A Post 9/11 World: The Graphic Adaptation

FP Passport has an interesting feature on what is best described as “graphical journalism”. The book, “After 9/11”, is essentially a graphical representation of the 9/11 Commission report. You can hear about the artists/authors on NPR.

The reason I wanted to post this is mainly because I am always fascinated, if not infatuated, with how information is being disseminated these days. It used to be such a monochromatic field: books, newspapers, radio, TV. Now it has expanded to new realms like the Internet, blogs, community radio, podcasts, and yes, even graphic novels of this sort. It is an interesting way to present information and in this case, I’m also wondering on how it impacts the historical relevance. In other words, if history is written by the victors, how will that change with more mediums and more players in the information game? How will it impact younger generations that didn’t live through the events, keeping in mind that the majority of undergraduate students at universities around the world can hardly remember 9/11?

If anything, I think there should be an Arabized interpretation that documents the post-9/11 world from our perspective (I know one Jordanian company that might be up to that task). Given the fact that this region and its people have been the most affected by 9/11 – whether economically, politically, socially or even in terms of body count – we should be making more use of these new and creative mediums to portray our own histories.

It shouldn’t necessarily be written by the victors, or, in this case, uhem, the liberators.

comic terrorism 9/11 iraq afghanistan book history war

comic terrorism 9/11 iraq afghanistan book history war

You can see the other pages here.


  • it’s not my purposeful intention to go off as a total cynic, but i do wonder how different our story will be–especially with the overpowering censorship our region imposes upon us!

  • With yet even more irony and cynicism; and hoping not to sound trainspottingly-obnoxious. I do believe that however comic-y one tried to put it; you can never beat the real thing – Which was an absolute pre-fabricated comic story with a catastrophic ending!
    You want our story?? eh?!!

  • secratea: my idea assumes that the story be told regardless of censorship. and you point to an even more interesting observation as while daily newspapers are subject to state and the more common self-censorship, which obviously impacts what news is disseminated, these new forms of media are subject to more post-censorship. In other words, if such a graphic novel was to be state-censored, it would come in the form of a ban.

    In that situation, such a ban would be beneficial to its readership as the most widely read books in the Arab world (and specifically Jordan) are those that are banned.

    Lass: nevertheless, it is a story that should be told. history is a story that has found new ways of being told. it should not be left to one side.

  • so what happens to the writer in this case, especially if/when writing from the inside?

    state-censorship, in any form displayed, will only force any bold attempt to be shrouded with anonymity, which on its own will make readers suspect the credibility of the source. writing such historical narratives requires certain ethics, the most essential of which is clarity (who wrote what).
    In terms of reception in this case, readers will mostly be skeptical– not to mention that other more reliable versions of history will just read such narratives out!

  • secratea: if we are talking about Jordan, based on experience, banned books are more credible and more widely read and recieved by the public-at-large. the perception is that if the state doesn’t want you to read it then it’s probably the truth. moreover, most banned authors who are Jordanian are not anonymous by the way. their books are simply banned.

Your Two Piasters: