Ali Dilem – A Controversial Cartoonist

Ali Dilem is a well-known Algerian cartoonist, both famous and infamous. Dilem has been producing works related to local and International news and issues for the Liberté newspaper since the 1990’s. And while his cartoons have brought him much praise from those in the industry, they have also resulted in raising the ire of government officials and religious leaders. Despite facing serious legal action, Ali Dilem has always continued to sketch his opinion with boldness.

Ali Dilem was born in 1967 in the suburb of El Harrach, Algeria, to Kabyle parents. In later years he studied at the National Art School located in the city of Algiers. From there he started creating cartoons for the Alger Republican, a weekly communist publication. During the year 1991 Ali Dilem worked for Le Matin, a daily newspaper in Algeria. After leaving La Matin, Dilem started sketching for the French daily newspaper Liberté. Dilem has also done work for the show ‘Kiosque’ on French TV5.

Throughout his career, Ali Dilem has become known for his exceptional insight into the political situation of Algeria. He has looked at Algeria’s view of the National Liberation Front Party, the army and Islamist action. His bold perspectives have resulted in many attacks against him. During the civil war Islamists, angered by his works, condemned him to death. This fatwa was issued in mosques around the country. Over the years he has been harassed and fallen victim to legal action by the government. In February of 2006 Ali Dilem received a one year prison sentence as well as a fine of 50 000 dinars for his 2003 depictions of President Abdelaziz Boutlefika. Presently there are more than 20 cases pending against Dilem.

Despite the various difficulties he’s faced, Dilem is not fazed and continues to create humorous, but though-provoking sketches. Whilst the government and Islam may have turned against him, he has also received much praise from others. He was the recipient of the International Prize of Drawing in Written Press in 2000. Later in 2005, he received the Freedom of Press Trophy and in 2006 the Cartoonists Rights Network International’s Courage in Editorial Cartooning award.

More recently Mr. Dilem was invited to attend the “Drawings of Peace Conference” hosted by the United Nations. Certainly Algerian cartoonist Ali Dilem has left a mark on the media world and is admired by fans the world over.