And the people whose odor I preferred were generally the ones who were the kindest to me. âI think Riad believes the world around him is really scary on a daily basis,â Berjeaut said. Nor was he attracted to Charlieâs style of deliberately confrontational satire. The Quai Branly is at once a voluptuous tribute to the riches of French ethnography (several of the pieces came from the collections of Claude LÃ©vi-Strauss and others) and a reminder of a history of overseas plunder. Ãmile Bravo, a comic-book artist who is a close friend of Sattoufâs, met him at a conference in 2002. âI think what he liked about Assad was that he had come from a very poor background and ended up ruling over other people. âThe Arab of the Future,â he said, gives the reader âthe raw facts,â untainted by any âpolitical discourse.â But Sattoufâs choice of facts is selective, and it would be hard to read âThe Arab of the Futureâ as anything other than a bitter indictment of the pan-Arabist project that his father espoused. The effect of this omission is one of time travel, back to the vanished future of pan-Arabism. The work recounts Sattouf's childhood growing up in France, Libya and Syria in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Among French intellectuals, however, particularly those who study the Arab world, Sattouf is a more controversial figure. The novelty of his blond hair and French origin drew attention and interrogations from classmates, who accused him of being Jewish. A portrait of the children of Franceâs ruling class, âRetour au CollÃ¨geâ is at once affectionate and sneering, gross and touching: a Sattouf signature. That portrait has made âThe Arab of the Futureâ a very popular book among Arab exiles and expatriates in France. The more he tried to minimize his interest in the Arab world, the more he talked about it, usually in the form of comic riffs. Dr. Albiruni Ryan Abdul Razak may practise medicine only, (i) in a setting that is approved by the Chair, Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, University of Toronto, in which Dr. Abdul Razak holds an academic appointment at the rank of Associate Professor, and (ii) in accordance with the requirements of his academic appointment. Though false, the kidnapping story was curiously apt. The Ultimate Symbol of America’s Diminished Soft Power, China Is the Myanmar Coup’s ‘Biggest Loser’, The One Area Where the U.S. COVID-19 Strategy Seems to Be Working, The Arab of the Future 2: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1984-1985. âI was totally disoriented,â he said. He claims to have forgotten the Arabic he learned in Syria, has no Arab friends, doesnât follow the news from the Middle East, and knows no one in the Paris-based Syrian opposition. Name: Riad Sattouf. The Syrian boys Sattouf met were like âlittle men,â intimidatingly fluent in the rhetoric of warfare. Tell me about you, Adam. Sattouf loathes nationalism and is fond of the saying, paraphrased from Salman Rushdie, âA man does not have roots, he has feet.â He says that he feels âcloser to a comic-book artist from Japan than I do to a Syrian or a French person.â Yet he has become famous for a book set largely in two countries where some of the most violent convulsions since the Arab Spring have unfolded. “He was torn: [on one] side, he was for modernity and education, and at the same time he believed in Satan and black magic. In the fourth volume of The Arab of the Future, little Riad has grown into a teenager. A French graphic novelistâs shocking memoir of the Middle East. It struck me that there was perhaps a compensatory element to his penchant for adolescent sexual humor. âWhen I started to remember this period, I realized that many of my memories were of sounds and smells,â Sattouf told me. He spends all his days eating in expensive restaurants.â, This was one of the few times Iâd heard Sattouf refer to himself as an Arab. Sattouf, whose teens were spent in a housing project in Brittany, often jokes self-consciously about his success. Ter Maaleh was Abdel-Razakâs home, but he hadnât been back in seventeen years, and he was nearly as much of a stranger there as his wife, the only woman in the village who didnât cover herself. Mathieu Sapin, one of Sattoufâs studio mates, told me, âIn a very short time, Riad imposed himself as a figure with a set of themes all his ownâyouth, education, sexual frustration, the things we see in Daniel Clowes, but in a French style.â When readers told Sattouf to âstop with your stories of losers,â he invented a buff, bisexual superhero named Pascal Brutal. For all his rants against Jews, Africans, and, above all, the Shia, he remains strangely endearing, a kind of Arab Archie Bunker. His bookish French mother and pan-Arabist father, Abdel-Razak Sattouf . âIf you grow up in a dictatorship like Syria, you want to control everything, because youâre afraid that if you donât, and you say one wrong word, you could end up in jail.â But I sensed that there were other motives at work. The penultimate installment in the bestselling French graphic memoir series—hailed as “exquisitely illustrated” and “irresistible”—covering the years of Riad Sattouf’s adolescence, from 1987-1992. The New Yorker may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. He said that his younger brother works as an engineer in Boulogne but that âyou will never know anything else about him! (Sheâs the Marge Simpson of âThe Arab of the Future,â rolling her eyes as her husband quotes the maxims of Qaddafiâs manifesto, âThe Green Book.â). âIâm not surprised theyâre calling it an Orientalist book, but itâs a false debate,â he said. Riad Sattouf is a best-selling cartoonist and filmmaker who grew up in Syria, Libya, and Algeria, and now lives in Paris. Whenever he felt cornered by my questions, which was often, he would cross his arms and glare at me, in a parody of machismo. âAre you Tunisian?â she asked him. The principal boasted that in his school you didnât hear students saying âGo fuck your mother,â but Sattouf heard much worse, and spared none of the details. In the second volume of âThe Arab of the Future,â little Riad learns of her death while eavesdropping on a conversation between his parents. He hoped that the region would overcome the legacy of colonialism and recover its strength under the leadership of charismatic modernizersâsecular autocrats like his hero Gamal Abdel Nasser. If you do, someone at the airport is going to say to you, âPlease come this way, sir.â Ten years later, you will have a great article for The New Yorker about life in an Algerian prison. He draws his figures in black-and-white, and distills their features in a few expressive gestures: enormous noses, dots for eyes, single lines for eyebrows. (Sattouf writes, âI tried to be the most aggressive one toward the Jews, to prove that I wasnât one of them.â) Another pastime was killing small animals: the first volume of âThe Arab of the Futureâ concludes with the lynching of a puppy. His first works were variations on the theme of male sexual frustration, often his own. Sattouf brought the same sensibility to his strip for Charlie Hebdo, âThe Secret Life of Youth,â which appeared weekly from 2004 until late 2014. But, when I asked him about this episode, he would say only that one of his relatives succeeded in getting to France, while the others found refuge in an Arab country that he refused to name. I should go to the gym, but Iâm too lazy!â. Assad had a destiny, and my father thought that he might, too. The novel follows 2-year-old Sattouf, his mother Clementine, and father Abdel-Razak. I have very vivid memories of that period. Al-hamdu lillah! âI knew Syria would never be like the other Arab countries. A couple of years later, after the birth of Sattouf’s brother, Abdel-Razak got a job teaching in Damascus, and moved the family to Ter Maaleh, the village where he’d grown up. A young, working-class man of North African background, with a shaved head and wearing a parka and sneakers, speaks in thick banlieue slang on his cell phone, often with his back to us. It’s strange to see that a part of the world still live[s] somewhere in our brain. He identifies his relatives by their smell: the sweat of his Syrian grandmother, which he prefers to the perfume of his French grandmother; the âsour smellâ of his maternal grandfather. The book chronicles several struggles, each unique to the country that they they go through in Libya and Syria , under the respective dictatorships of Muammar Gaddafi and Hafez al-Assad. By moving back to the Arab world, he hoped to take part in this project, and to rear his son as âthe Arab of the future.â, In Libya, the family was given a house but no keys, because the Great Leader had abolished private property; they returned home one day to find it occupied by another family. âRiad Sattouf has lots of money because his book is a best-seller. I hate muscular people. When the Sattouf family visits the ruins of Palmyra, there is no mention of its notorious prison, which was destroyed by the Islamic State last May, because Sattoufâs father never mentioned it, and Sattouf wanted to âconvey the ignorance of childhood.â The events that reshaped Syriaâthe death of Hafez al-Assad, the rise of his son Bashar, the uprising and the civil warâare never even hinted at in the first two volumes, which cover the years 1978-85. These washesââcolors of emotion,â Sattouf calls themâcreate a powerfully claustrophobic effect, as if each country were its own sealed-off environment. Martin has been involved in the museum since its conception, in 1998. For reasons of … In âNo Sex in New York,â inspired by a trip he made there not long after 9/11, he depicts himself as a schlemiel with an inconvenient Muslim name, a natural-born loser in a ruthlessly competitive sexual marketplace. This branch of medicine is called Nephrology, or renal medicine. Itâs the readers who think theyâve understood a society as complex as Syria because theyâve read a single comic book.â Until the current war, he said, âSyria was a black hole, an Atlantis, in France. It took hundreds of thousands of deaths, a human disaster, for the French to open their eyes. When he saw me waiting for him outside the cafÃ©, he said, âWhat, you didnât enter? “I think I have seen things rarely seen,” Sattouf said. “My father was a living paradox, that’s what I want to show in the book,” Sattouf wrote to me. Ad Choices. What heâs written is very personal, a kind of self-analysis, really. Fighting the Israeli Army was the most popular schoolyard game. According to Sattouf, it was Bravo who gave him the confidence to begin writing his own stories. Usually, Sattouf speaks in a soft, rather delicate voice; he told me that when he makes a reservation at a restaurant he lowers his voice so that heâs not mistaken for a woman. I create beautiful legacy portraits & provide a … I felt very comfortable knowing that he was known as one of very the best surgeons in obstetrics. Furthermore, what Sattouf does say about himself can be highly contradictory. “It was quite simple really, although sometimes painful to go there,” he explained. âThe problem isnât Sattouf, who has written a funny and sympathetic book. The Arab of the Future 4 continues the saga of the Sattouf family and their peripatetic life in France and the Middle East. Dr Azeem Abdul-Razak is a Nephrologist specialising in Renal Medicine in Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia. When I asked for the real names of his parents, he pretended to spot an attractive woman at another table: âLook at those titties!â He told me that his father died in Syria sometime in the first years of this century, but would not give a date. often disquieting, but always honest.” —France 24 . Riad now works in Paris as a filmmaker and cartoonist—at one point at Charlie Hebdo. ... People felt ignorant in front of him, and so did not dare to criticize him face-to-face.”, Abdel-Razak exhibited a complicated relationship to religion, an oversized sense of self that his small village could barely contain, and a commitment to progress that didn’t always match up to the reality of Syria under Hafez al-Assad. Although Sattoufâs work is confessional, in person he is guarded; even his closest friends describe him as secretive. Food was scarce; sometimes they subsisted on bananas. âNetanyahu, Abbas, all the heads of state, French people singing the âMarseillaiseâ: I think Cabu and the others would have been traumatized if theyâd seen the demonstrationâhorrified, really. Sattouf listened quietly to Martin as we strolled along the long nave where most of the museumâs artifacts are exhibited. âI can already see the first lines in The New Yorker,â he replied. The author of four comics series in France and a former contributor to the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, Sattouf is now a weekly columnist for l'Obs. Riad’s schooling was replete with religious and political indoctrination. Riad Sattouf is a best-selling cartoonist and filmmaker who grew up in Syria, Libya, and Algeria, and now lives in Paris. Dr Abdel-Razek delivered my beautiful boy/girl twins by csection. He also directed the films The French Kissers and Jacky in the Women's Kingdom. The Syrian Civil War has raged for over five and a half years at the cost of around half a million lives. When I rescheduled a meeting with a wealthy Algerian businessman, Sattouf said, âDonât go back to Algeria for the next forty years! My recovery time was very fast. Riad Sattouf’s graphic-memoir series, The Arab of the Future, details a journey taken in precisely the opposite direction several decades ago, but it’s one that nevertheless provokes many of the same questions. There will be a presidential election! In the second volume of The Arab of the Future, Sattouf introduces us to Abdel-Razak’s niece, Leila, a thirty-five-year-old widow, who takes an interest in little Riad’s art and teaches him one-point perspective and how to turn his sketch of Pompidou into a caricature of Assad. He returned to Syria with his wife, Clementine, and his son in hopes of contributing to his homeland and raising Riad as an “Arab of the future.” The books illustrate how Sattouf straddled the Western world of his mother and the Middle Eastern world of his father. âI never took notes, and I always changed the looks of the people I drew,â he told me. In interviews, he has said that he wrote âThe Arab of the Futureâ out of a desire for ârevengeâ when France declined to provide him with visas for relatives who were trapped in Homs, under siege by the Syrian Army. . At family gatherings, the women cooked for the men, and waited to eat whatever morsels were left. He showed me his method one day while we were riding the MÃ©tro. Abdel-Razak, as the book has it, is a dreamer and a blusterer, and a devout pan-Arabist whose all-time hero is the Egyptian nationalist … âThe reality is much less sexy than you think,â he wrote. A number of rumors about Sattouf have circulated in the press and on Wikipedia (which, until recently, claimed that he grew up partly in Algeria). In the living room, there were framed drawings by his favorite cartoonistsâChris Ware, Richard Corben, and Robert Crumb, among othersâand a collection of electric guitars. She said that she sold her house there only after the uprising against the Ben-Ali dictatorship, when the security situation deteriorated. He was for education, but he wasn’t for democracy.”, In one scene excerpted here, Sattouf’s teacher explains the voting process ahead of the 1985 presidential election: “Tomorrow a great event will take place in our country! On the first day that we met, Sattouf took me to lunch at Les Comptoirs de Carthage, a canteen in the Marais owned by Kate Daoud, an Englishwoman in her sixties who married a Tunisian and lived in Tunisia for many years before settling in Paris. Letâs enter! He was dressed like a college student, with jeans, a black Lacoste T-shirt, white Stan Smith sneakers, and backpack.