10 Cartoons about Osama bin Laden

Since word about Osama bin Laden’s death hit the news on May 2 2001, plenty of Bin Laden cartoons have been added to toonpool.com. Here are ten cartoons by ten artists from as many countries.

Vahe (Armenia)

In this cartoon, Vahe comments on the inconsistencies in the first accounts of Operation Neptune Spear (AKA Operation Geronimo). In the first few days, stories about the killing changed almost hourly – he was armed / wasnt armed, used his wife as a human shield / didn’t use her as a human shield, etc.

While the cartoon is pretty crudely drawn, Vahe did a great job with Bin Laden. The fierce glare , the briefs and the little movement lines really make the whole thing work.

Yasar Kemal Turan (Turkey)

Yasar Turan’s cartoon points out another weird part of the operation. Why would you follow military operations on video if you can’t influence what’s going on? Does that just prove that you are important enough to see these things or is it meant to form a special bond between you and the people you represent?

I also believe that the artist has a point in making the connection to entertainment. We have watched too many films, TV shows and Youtube flicks to fully accept things happening on screens as reality.

Badham (Germany)

German artist Badham makes fun of the formulaic and inevitable video messages of Al-Qaeda and the like.

In addition to that, it hints to the fact that Jihadis will most likely continue Jihad because that’s, like, their thing. Or, perhaps more accurately, because none of the circumstances that made them want to fight in a Holy War in the first place have been altered with Bin Laden’s death.

[The original cartoons is in German. Sorry for messing with your cartoons]

Garrincha (USA)

As an American, Gustavo “Garrincha” Rodriguez probably has less of an emotional distance to the fact that America’s Public Enemy Number 1 has finally been gotten. The cynicism present in the the German cartoon above is not only missing from this cartoon but from most American TV shows, newspaper stories, etc.

Please note that Uncle Sam put on his special shiny crotch-kicking boot for the occasion.

Beto (Brazil)

Like several other artists, Beto makes the point that terrorism is far from dead and that the execution of Bin Laden could actually create new terrorism. Looking at the cartoon I have to say that the tiny Bin Ladens are actually pretty cute. Just imagine their high-pitched war cries. They will probably grow very fast, though. Then we will have to abandon them somewhere on the side of the highway.

[Please note that I had to edit this cartoon to make it fit the layout of this page. Click to see the original configuration]

No (France)

I have very mixed feelings about cartoons like this one. Showing Bin Laden’s insignia being swiped off the earth like dust or dirt makes me feel uncomfortable. On one hand it’s my German background that sets off alarm bells when the concept of “cleansing” is used in a figurative sense. On the other hand I think that statements like this one are too simple to make for good cartoons.

On a third hand very specific to this cartoon I think that it is a bit weird to use an impersonal, probably divine broom as a metaphor for a US Navy Seals operation.

Tchavdar (Bulgaria)

There are a number of cartoons that use the World Trade Center to comment on Bin Laden’s death (here is one that uses a very similar gag).

You can simply read them as “An Eye For An Eye” or a kind of Karmic Death fantasy. But some of them, and particularly the one to the left, end up comparing the killing of Bin Laden with a terrorist act like the 9/11. Which, intentional or not, is a very, very problematic thing to do. Still, this is nicely draw. And it has Jack Elam guest starring as Al Quaeda.

Hezz (Finland)

Quite a few cartoons imagine Osama bin Laden in the afterlife – either a fire-and-brimstone version of Hell or fluffy cloud Heaven. These cartoons very often employ Schadenfreude and more often than not mention the virgins allegedly promised to Islamist martyrs.

This one is my favorite because its utter absurdity makes up for the simple morale of a bad guy getting what he deserves. Of course Finnish artist Hezz has long years of experience with very weird Bin Laden cartoons (e.g. this one).

Lloyy (Spain)

This cartoon falls into the “Evil Bin Laden” caricature category. I thought that it was pretty unsettling – is it some kind of corpse portrait? In fact there are several cartoons that show Osama Bin Laden’s dead body – sometimes even his severed head in some kind of medieval display of power à la “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia”. This one at least doesn’t have any blood.

On a sidenote: What’s with the shark? It’s probably meant to say that both are dangerous predators.. but that fish is tiny.

Caminante (El Salvador)

Caminante’s portrait of smiling Bin Laden got several bad ratings. I actually liked it for its goofiness – there are very few caricatures that approach him that way. I am not sure if it got the bad ratings for the simplistic style – in fact it resembles him more than some caricatures that got better ratings.

Another explanation would be that it was his goofiness and his smile. Maybe there shouldn’t be anything goofy or smiley about a guy who caused the death of thousands of people. In the end it could also have been the sickish green background color.

These ten cartoons should give you an idea about the topics in international Osama bin Laden cartoons. You can find most of the Bin Laden cartoons on toonpool.com here. You can find some additional cartoons if you search for alternative spellings like “Usama” or “Ben Laden”.

title image by Bacsa

Paul Hellmich

© toonpool.com

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5 Responses to “10 Cartoons about Osama bin Laden”

  1. Luis says:

    his smile is just a character sketch, the bad cartoon not reflects character.
    is nesesary capture the soul of the character. (bin laden does not usually appear to be in distress or)

  2. Luis says:

    the comentary above is concerning about caminante (el salvador).

  3. Paul says:

    Which caricatures do you think capture the soul of Bin Laden?

  4. yasar kemal turan says:

    toonpool a thank you for the nice comments.very very nice to be with you.love to you from Konya.

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