Dubai: "My art is yours. Use it on behalf of the Palestinians or anyone living under oppression."
This was the call made by Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff through Gulf News to people all over the world.
In an exclusive interview, the 40-year old professional cartoonist spoke about his compassion with the causes of Arabs and oppressed people everywhere and his efforts to spread the message of what he believes is a just cause.
"I have a personal involvement with Palestinian affairs, since I was in the occupied territories of West Bank in 1999, and I know well how people live under the brutal Israeli occupation," Latuff said.
"I gave my word to Edris, a Palestinian man I met in Hebron, that back in Brazil I would put my skills at the service of the Palestinian people and that's what I've been trying to do since then," he added.
Latuff, who is of Lebanese origin, said his Arab roots were not the main influence behind his dedication to Arab causes.
"Being a leftist myself, I do have a special interest in social and humanitarian issues," he said.
"I could not be silent towards the way Palestinians and Iraqis were brutalised by Israel and the United States or the Western smear campaign against Arabs and Muslims after September 11," he added.
However, the international artist's concerns are not limited to Arab issues. "I work for local trade union publications, where I deal with Brazilian and South American issues all the time," he said.
Latuff, a professional cartoonist for 20 years, said he dedicated his time and attention to people living under oppression or suffering from wars, dictatorships, poverty caused by neo-liberal plans, capitalism, torture and police brutality.
The artist gained increasing popularity among Arab youth as he covered developments in the Arab world, whether in Palestine, Lebanon or Iraq.
His works travelled across the globe, mainly through e-mails, fan groups and personal blogs.
"Most of time, what you see in the mainstream media is Israel evoking self-defence to justify barbaric acts against the civilian population in Palestine and, of course, blaming the victims. We can count only on alternative media to expose such lies," he said.
Apart from delivering the message through his cartoons, Latuff said he always tries to participate in demonstrations that take place in Brazil.
At a personal level, all this came at a cost to Latuff, who had been targeted for his compassion with the causes of oppressed people.
"If you search for my name on Google, you will see blogs and forums calling me names and even sending death threats.
"There are also defamation campaigns, but I don't care. My art and efforts are dedicated to the ordinary people in suffering, no matter whether they were in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon or Rio de Janeiro's favelas [hobo towns]," Latuff said.