Alternatively Danish PEN will distribute it by way of your local PEN.

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