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What’s in a Name? Branding Punch in Cairo, 1908

Part of the Transcultural Research – Heidelberg Studies on Asia and Europe in a Global Context book series (TRANSCULT)

Abstract

In February 1908, a double-page colour cartoon appeared in the new Cairo-based journal al-Siyāsa al-musawwara (politics illustrated, founded December 1907). Reflecting on the ‘press wars’ in Cairo at the time, the cartoon features men in fezzes and coats (and one in a turban and abāya) representing editors of leading nationalist and anti-London newspapers—al-Liwāʾ (founded 1890, Mustafa Kamil), al-Muʾayyad (founded 1889, ʿAli Yusuf), and al-Minbār (founded 1906, Hafiz ʿAwad). Marching in procession, each bears a banner on which the title of his newspaper is stamped in Arabic and English. They head in the direction indicated by a sign saying ‘To the Way of Independence [sic] and Lyberty [sic]’ (in both English and Arabic). To the right, a beast with cloven hooves and three human heads (ears pointed) carries three flags with small Union Jacks on them. The heads face in three directions, straining against each other. One faces a sign saying ‘To the way of protection’—in Arabic, himāya, meaning also the ‘Protectorate’. This was the fiction by which London named its occupation of Egypt, which had lasted for a quarter century. One of the triple Union Jack flags bears the name AL MOKATTAM (al-Muqattam)—a newspaper slammed in the nationalist press as funded by and supportive of the British occupation.

Keywords

  • Arab World
  • Local Politics
  • International Politics
  • Local Audience
  • Graphic Cartoon

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Al-Minbār was co-founded by Muhammad Masʿūd, but the better known ʿAwad is likely to be the editor portrayed.

  2. 2.

    The 37 issues I have studied are held in the Hoover Institution Library, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA. I thank the staff, particularly Paul H. Thomas, Librarian, for help, efficiency and generosity in providing me with material, which I reproduce here with the Library’s knowledge. The copyright holders of this publication are untraceable. The US Library of Congress holds posters/covers from later years, as late as 1913. I am grateful to Yasemin Gencer for this information and to Eliane Ettmüller for putting me in contact with her, as well as alerting me to the mention of this journal that set me off on this detective spree. I am indebted as well to colleagues who have helped me with far-flung references or read a version of the chapter: Tony Gorman, Hans Harder, Sonja Hotwagner, Brian Maidment, Barbara Mittler, and I-Wei Wu. I am grateful to Anne Moßner for her careful editing.

    In references, when an authorial name appears in brackets, it is because within the essay there are textual clues that this is the author, but the text is unsigned. For unsigned articles without unequivocal textual clues as to authorship, I omit any authorial name; for al-Siyāsa al-musawwara most, however, were very likely from the pens of either Zaki or his collaborator, the poet Hafiz Ibrahim. In this essay, I do not always use both titles to refer to the journal; but al-Siyāsa al-musawwara/The Cairo Punch are invariably the same journal.

  3. 3.

    In the first 37 issues (15 December 1907–1914 December 1908), of 37 visual images, 19 focus centrally on the British in Egypt, six on British imperialism in the broader European context, three on local politics in Egypt (but with the overlay of foreign interference), three on the Ottoman Empire and European designs on it, three on European imperialism elsewhere in the Arab world, and one on international politics more generally. The remaining two are the only images that do not fall in to the category of cartoon or caricature: they are representations of the Egyptian Khedive and of Ottoman power following the 1908 Ottoman constitution, of which al-Siyāsa al-musawwara clearly approved.

  4. 4.

    [Untitled cartoon], al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 8, 14 February 1908, 2–3. Image signed ‘A. H. Zaki’. All translations from Arabic and French in this essay are mine. When a text appeared in English or in French in the journal, that is clearly indicated, otherwise it can be assumed that all quotations are my translations from the Arabic.

  5. 5.

    This point about translation will also be seen at work in I-Wei Wu, chapter Participating in Global Affairs: The Chinese Cartoon Monthly Shanghai Puck in this volume.

  6. 6.

    Eliane Ursula Ettmüller, ‘The Construction of the National-Self through the Definition of its Enemy in James Sanua’s Early Satirical Writings’, PhD diss. [Inauguraldissertation], Universität Heidelberg, 2011, 215, 285–86.

  7. 7.

    Chapter Insistent Localism in a Satiric World: Shaykh Naggār’s ‘Reed-Pipe’ in the 1890s Cairene Press in this volume.

  8. 8.

    Ahmad al-Maghāzī, Al-Sihāfa al-fanniyya fi Misr, vol. 1, Nashʾatuhā wa-tatawwuruhā min al-hamla al-faransawiyya 1798 ilā Misr al-dustūriyya 1924 (Cairo: GEBO, 1978), 167–68.

  9. 9.

    “Rusūmunā,” HāHāHā 1, no. 1, 8 March 1907, 7, quoted in al-Maghāzī, Al-Sihāfa, 171; my translation.

  10. 10.

    The verb haʾhaʾ in Arabic signifies ‘to laugh’, though it is certainly not the most literary or classical choice. Deleting the glottal stop in a noun form associated with the verb further emphasises the colloquial and possibly foreign stamp of the title. A quadrilateral verb, haʾhaʾ could be of foreign provenance, but is also similar to other onomatopoeiac verbs in Arabic in using this form.

  11. 11.

    Muhammad Masʿūd and Hāfiz ʿAwad [the editors], “al-Muqaddima al-ūlā,” HāHāHā 1, no. 1, 8 March 1907; quoted in al-Maghāzī, Al-Sihāfa, 168; my translation. Al-Maghazi notes that they did not indicate Sanua’s ‘pioneering role’ even though his newspapers had been widely distributed in Egypt and indeed were printed there for the first 2 years (see Ettmüller in this volume).

  12. 12.

    Afaf Lutfi Al-Sayyid Marsot, for example, says that ‘the graphic cartoon was not used in the period between 1880 and 1920’, while noting that ‘Lord Cromer, Kitchener and all the other personalities embroiled in Egyptian public life would have made marvellous subjects for graphic cartoons’—as is demonstrated in Zaki’s cartoons from this allegedly cartoonless period. Afaf Lutfi Al-Sayyid Marsot, “The Cartoon in Egypt,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 13, no. 1 (January 1971): 2–15; 12. No doubt the journal has not been widely available to researchers. Al-Maghazi does not mention it either.

    In the various bibliographic and survey sources on the Arabic/Egyptian press, the journal is noted by its Arabic title, never by ‘The Cairo Punch’. See: Filīb dī [Philippe de] Tarrāzī, Tārīkh al-sihāfa al-ʿarabiyya, 4 vols. (Beirut: al-Matbaʿa al-adabiyya, 1913–1914), vol. 4, 189, 280, 370–71; Mudawwanat al-sihāfa al-ʿarabiyya, eds. Yūsuf Q. Khūrī and ʿAlī Dhū al-Faqqār Shākir (Beirut: Maʿhad al-inmāʾ al-ʿarabī, 1985), vol. 1, 228; Qustakī ʿAttāra, Tārīkh takwīn al-suhuf al-misriyya (Alexandria: Matbaʿat al-taqaddum, 1928), 305; Ibrāhīm ʿAbduh, Tatawwur al-sihāfa al-Misriyya 1798–1951 (Cairo: Maktabat al-Adab, 1944), 298; and the discussion of contemporary practice below.

  13. 13.

    Except for a single zajal (colloquial Arabic strophic poem), a verbal caricature of a westernised Copt. “al-Qird yitburnat,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 33, 25 October 1908, 4.

  14. 14.

    See, for example, a conversation between ministers on the train to Fayyum, where they will attend dedication of a new school. “Muhādathat al-nuzzār,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 14, 3 April 1908, 1.

  15. 15.

    Thus Marsot suggests that amidst the serious nationalist journalism of the twentieth century’s first decade, colloquial humour would have been out of place; and this is one reason why she places the emergence of the cartoon (with the exception of Sanua) later in the century (Marsot, “The Cartoon,” 12–13). However, this view errs on two counts: there were satirical periodicals drawing wholly or partly on colloquial Arabic throughout this period (from the 1890s on); and, at least in al-Siyāsa al-musawwara, graphic cartoons did not necessitate the use of the vernacular.

  16. 16.

    Tarrāzī, Tārīkh al-sihāfa al-ʿarabiyya, vol. 4, 188–89, n. 3.

  17. 17.

    The few sources that mention this periodical differ on its launch date and its move to Bologna. Tarrāzī, Tārīkh al-sihāfa al-ʿarabiyya, gives 1 January 1908 as its appearance in Bologna (370–71) but it was still in Cairo at that time. Khūrī and Shākir, Mudawwanat al-sihāfa al-ʿarabiyya, vol. 1, 228, lists it as starting in Nov 1907. ʿAttāra, Tārīkh takwīn, 305, lists it for 1908 rather than 1907, noting that the first issue appears ‘at the start of January’. ʿAbduh, Tatawwur, 298, lists it as the last newspaper appearing in Egypt in 1907.

  18. 18.

    ʿAbd al-Hamīd Zakī, “al-Muqaddima”, al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 1, 15 December 1907, 1.

  19. 19.

    Ibid.

  20. 20.

    Ibid.

  21. 21.

    Ibid.

  22. 22.

    [ʿAbd al-Hamīd Zakī], “Maqām al-jarīda fī ʿalam al-siyāsa,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 17, 1 May 1908, 1.

  23. 23.

    Khanduri’s archival work on Punch as a commodity amongst British army personnel in India notes its popularity there and the journal’s ‘patriotic’ provision of free copies and occasional permission to reprint images. As she notes, this was also a savvy marketing strategy. Ritu G. Khanduri, “Vernacular Punches: Cartoons and Politics in Colonial India,” History and Anthropology 20, no. 4 (Dec. 2009): 459–86; 463–64, as well as in this volume.

  24. 24.

    Letters were sent by this partner in early 1902 from Cairo and Port Said back to his offices in London. Khanduri, “Vernacular Punches,” 465.

  25. 25.

    This topic is beyond the scope of this chapter, but at the turn of the twentieth century a number of such works in Arabic were available in print.

  26. 26.

    Khanduri, “Vernacular Punches,” 476.

  27. 27.

    On this in the Indian context, see Khanduri, “Vernacular Punches”. However, it is not clear where Khanduri locates the colonial audience(s) for either the London journal or its vernacular incarnations, amongst the several possible readerships in colonial India.

  28. 28.

    Khanduri, “Vernacular Punches,” 459–61.

  29. 29.

    I examined all issues of Punch (the London original) for 1906, 1907 and 1908 (minus three issues for 1908) and found no borrowing of images between the two magazines, nor any references to The Cairo Punch.

  30. 30.

    It is actually not weekly but rather comes out every fortnight.

  31. 31.

    In the first few issues, Hafiz Ibrahim is clearly the author of the short and often satirical texts. Later in the first volume, longer and more specifically political articles appear, and are unsigned. A few poems by Hafiz Ibrahim—known in Arabic letters as a major neoclassical poet of the time—appear in later issues. It is unclear what role Ibrahim played in the journal after the first few issues.

  32. 32.

    ʿAbd al-Hamīd Zakī, “al-Muqaddima,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 1, 15 December 1907, 1.

  33. 33.

    ʿAbd al-Hamīd Zakī, “Bayān wa-tawdīh,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 4, 15 January 1908, 1.

  34. 34.

    “Istiqbāl al-jarīda wa-numūww al-shuʿūr al-watanī,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 2, 27 December 1907, 4.

  35. 35.

    I have one later image from this periodical, 4, no. 85 (dated simply 1911/1329), where a small masthead in Arabic and even smaller-type reference to The Cairo Punch also conveys the information that the head office is in Bologna, Italy. A. H. Zaki remains director and proprietor. On an image from the sixth year (no. 151, 1913), the same Cairo P.O. Box is given as we find in the first year. I am grateful to Yasemin Gencer and Eliane Ettmueller for providing me with this image.

    Tarrazi says that in its third year the journal moved, but in his list of Arabic-language periodicals published in Europe, he has al-Siyāsa al-musawwara listed as published in Bologna from 1 January 1908. In fact it appears to have remained in Cairo for at least the first year, until the end of 1908. (Tarrāzī, Tārīkh al-sihāfa al-ʿarabiyya, vol. 4, 370–71).

  36. 36.

    Christopher Harrison, France and Islam in West Africa, 1860–1960 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 52.

  37. 37.

    [ʿAbd al-Hamīd Zakī], “Maqām al-jarīda fī ʿalam al-siyāsa,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 17, 1 May 1908, 1.

  38. 38.

    Ibid.

  39. 39.

    This feature deserves a study in itself, which I cannot do more than suggest in this context. One fascinating issue is when and how the editor decides to explain caricature(s).

  40. 40.

    I have not seen any other journals from India, Turkey, or Japan featured in this period in the Review.

  41. 41.

    “A Curious Egyptian View of International Politics,” in “Current History in Caricature,” Review of Reviews 37, no. 218 (February 1908), 155. The original appears in al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 2, 27 December 1907, 2–3. I have not been able to look at Review of Reviews for December 1907 but presumably the journal could not have printed a caricature from the Egyptian magazine so quickly (and there is none in January 1908)—unless of course these prints were being circulated pre-publication, and I have no evidence for that.

  42. 42.

    “Current History in Caricature,” Review of Reviews 37, no. 220 (April 1908), 355. The original appears in al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 10, March 6, 1908, 2–3. Unlike the first caricature reproduced from this journal, this one has an edited version of the English caption though not one identifiably edited for content or political line.

  43. 43.

    See, for example, “Lord Cromer’s ‘Modern Egypt’. Various Views by Diverse Critics. A Writer of Half Truths,” Review of Reviews 37, no. 220 (April 1908): 359–60.

  44. 44.

    I examined the following issues of Review of Reviews: January-December 1908, January-December 1909, I went through the contents of each issue and examined in every issue the two features ‘The Progress of the World’ (which often included caricatures) and ‘Current History in Caricature’, plus any other feature with a cartoon and any articles on Egypt, Morocco or Turkey. I did not examine untitled features in the journal not labelled in the online contents as cartoon/caricature. My source for this publication is the database ‘British Periodicals’.

  45. 45.

    “Charivaria,” Punch, or the London Charivari 135, 28 October 1908, 315. In this same issue in which appears a full-page cartoon showing the Emperor as a hunter with dog, running after a hare in a fez, and reassuring him: ‘Dear old chap, you mustn’t think I’m hunting you. I’m just running beside my friend here, to save him from feeling lonely!’ Cartoon by Bernard Partridge, “Keeping in with the hare,” Punch, or the London Charivari 135, 28 October 1908, 309. The dog represents the British PM Asquith.

  46. 46.

    A disclaimer here: I am not a historian of the European satirical/visual press. But I would venture to suggest that my lack of expertise perhaps makes more striking my immediate sense of the close visual correlation between these two journals.

  47. 47.

    “Istiqbāl al-jarīda: taqārīz al-jarāʾid,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 9, 28 February 1908, 4. This periodical is al-Miusawwar, the title suggesting a visually focused publication, but I have not seen it. The famous journal by this name was founded in 19.

  48. 48.

    Michel Melot, “Social Comment and Criticism,” in Lithography: 200 Years of Art, History and Technique, ed. Domenico Porzio, trans. Geoffrey Culverwell (London: Bracken Books, 1983), 207–21; 219–20.

  49. 49.

    I thank my colleague Tony Gorman for this information.

  50. 50.

    Anthony Gorman, “‘Diverse in Race, Religion and Nationality […] but United in Aspirations of Civil Progress’: The Anarchist Movement in Egypt 1860–1940,” in Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Post-Colonial World, 1880–1940, eds. Steven Hirsch and Lucien van der Walt (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 3–31; 25.

  51. 51.

    [ʿAbd al-Hamīd Zakī], “Dhikrā dinshawāy,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 24, 9 July 1908, 1. I have not been able to locate this special issue.

  52. 52.

    “Nahnū wa’l-ajānib,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 25, 17 July, 1908, 1.

  53. 53.

    Khanduri, “Vernacular Punches”.

  54. 54.

    I am indebted to my colleague Tony Gorman for this information.

  55. 55.

    Hāfiz Ibrāhīm, “al-Inkilīz,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 1, 15 December 1907, 1. This is my translation from the Arabic; in this issue (alone), the article appears in English and French as well.

  56. 56.

    Hāfiz Ibrāhīm, “Nahnū wa’l-ajānib: Mā lanā wa mā lahum,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 3, 3 January 1908, 1.

  57. 57.

    “Al-rāya al-misriyya al-ʿuthmāniyya,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 5, 24 January 1907, 1.

  58. 58.

    “Istiqbāl al-jarīda wa-numūww al-shuʿūr al-watanī,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 2, 27 December 1907, 4.

  59. 59.

    I-Wei Wu shows a visual illustration of this practice, see chapter Participating in Global Affairs: The Chinese Cartoon Monthly Shanghai Puck in this volume.

  60. 60.

    “Istiqbāl al-jarīda wa-numūww al-shuʿūr al-watanī,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 2, 27 December 1907, 4.

  61. 61.

    “Taqārīz al-jarāʾid,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 8, 14 February 1908, 4.

  62. 62.

    “Istiqbāl al-jarīda wa-numūww al-shuʿūr al-watanī,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 2, 27 December 1907, 4. I have not been able to access al-Muqattam to check whether it had additional things to say about the new journal.

  63. 63.

    “Iʿlān,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 1, 15 December 1907, 1.

  64. 64.

    “Sudūr al-ʿadad al-rābiʿ,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 3, 3 January 1908, 1.

  65. 65.

    “Jāʾiza li-mushtarikī al-jarīda,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 3, 3 January 1908, 4, appearing in many subsequent issues.

  66. 66.

    “Al-Taswīr bi’l-zayt,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 13, March 27, 1908, 4.

  67. 67.

    al-Manār 10, no. 12, February 1, 1908, 950. This is never said in ‘politics illustrated’ itself.

  68. 68.

    “Al-Mujallad al-awwal,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 24, July 9, 1908, 1. This is the issue following the one in which the Dinshawāy memorial issue is announced, suggesting a desire to immediately capitalise on its notoriety.

  69. 69.

    [Untitled cartoon], al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 1, December 15, 1907, 2–3. Image signed ‘A. H. Zaki’.

  70. 70.

    One ‘reading’ of the cartoon comes from the nationalist newspaper al-Liwāʾ, describing the surgeon’s scissors metaphorically: ‘Before her [the ailing Egypt] stands an Englishman who unsheathes his weapon to extract the heart; the drawing demonstrates the fine taste and skill of its artist producer’. “Istiqbāl al-jarīda wa-numūww al-shuʿūr al-watanī,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 2, 27 December 1907, 4.

  71. 71.

    The French is different still.

  72. 72.

    [Untitled cartoon], al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 2. 27 December 1907, 2–3. Image signed ‘A. H. Zaki’.

  73. 73.

    Hāfiz Ibrāhīm, “Kalima li-nābighat shuʿarāʾ al-mashriq hāfiz efendi ibrāhīm,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 2, 27 December 1907, 1.

  74. 74.

    Hāfiz Ibrāhīm, “Tābiʿat kalimat hāfiz ibrāhīm (al-manshūra bi’l-ʿadad al-thānī),” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 3, 3 January 1908, 1.

  75. 75.

    “Bulunyā misr, aw mahall jadīd lil-tahattuk,” al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 20, 5 June 1908, 1.

  76. 76.

    “Kafaʾat al-būlīs al-Misrī!!!” [cartoon], al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 30, 6 September 1908, 2–3. Image signed ‘A. H. Zaki’.

  77. 77.

    [Untitled cartoon], al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 24, 9 July 1908, 2–3. Image signed ‘A. H. Zaki’.

  78. 78.

    “Fī sabīl al-taqaddum!!!” [cartoon], al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 15, 17 April 1908, 2–3. Image signed ‘A. H. Zaki’.

  79. 79.

    Moreover, the Cairo magazine exhibits no interest in parodying conventional genres, unlike the London journal. Such parodies would become important to Egyptian political satirical journals in the 1920s. On this, see Marilyn Booth, Bayram al-Tunisi’s Egypt: Social Criticism and Narrative Strategies, St. Antony’s Middle East Monographs, 22 (Exeter: Ithaca Press, 1990).

  80. 80.

    Cf. Peter Duus’s comments on Japanese receptivity to political cartoons around the turn of the twentieth century, in Peter Duus, “Presidential Address: Weapons of the Weak, Weapons of the Strong—The Development of the Japanese Political Cartoon,” The Journal of Asian Studies 60, no. 4 (November 2001): 965–97.

  81. 81.

    See Marilyn Booth, “Insistent Localism,” chapter Punch in India: Another History of Colonial Politics? in this volume.

  82. 82.

    On this appropriation see Khanduri, “Vernacular Punches,” 469. She notes that this entailed a ‘fusion’ of the British figure with local mythical figures.

  83. 83.

    [Untitled cartoon], al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 11, 13 March 1908, 2–3. Image signed ‘A. H. Zaki’. Unusually, this cartoon narrates the subject in two frames, the first titled ‘Cromer on the throne of the Pharoahs’ and the second, ‘His exit from Egypt’. Of the first 13 cartoons, only 3 carry titles, in Arabic, above the Arabic caption. With no. 14, cartoons come to regularly carry titles, though a very few do not.

  84. 84.

    In addition to the example mentioned earlier, Egypt is represented as an abject young woman in rags and chains crawling toward a devilish figure, over a sea of faces: the British Parliament (al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 4, 15 January 1908, 2–3); as a young crowned haloed female figure mounted above a procession of nationalist newspaper editors (al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 5, 24 January 1907, 2–3); and as a young Pharaonic queen held down by balls and chain (al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 6, 31 January 1907, 2–3).

  85. 85.

    “Misr bayna makhālīb al-ajānib” [cartoon], al-Siyāsa al-musawwara 1, no. 14, 3 April 1908, 2–3. Image signed ‘A. H. Zaki’. Similar depictions of China as a melon or cake to be eaten are discussed by I-Wei Wu.

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Booth, M. (2013). What’s in a Name? Branding Punch in Cairo, 1908. In: Harder, H., Mittler, B. (eds) Asian Punches. Transcultural Research – Heidelberg Studies on Asia and Europe in a Global Context. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-28607-0_12

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