A caricature of me


A caricature of me, aged about 4, by Bahgat Osman (1931-2001).

Osman was Egypt's most prominent political cartoonist during the 1960s and '70s. He was a close friend of my father's, and I have vivid memories of him from my early childhood in Cairo. I even vaguely remember posing for this portrait, which was completed in a matter of minutes.

Both my father and Osman were members of the diaspora of Egyptian intellectuals. My father was imprisoned and tortured under Gamal Abdel Nasser in the mid-1950s, and came to London in the early '70s for medical treatment. At around that time, Osman sought exile in Kuwait, from the regime of Anwar Sadat; he returned to Cairo in the early '80s, after Sadat's assassination.

The caricature was hanging on our living room wall until very recently, when my son knocked it down and damaged the frame. Incredibly, he could recognize the image as "daddy" before his first birthday.

More like this

Abdel Monim Mahmoud, an Egyptian journalist and blogger, has identified (in Arabic and English) a prison officer who allegedly tortured him for 13 days at a state security headquarters back in 2003.  27-year-old Mahmoud is a member of Ikhwan Muslimin (the Muslim Brotherhood, MB). The MB is the…
This article was co-authored with Dr. Morad Abou-Sabe', President of the Arab American League of Voters of New Jersey. CNN's Ivan Watson talks to John King from Cairo about his exclusive interview with Egyptian activist Wael Ghonim. {February 9, 2011} The Egyptian revolution of January 25th,…
From the Guardian's liveblog of Friday's protests in Egypt. Earlier in the day, police were sent to attack protesters after Friday prayers, but the crowd pushed back, apparently taking control of the streets in Alexandria, Suez, and at least parts of Cairo. In response: Mubarak has sent in the…
A year ago, I was at a conference in Alexandria, Egypt, and then spent a few days in Cairo. I got to experience the Egyptian culture, to see antiquities, and to meet some amazing people. It was my first trip outside the bubble of Western developed democracies, and was an eye-opening experience.…

Before 1 year of age? That sounds quick! Are you practicing neuroscience black magic to make your child super smart?

He was walking and talking (or at least trying to talk) by about 8 months of age. And, of course, "daddy" was one of the first words he said.

Every doctor, nurse and health visitor that's ever seen him has said that he's the happiest, most intelligent and most advanced kid of that age that they've ever seen. And the healthiest too - he's 2 and he wears clothes for 4-6 yr.-olds.

Black magic has nothing to do with it. He just comes from very good stock.

I am sorry to hear that your Dad was subjected to torture Sir. Cruelty should be outlawed. Great art work. Thank you for sharing the caricature with your readers. I am happy for you and your son. God bless you both!

Thank you again for your kindness in sharing Second Chance to Live with your readers, Mo. You are a tremendous blessing to me.

Have a simply amazing day my friend!


Mo is correct about extremely precocious children. My son was also talking (poor articulation but confirmed) before 8 months of age, clearly spoken arbitrarily long complex sentences with 300+ vocabulary by 15 months, reading and writing at same age, decent Chess before age 2. He started university at age 13 (he could have started age 12, but we waited until he graduated 8th grade as valedictorian/student body president) before skipping high school and matriculating at university. He got his double B.S. in Math/Computer Science at age 18, and is now a full-time scholarship Law School student at USC, probably the youngest American in a top-10 law school.

Several of my relatives were tortured and survived; others did not. One relative escaped a Nazi Death camp and joined Polish partisans fighting guerilla war against Nazis.

The cluster of supergeniuses from the jewish ghetto of Budapest in a decade -- von Neumann, Wigner, Szilard, et al. -- were driven to super-performance by their heaven being smashed by Nazi and the Communist dictators. At Los Alamos they called these the "Hungarian Mafia" or the "Martians."

Having a 180+ IQ child is like having a Martian in the household...

Nicely drawn, very clean and sharp lines...
a classical caricature.
Fix the frame and hang it back on the wall :-)