Friday Flashback Review: Habibi

With most of the world powers at odds today with their citizens, the ugly head of “nationalism”, has creeped its way into most of the world’s conscience. As it has become increasingly more difficult, to tell whether a person’s good intentions can be separated from their political ideology, the world now mostly has ignored those less fortunate. Where once the world’s most powerful countries, were asked more often, whether they should intervene, most earliest in anyone’s mind who is living now, is America was going to intervene in World War II, it was never a question, “if”, but a question “when”.  The harsh truth is that world lacks the most basic of human characteristics, empathy.

The current xenophobia plaguing the ecosphere truly disregards the words left under the feet of the Statue of Liberty and attempts to invalidate immigrants and their descendants. It also leaves those who are refugees that have been persecuted, hunted, maligned and invalidated by the countries they came from, as now most of the Western world, is no longer a place for safe harbor. This is the very reason, why especially the Western world, should at least try and understand why people leave their homeland and why those flee when living there becomes unbearable. So, when I heard about Craig Thompson‘s epic story of two former slaves, Habibi, I was not only drawn to the art and premise but found it to be necessary reading into today day ad time.

In this story, we meet Dodola and Zam, two refugee child slaves, in a world stuck in time, where harems still exist, slavery is a common as buying stocks and anyone who is a woman or who possesses melanin, are devalued and considered less than a man. We follow these characters from toddlers to young adults, as the suffer and fight through a life of hurt for both. When the world becomes too much, they find comfort in each other, alleviating each other’s pain and sacrificing for each other, at times, to their own detriment, for shelter and sustenance. By the end of this epic, your heart more than embraces these characters, you wish for their prosperity, as the life they have lived would break most people, but makes these two stronger.

Overall, a story that affected me in the heartfelt of ways, as living in today’s climate, and being the son of immigrants, I hope and have been taught to be empathetic to those less fortunate, but as the book shows me, there is definite room for improvement. The story by Craig Thompson is masterfully told, meticulously detailed, and well-researched in Islam and Third world culture. The art by Craig Thompson is too much for words, as his sequential art is both beautiful and surreal, as there are times when it feels like a dream. Altogether, a book that proves necessary reading when love for your fellow man has become a rarity.

Story: Craig Thompson Art: Craig Thompson
Story: 10 Art:10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy NOW!!!