Monday, August 20, 2007  

Fez for Prez

Not sure whom to vote for? Despairing of choices? Have no fear, a new candidate is here!

Khalil Bendib, aka America's most wanted cartoonist is throwing his"hat," so to speak, into the ring. Oh, why be coy, it's a fez.

America¹s First Muslim President?
Muslim-American cartoonist throws his Fez into the Ring;
(Any one can run for president ­ and it¹s been done to death, frankly ­ but how many can TWIRL for president?)
In a year when America may see -- for the first time -- either a woman president or a Black Leader of the Free World, what are the odds for a first-ever Muslim Commander-in-Chief?

After carefully testing the waters for months, the newly declared candidate (who, as an homage to the late Dr. Seuss, calls himself "the Prez in the Fez,") today started pounding the pavement, mindful to not appear too stereotypically violent or too "anti-pavement.²"

According to anonymous but reliable sources, "turning swords into ploughshares" will be at the heart of the candidate's foreign policy. "Box cutters, machetes, Ginsu knives, we'll turn any sharp cutting implements into organic- food cultivating instruments, "declared the so-called Prez-in-the-Fez, whose campaign slogan is "The Pen is Funnier than the Sword." According to Mr. Bendib, "Mirth Makes Right -- not Might" and "Disarming the enemy through the power of laughter and good cheer" is the best defense. "Ours will be the funniest, most hilarious administration in American history," asserts the candidate, with a straight face, "no joke!"

Some skeptics, however, claim that having turned the United States of America into the world's laughingstock over the past seven years, the current administration may be a tough act to follow, comedically speaking. How does Khalil Bendib propose to outdo the clowns currently occupying the White House? The key, according to candidate Bendib, will be to Make the rest of the world laugh with us, rather than laugh at us, as has been the case for the past decade or so.

But beyond these facile generalities, critics are asking Bendib "Where is the beef ?" and -- more importantly ­ is it Halal (Kosher for Muslims)? What follows are a few planks from the candidate's presidential platform:

* On Government waste and Pork barrel spending : As a self-respecting Muslim, you can guess how I feel about PORK: I'm not exactly wild about it!...
* On Free Trade: The Prez in the Fez favors the free flow of Danish goods into America -- except for Islamophobic cartoons, of course...
€ On Education: Pens not guns, books not bombs, Math Instruction not Mass Destruction.
€ On the Patriot Act: Once elected, I will act like a patriot -- and repeal the Patriot Act!
€ On the Use of Torture: In the candidate's own words, ... If you absolutely HAVE to obtain information?..
Tickle, don't Torture!
Amuse, don't abuse!
Be clever and cute, don't electrocute!
On Nuclear proliferation: Islam is a religion of Peace and America is a Peace-loving nation. Instead of bombing Iran, we will shame the Islamic Republic into voluntarily abandoning its nuclear ambitions. How? We'll lead by example and demand the dismantlement of all nuclear weapons everywhere, starting with the world's largest arsenal ­- our own -- putting back the "non" into "non-proliferation."
Finally, on Guantanamo Bay: The candidate says: "Render unto Fidel what belongs to Fidel, have the Cubans tear down the torture center and put in something more positive there ­- like a dental school or something!"

Concludes Bendib, "Sadly, Islamophobia runs deep in America today and it has been cultivated as an excuse for preventive wars, domestic spying, torture, the suspension of Habeas Corpus and the erasure of so many of our most treasured constitutional freedoms. What better way to bring back our precious liberties and to rid us once and for all of the exaggerated fear of Islam than to elect America's first Muslim president? In 1960, President Kennedy did not bring the Vatican into the White House, as initially feared, and in 2008 the Prez in the Fez will not bring Mecca into the Oval Office!" To paraphrase another great president before him, the Muslim candidate concludes: "The only thing we have to fear is the fear of Islamophobia itself! God Bless America and Peace be Upon you!"
Khalil Bendib is the author of the new book of political cartoons, ³Mission Accomplished.²He can be reached at <>

You can meet the Fez for Pres on his book tour for the following book:
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Wicked Cartoons by America¹s Most Wanted Political Cartoonist
Khalil Bendib. Interlink/Olive Branch $17.95 paper ISBN 978-1-56656-691-

Praise for the book:

³Bendib is an Equal opportunity skewer. The more a subject or victim is ignored by the mass media, the more he infuriates, informs and intensifies the reader¹s attention. Cartoons need to jolt. Bendib obliges page after page.²

"Khalil Bendib is your friendly non-violent castigator of all the powers that oppress us."

"Khalil Bendib, with a few ingenious strokes of his pen, gets to the heart of the issues of our time. His cartoons are in the greatest tradition of American political humor, with that combination of wit and intelligence so needed in the struggle for justice." HOWARD ZINN

³Khalil Bendib always delights me with his intellectual and extremely poignant, often times sadly funny, cartoons. This book should be required reading for all concerned with social justice everywhere!"

Publishers Weekly book review:

Mission Accomplished: Wicked Cartoons by America¹s Most Wanted Political Cartoonist

Khalil Bendib. Interlink/Olive Branch $14.95 paper ISBN 978-1-56656-691-9
At once rueful and hilarious, this collection by widely syndicated, Berkeley, Calif.­based, Muslim American political cartoonist Bendib graphically illustrates the Orwellian relationship between the rhetoric of freedom among the powerful and the realities faced by those on the receiving end. These topical single-frame tableaux, mostly drawn from 2003 to this year, are ingeniously detailed and only occasionally dated. One shows a military graveyard with headstones converted into filling-station pumps, while another presents the Statue of Liberty as pregnant with political prisoners, the world¹s largest penal population and detainees in U.S.-sponsored camps and secret prisons worldwide. Bendib is an equal opportunity offender who connects the dots with gusto‹whether dogging the Bush administration¹s blunders in Iraq or post-Katrina New Orleans; nuclear proliferation; racism in the U.S.; corporate welfare and waste; Islamophobia; the faux democracies of Middle Eastern autocrats; or Israel¹s continuing occupation and colonization of Palestinian land (one memorable image has Bush in Siamese twinship with Jerry Falwell¹s Christian Right, lecturing Palestinian voters on the democratic necessity of separating church and state). Those inclined to see the Bush administration¹s ³war on terror² as an excuse for imperial aggrandizement and corporate greed will find Bendib¹s no-holds-barred satire fiercely funny. Those not so inclined, beware. (June)

If Howard Zinn liked it, chances are you will, too.
~ Zazou dit ca

Catch Khalil here:

What: Official kickoff of Khalil Bendib¹s 2008 Presidential Campaign
Where: Mudrakers Cafe, 2801 Telegraph Avenue (at Stuart), in Berkeley
When: August 30, 7p.m.
Who: Khalil Bendib (will give a short speech followed by a
Powerpoint presentation, Q and A and book signing)

Check this space for SoCal appearances.


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Sunday, August 19, 2007  
Me: tell me an Indian joke...
M: England.

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