Inside the Middle East
May 24, 2012
Posted: 1254 GMT

Egyptians headed to polling stations on Thursday, for a second straight day, to place their ballots in what many are calling the first free presidential election in Egypt's history.

Political cartoonists have always been a burden for leaders in tightly-controlled, autocratic political systems. In the old Egypt, under the three-decade rule of former president Hosni Mubarak, the press was less regulated than some of its other Arab neighbors.  Still, Egypt's press has opened greatly since Mubarak's February 2011 ouster, and cartoonists are relishing new freedoms that allow them to unleash their creativity.

Here's a look at what Egypt's political cartoonists had to say about this historic election:

From Egypt Independent, an independent online daily:

This cartoon shows a dentist treating a patient and – referring the nation's newfound political freedoms for voting – says, “Your voice is really bad. You give it to the wrong person every time. Take care this time!”

From the English version of Egypt Independent:

An Egyptian asks a doctor to put him to sleep until elections are over. The doctor says to a fellow doctor, "He's the 5th person today who asks for a shot of anesthesia until elections are over."

From the state-run Al-Ahram Newspaper:

Cartoonist Faraj Hasan shows a revolutionary angel overlooking Egypt on election day. The angel, referring to the martyrs of the revolution, says, “Our blood did not go to waste.”

From Al-Shourouk,an independent daily newspaper:

A picture of Khaled Saeed, the young Egyptian from Alexandria whose 2010 death, allegedly at the hands of police torture, sparked widespread street protests in Egypt.  Saeed also became a symbol of  anger towards security forces in Egypt during the uprising.  His image is placed above a voting box in this cartoon, implying that voters should think of him before deciding. The sentence next to Khaled's picture says, "Before you vote".

From Al-Wafd Newspaper:

Egyptians are watching closely as the competition heats up between their many new political parties.  One of the trains in this cartoon is labelled "Muslim Brotherhood" and the other "Military Council." A woman symbolizing Egypt is tied in the middle.

From independent daily Al-Mesryoon:

Martyrs of the revolution hold a sign from under the grave saying, "No for feloul [remnants of the old regime]!"

Outside of Egypt, cartoonists have also been pushing societal and political barriers.  Here's one from Jordanian cartoonist Abu Mahjoub:

Jordanian cartoonist Emad Hajjaj shows a fourth pyramid in Egypt.  It is labeled, "the presidential elections" as a new part of the Egyptian history.

From the Pan-Arab Newspaper Dar Al-Hayat:

Cartoonist Habib Haddad draws a sphinx sitting on an egg. The sentence on the egg reads, “Presidential Elections.”

On another note, Inside the Middle East met with Emad and Osama Hajjaj, two Jordanian cartoonists whose caricatures usually tackle political issues deemed sensitive to governments around the Middle East, in April 2011.  Take a look at our video here.

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Filed under: Culture •Egypt •Elections •Media

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bill   May 26th, 2012 1:45 pm ET

Egyptians have the best sence of humor than the entire midle east. Been there and witnessed it. I hope they never lose it.

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