RAP21, which bills itself as the "African press network for the 21st century" profiled Abdul Arts, this blog's favorite cartoonist, the Somali exile who left his country because he couldn't live under the prevailing "shut your mouth, otherwise you will be killed" attitude.
Former colleagues have paid the price of staying. Mohamed Muhiaddin, his former editor at a Somali weekly, was blown up by extremists in late 2007. A former colleague, Said Tahil Ahmed, continued working as a journalist. He was gunned down in a public market. Mayow Hassan, a radio journalist was murdered on January 1.
Even in Egypt, Abdul Arts doesn't feel entirely safe. He routinely receives threatening emails everytime a cartoon is published. Nevertheless he carries on. "My goal is drawing these cartoons is to support the peace process and freedom of the press. I also use my cartoons to present the situation of my country, to show the people the crimes against the humanity, and the crisis in my country....Being a political cartoonist in my country and Africa is a dangerous career, because there isn't freedom of speech. But I am an ambitious person and I hope to continue my job as long as I can and never stop."