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Mazen Kerbaj inks new graphic novel Beirut Won't Cry

The Lebanese painter and musician's book chronicles life during wartime in 2006

Mazen Kerbaj's new graphic novel-cum-diary recounts his experiences in Lebanon during the Israeli bombing raids of 2006. Called Beirut Won’t Cry, it’s compiled from his drawings, comics and writings of the time. “Mazen knows that he is what we in the West refer to as 'the other', those whom we do not mourn and scarcely consider," writes graphic novelist Joe Sacco in his introduction. "And if he seems, on closer inspection, more 'like us' (he is, after all, a highly caffeinated, whiskey-drinking experimental musician from the cosmopolitan bubble that exists in a certain part of Beirut) and thus worthy of empathy, he might bristle at a further mischaracterisation. Mazen, his family, his friends, his son and his lover are neither 'the other' nor 'like us' – they are themselves and it is by virtue of their naked, vulnerable, individual humanity that they deserve our rapt attention.”

Beirut Won’t Cry is written in English, French and Arabic. Its book launch takes place at Papercup, Beirut, on 23 August but you can pre-order it via Fantagraphics.