Page last updated at 12:44 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 13:44 UK

Global cartoonists on Obama

The BBC World Service asked three cartoonists from Afghanistan, Iran and Venezuela to give their take on US President Barack Obama's first 100 days in office.

You can compare the results with cartoons by British artists published on the website last week.


In the last 100 days, Barack Obama has launched a very wide range of foreign policy measures that have brought the US closer to the rest of the world. For the last couple of decades, US foreign policy has not been run by the State Department, it has been pursued based on the demands of those in uniform. I think Mr Obama has shifted the headquarters of foreign policy from the ministry of defence back to the State Department. In this cartoon I show him walking on a very fine rope: he is trying to bridge the White House with the rest of the world.

Obama cartoon by Hozhaber Shinwary

As for the vulture flying above Obama: we shouldn't forget that there are a lot of forces around the world that don't want peace, that don't want harmony. I was trying to say that by walking on this thin rope, Mr Obama shouldn't forget that we still live in a very troubled world and that he has to face a lot of other problems as well, and he has to solve them.


In one of the cartoons, Obama appears like the Greek character, Sisyphus - trying to push the globe up the hill. And we all know what happened to Sisyphus - he wasn't able to do it. In the other he is trying to protect the world from being impaled on a plummeting graph.



It's not really easy to make fun of Obama as a person because although he has a sense of humour he is way ahead of most politicians we've seen in recent decades. Bush was funny - the way he used to talk, the things he used to say. Fortunately, because of the nature of politics and the problems we face, we'll get a few ideas from how he deals with the crisis so that'll help us. A cartoonist usually has an opinion and, personally, I'm not sure he can deliver.


The cartoon is about the meeting between Obama and [Venezuelan President Hugo] Chavez at the Summit of the Americas. The caption is: 'Do you want to be my friend?' - the proposal made by Mr Chavez to Mr Obama. In the next picture, we can say that in fact Mr Obama is talking to Bo, the new White House dog, saying 'I accept'. And, well, you can interpret that however you like...!


At the beginning, Obama had a huge advantage, no-one knew if the happiness which greeted his victory was because he had won or because Bush was going! And I think that's given him an interesting platform from which to address others. But, as cartoonists, we must always fear the worst, because that's what humour, satire and laughter are based on.

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