Refugees, election nights and dystopia: three comics to read this month

Monthly, Economic alternatives offers a selection of comics dealing with economic and social news

1 / A life to rebuild

The Aldabaan family lived in Syria, in Homs, when the war broke out in 2011. They first sought refuge in Jordan. It is therefore difficult to decide to cross the Atlantic because all members of the family (uncles, aunts, grandmothers) are not so advanced in their visa application to the United States.

In November 2016, the possibility of a victory for the Donald Trump family convinces to take the plane before it is too late. ” If Trump wins, they slam the door in our face fears Ibrahim, the father.

Arriving in Connecticut, the family is no longer afraid of torture and bombing, but their everyday lives are not easy. ” We will do our best to help you, but Iris [l’association d’aide aux réfugiés qui s’occupe des Aldabaan, NDLR] want you to be self-employed, and therefore completely self-employed, within three to four months “, Explains Lara, a volunteer who finds it difficult to believe in herself.

Excerpt from “Welcome to Your New Life” by Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan

Between medical appointments, a new language to learn, a resume to write, job search courses to follow for jobs that are often far from their ambitions (entrepreneur in Syria, Ibrahim is offered to do the toilets), the discovery of the college for the children, the daily life for Aldabaans does not really look like what they had dreamed of. The day Ibrahim receives a racist message on his phone accompanied by death threats, the family is again forced to flee and finds a small hotel that they have a hard time paying for.

These torments, which unfortunately make up the lot of many refugees, are narrated by Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan, a journalist and illustrator at the New York Times, respectively. They followed the family as soon as they left the plane. From their monthly meetings was born a drawn report published in episodes of the New York Times and awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Press Drawings in 2018. the importance of solidarity.

Welcome to your new life, Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan, Buchet Chastel, 2022, 192 pp., € 23.90.

2 / Evenings like no other

Maybe you were with friends, quietly at home in front of the television or on a weekend in the country. Maybe you just do not remember. And on the evening of April 10 and 24, where are you going to be?

The representatives, the first cartoon in the “Rivages Graphiques” collection launched by Payot & Rivages, is a series of sketches whose common point is to have taken place on the eve of the presidential election between 1995 and 2017. Politics then blends into everyday scenes. As in this couple who receive parents from a classmate of their son, and who find themselves toasting with them before the election of Jacques Chirac, while their political opinions diverge.

Or as at this hospital, which in 2007 is being filled with protesters wounded in protest of the election of Nicolas Sarkozy, while siblings there mourn the death of their father and are already arguing over the upcoming legacy.

Among all the characters encountered throughout the chapters, some are indifferent to the announcement of the results, others feel joy, sometimes misunderstandings (” 17%, you know that? But who are these people who voted for him? Exclaims Max when he finds out that Jean-Marie le Pen is in the second round, in 2002). These election nights also give rise to some considerations of abstinence, or the relationship to voting: “ once every seven years we delegate all our powers to a good man who does not have to account for us for seven years … Basically it is a monarchy, except that we re-elect the monarch says Marthe in 1995.

The five chapters have a different graphic character: Each of the four authors of this joint work has drawn one, and the fifth is the fruit of their eight-handed collaboration. The following ? It’s up to you to write it. What will be your story in 2022?

The representatives, Vincent Farasse, David Prudhomme, Alfred, Anne Simon and Sébastien Vassant, Graphic turns, 2022, 162 pp., € 20.

3 / In Angoulême, the price of daring for a dystopia

Angoulême Festival, an unavoidable event for all fans of the 9th art, ended on March 20th. The award for best album was given to Marcello Quintanilha for Listen, beautiful Marcia, where the Brazilian author tells about a family’s daily life in Rio’s favelas and the influence of the gangs that Marcia’s daughter falls under. The audacity award was given to Michael Deforge, for A familiar faceas we reviewed a few months ago when it was published.

With the ambition of following in George Orwell’s footsteps, Michael DeForge paints a portrait of a dystopian society, aided by his very abstract drawing. “My position was not threatened, but the system liked that the substitute lines were visible to motivate the staff”says the narrator, who works for the government.

Welcome to a futuristic world where the dictatorship of technology reigns, where the search for efficiency is pushed to its climax, where the city, roads, buildings and even people are “updated” (modified, improved) by being dependent on the humor of the system.

Excerpt from A Familiar Face by Michael DeForges

With these changes, one fine day, the narrator’s companion disappears. Launched in search of it, we soon discover another universe. From ” radical cartographers has taken over the government system and run wild updates: “The deputy mayor’s house had been moved to the bottom of the lake, the parks were expanded and the roads condemned. » A demonstration is arranged, the requirements are multiplied. Is there still hope for rebellion in this disinfected world “where the slightest gesture, shrug, sigh or whisper seems to be part of a subversive secret code” ?

A familiar face, Michael DeForge, Atrabile, 2021, 176 pp., € 17.

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