HOMMAGE À LA REVUE SINDIBAD

Du fait de la présence d’une forte communauté européenne et d’une influence occidentale très marquée au cours du dernier siècle, l’Egypte a longtemps été en avance sur le reste du continent en matière de liberté de la presse. C’est très vrai en matière de caricatures, puisque ce pays a abrité les premiers dessins de presse dès la fin du 19ème siècle et les premières caricatures de l’histoire moderne africaine pendant la première guerre mondial. Les premiers caricaturistes, l’espagnol Juan Sintès et l’arménien Alexandre Sâroukhân (1989 ? 1977), par exemple, étaient d’ailleurs des étrangers.

Mais l’Égypte est également le premier pays africain à avoir lancé une revue pour les enfants au sens moderne du terme, précédant de deux années la première tentative en Afrique noire avec la revue rwandaise Hobe.
C’est en effet le 03 janvier 1952 que la maison d’édition Dar el Maaref lance Megalled Sindibad, magazine laïc de langue arabe entièrement destiné aux enfants. Le maître d’œuvre et le dessinateur principal en était l’aléxandrote Hussein Amin Bikar (1912 – 2002). Diplômé des beaux arts en 1933, celui-ci avait déjà une belle carrière de portraitiste derrière lui et avait déjà travaillé en tant que dessinateur et poète pour la revue Akhbar Al-Yom en 1945. Il avait également touché à la caricature, l’enseignement, le journalisme et la critique d’art. En tant que peintre, son œuvre principale, « The Eighth Wonder« , qui décrit l’implantation du temple de Ramses II à Abou Simbel, est considéré par beaucoup de critiques comme un classique de la peinture moderne égyptienne. Une sélection de ses œuvres est visible au Musée d’art moderne du Caire. Il fonda également le Helwan wax museum.
Bikar reçut plusieurs distinctions honorifiques nationales : la State Merit Award en 1978, la Merit Medal en 1980 et, en 2000, peu de temps avant sa mort, la Mubarak Award. Malgré cela, d’origine turque, il n’obtint jamais la nationalité égyptienne du fait de son appartenance à la foi bahà’i. Il fut d’ailleurs arrêté en 1980 par la sécurité d’État après une réunion interdite.

Dès le premier numéro, Sindibad, à coté des contes illustrés, de jeux et du courrier des lecteurs, contenait des planches de bandes dessinées.

L’année suivante, en 1953, Mario Morelli di Popolo lançait la première série africaine de l’histoire. Il s’agissait des « aventures de Zouzou« . Le personnage de Zouzou était un enfant doté d’un cheveu unique, inspiré du professeur Gibus. Espiègle, rêveur, taquin, facétieux et maladroit sont les adjectifs qui correspondent le mieux à ce personnage. Les enfants de Morelli étaient souvent son principal sujet d’inspiration. Les aventures étaient campées dans le monde Egyptien citadin, Morelli tenant compte des us et coutumes du pays où il vivait, et leur témoignait un grand respect. Toutes les aventures finissaient avec une ?morale? du type : « si j’avais su ».
Ces aventures étaient en arabe, comme tout le journal. Mais les brouillons étaient écrits en français car Morelli, tout en étant italien, avait suivi une scolarité dans une école française (saint Vincent de Paul) à Alexandrie.

La biographie de Mario Morelli di Popolo est intéressante car elle permet d’avoir une vision de ce qu’était le multiculturalisme égyptien du début du siècle.
Né à Pontassieve, en Italie, en 1901, celui-ci émigra en Égypte avec ses parents en 1907, à Alexandrie. Obligé de travailler dès 15 ans (comme comptable) du fait du décès prématuré de son père, il vécut en Egypte jusqu’en 1938 année où, veuf avec quatre enfants, il fut obligé de quitter le pays pour éviter l’internement des italiens par les anglais. Il « retourna » donc à Florence où il prit un emploi de fonctionnaire pour nourrir sa famille.
A la fin de la guerre, Mario Morelli di Popolo, était dans un camp de réfugiés de guerre à Cinecittà (Rome), considéré par les uns comme fasciste car il avait travaillé au ministère de l’agriculture à Florence et comme anti-fasciste par d’autres car il avait tenté d’éditer un fascicule de caricatures sur Mussolini et Hitler.
Il retourna en 1947 dans ce qui était probablement sa vraie patrie et retrouva en Egypte le reste de sa famille qui y vivait toujours. Bien qu’autodidacte, sans formation spécifique, il reprit une carrière d’illustrateur, déjà entamée avant la guerre, dans la publicité dans un premier temps (Coca Cola, Johnny Walker).
En 1948, il entre dans la maison d’édition Dar el Maaref comme technicien offset avant d’y devenir illustrateur de livrets pour enfants et de livres scolaires.
Enfin, en 1952, il participe à la création de ce magazine pour enfants, initiative totalement inédite au sud de la Méditerranée. Hebdomadaire, Sindibad était vendu aussi en collection reliée tous les trimestres. Certaines années (comme celle de 1952) furent rééditées en totalité.
En dehors de « Zouzou« , Morelli créa ponctuellement d’autres personnages plus éphémères, créa le logo du magazine, illustra les aventures des ?milles et une Nuit? pour un autre éditeur, dessina des publicités et quelques encarts.
En 1958-1959 il réalisa le certificat qui était donné aux pèlerins se rendant à la « Mecque » attestant que la personne était « El hadj ». Il ne put le signer, étant européen et chrétien, donc non-musulman.
Puis, en mars 1960, ce fut le départ de l’Egypte du fait du non renouvellement du permis de séjour par le gouvernement, par la suite la revue fut arrêtée en juillet de la même année, après 27 numéros.
Il mourut le 19 octobre 1969 à Florence sans recevoir aucune reconnaissance pour son travail d’illustrateurs de livres scolaires pour l’éducation nationale égyptienne ou d’auteur de bandes dessinées.

« Les aventures de Zouzou » étaient signées jusqu’à l’arrivée au pouvoir de Gamal Abdel Nasser qui interdit aux étrangers travaillant dans les médias de signer leur oeuvres.
Météorite inédit et oeuvre de deux « apatrides », Sindibad restera dans l’histoire comme le premier journal africain pour les enfants (un autre titre de bonne qualité, Samir exista cependant en parallèle). Il est aussi l’une des nombreuses traces visibles du fourmillement culturel tout à fait remarquable du milieu cosmopolite francophile et francophone que représentait Alexandrie et l’Egypte de cette première moitié du siècle avant que la panarabisme cher à Nasser ne vienne y mettre un brutal coup d’arrêt. Si on ne peut refaire l’histoire, il est toujours temps de lui rendre hommage.

Christophe Cassiau-Haurie
Erstein, le 21 janvier 2009.

Galerie

7 réponses à HOMMAGE À LA REVUE SINDIBAD

  1. Giaquinto Edoardo dit :

    Emilio,grazie a te stiamo vivendo i tempi più belli della nostra infanzia,i ricordi della nostra giovinezza,la nostra tenacia,forza e volontà di fare tutto ciò che oggi sarebbe impossibile,Senza nascondere la dura vita che apprezzavamo lo stesso, non avendo mai potuto pensare di averne una diversa o migliore,unico vero rimpianto era la nostra agilità e forza di correre giocare, l’amicizia, la sincerità ed il volersi bene senza motivo ne interessi, tutte cose che purtroppo stanno pian piano scomparendo.
    Ora che ci stiamo ritrovando ,l’unico desiderio rimane quello di poterci incontrare stringerci l’un l’altro con fraterna amicizia e riportarci almeno per un istante ai nostri vecchi bei tempi,
    Ricorderò sempre quando ti mettevi circondato da tutti noi (ragazzi) a leggerci gli episodi di Sindbad, e quell’operetta che tentammo di fare a PortoSaid. Che tempi!!!!! Meravigliosi vero. ciao ed un forte abbraccio da un vecchio amico d’infanzia.Edoardo
    Ciao amico e tanti AUGURI…

  2. S.V.P pardonais moi pour c est commentaire en Langues Anglaise MERCI beaucoup /// Paying tribute to S I N D B A D Egypt s first colourful children s weekly magazine published in 1952..as i was a 5 years old kid then ! When the Genius artist painter Mr .Hussein BICAR maybe(BIKAR) began to publish a new children s magazine , after other mags. disappeared like ALI BABA/.. KATKOUT/.. AWLAD /…AL MOSTAQBAL , some go back to 1920 , also 4 years before Dar al HILAL published S A M I R weekly every Sunday in 16 pages then 26 then in 32 pages in1956 followed by Arabic version of W,Disney s MICKEY, monthly in 1958 then weekly by 1959? For a start SINDIBAD was similar to any fairy tale book more than a Comic Book just few pages of cartoon strIps..unforgettable one was the GREAT Italian Artist/cartoonist late Mr. Mario Morelli di POPOLO creation ot the single hair on a bald head boy character , a Boy named ZOU ZOU. a look alike of the American Comics character .>> Little Henry.>>>.or some kind of TinTin s cousin
    ? A funny boy with funny quips/ Also cartoonist BIKAR came with a rabbit character called it ARNABAD/ rabbit in Arabic is ARNAB added to it BAD to make it sound like SINDIBAD?Also other times TOM & JERRY lookalikes appeared on the covers,we kids were awestruck ..we liked all that ,at least all these were in our language Arabic if a grown up read it to us we UNDERSTOOD the con tents.. it was a Giant effort by DAR EL MAAREF publishing house in those HAPPY DAYS, for me this is similar to Hollywood s silent movies that are much precious than any movie made today with all the new technology ..they are CLASS-IC? A great heritage , SINDIBAD was & always will BE the same to me! pity its con tributers such as Mr. Morelli didn t enjoy much recognition to his works..because he was the right man in the right place but Unfortunately in a very wrong time? because the Arab world ,specifically Egypt were in a turmoil…Politically,,and religious diffrences were noticible,,and identity prejudtces Rife, and the rise of Arab Nationalisme was an issue,,so many great ca\rtoonists such as HIM ,also at SAMIR s the cartoonist like Mr.Alemeon BERNIE a Jew, then Armenian Ms.BAHIGA Tomassian (JIJA)/Mr. Rogers CAMMIL(KIKA) aJew..too, dispersed one after another,WHAT A SHAME and a GIANT LOSS for Arab/Egypt s culture and big gain for
    the West ..I, &my humble self WITNESSED THISas an Armenian born in BEIRUT in ..1947 followed such mishaps and brain drain..which was very sad, we kids felt like been orphaned..when best cartoon characters we got used to…suddenly disappeared ,we were very attached to all of them,so i take this opportunity to pay my respects to all whom departed cartoonists and other participants ,and Salute the ones whom are still Alive & Kicking,for giving us the children of 1950/60/70 s a very HAPPY childhood and to say THANK YOU /…MERCI/…SHOOKRAN/ …TESHEKKUR ..and in my mother language.. SHAD SHNORHAGAL YEM!….from ISAHAK BARSOUM-IAN in London/Great BRITAIN

    = BAD

    ??

  3. Petit correction concern Le Grande Caricaturist c est Mr., ROGER CAMILLE ou KIKO , je m excuse ,pardons moi je vous en prie..Merci : Is-ahak Barsoumi-ian

  4. isahak Barsoum-ian dit :

    ALLOW ME ,PLEASE, TO ADD THE FOLLOWING INFO?? …Some of you readers, may ask , who is this ITALIAN Great Artist/Cartoonist that made THOUSANDS of Arab children readers +some others too.,Smile..Giggle..Laugh..and VERY happy,..every Thursday,.. between the years1952- to almost1957,through the pages of their weekly Magazine/ Sindbad /or S I N D-I- B A D called Originally in Arabic?..with his funny Boy character ZOU ZOU / or ZooZoo? with a single hair on his bald head. HE was and is & will always be remembered, the great Mr. MARIO MORELLI di POPOLO. who was born in Pontasieve/Italy in the year 1901 a Catholic.,.but moved to Alexandria /Egypt in1907 aftermath the premature death of his father.he was obliged to work at the early age of 15 as an accountant,in 1938 He returned back to italy and worked a governmental office for Agriculture in
    FLORENCE.. and by the end of World War 2, He was detained in CAMP CINECITTA, for possessing a pocket -book contained drawings of the Allys Moussolini/Hitler,and acused being a Fasciest , but others didn t believe.. He was?!! Mr.Morelli returned back to Egypt in 1947,where as he worked as an advertising designer for Giants such as Coca Cola/ Johnny WALKER whiskey comp.s. He was a self thaught Artist, where in CAIRO ,he participated with the Egyptian Genius Mr. Hussain BIKAR to put the final touches for the 1st Arabic childrens magazine ,not just in Egypt, but the whole ARAB wORLD, as there was such a deep void and desperate need for such a project ? Arab kids were hungry for it ..some book(s) in their Mother Tongue…as foreign language books were bombarding these countries WE wanted this DESPERATELY!!? and Late Mr. BIKAR, A man of many GOD given talents , made OUR childhood dreams come true?May they and other sadly missed departed participants all rest in Heavenly PEACE!! Mr. Morelli passed away in 1969 in ITALY broken hearted?? because his permit to stay in Egypt EXPIRED in 1958 and the Egyptian Revolutionnary authorities denied him the right to stay longer.. this is on top of that he never been Rewarded for making Egyptian + Arab +also many others.. HAPPY for 7 years continiuously with his ZOUZOU character, as once he claimed saying he always Cherishd+RESPECTED all Egyptian/Arab traditions..habits ,and all the jokes he referred to ZOUZOU were taken ONLY of his kids FUNNY /NAUGHTY.. behaviours…//Its not just us the kids then lost a talent as this ..but the ARAB world found it difficult to embrace such a genius nedded desperately..and reward him by sending him back to his country Italy..? I believe in this,, that any decent contributor to society whom not receivrd his due rights and recognition from mortals..surely is being praised and rewarded in many folds.. in Eternity ?/ A reminder ,as Mr Hussain.BIKAR passed away in 2002, born 1913 ,at the YOUNG age of 89? he suffered too a lot for his following AL BAHAII religious sect, that was banned in Muslim countries?/ and some places..Still is! ! So this is how we treat our GREAT– talented individuals.?.unfortunately WE DO , by diluting ART or any other talent with Politics..of that time!. This saga ended by>>>. end of SINDIBAD magazine in early 1960 s. as HE .became an ORPHAN ,I ment Sindibad ,great loss for ALL.////Regards from London/ISAHAK Barsoum-ian INFO sources : Lambiek Nederlands/..BDZoom.com/…Wikip.

  5. isahak Barsoum-ian dit :

    LITTLE ADDITION to INFO . >>SINDIBAD // dar el maaref in Egypt translated as>> HOUSE OF KNOWLEDGE or ENLIGHTMENT the SINDIBAD publishers 1952 Iis still going strong publishing children s books for decades…also there is an Arab comic book called Sindibad.r.. but the Nostalgia we feel to t SINDIBAD issue 1 in January 3 1952…irreplaceable! Even after 63 years??

  6. isahak Barsoum-ian dit :

    L histoire du TINTIN dans le monde Arabe,en Anglaise?? PAR Isahak BARSOUM-IAN/ ……………The history of TinTin in the Arab World………….. The year :1955.. The city: BEIRUT/LEBANON..The location :Armenian Evangelical School Rue >>Mexique<> Le Temple du SOLEIL<>TinTin in the Temple of the SUN , His parents bought it for him, we were envious and also very curious to look into the the latest colourful Album ..and AMAZING drawings of Monsieur Herge? As the quantity sent to Lebanese bookshops was limited, and expensive, and our parents knew that if buying one book , will lead to buying them all ..they will be obliged to buy the whole collection to satisfy their kids hunger for TINTIN s heroic adventures/in SPACE/..Arabian Desert/…in CHINA/. in Pharoe s EGYPT/..in SCOTLAND/..Tibet/..in Congo/..in America /.. in RUSSIA etc..etc ,at least 14 books? things were HARD in those days?? Also they didn t want us to waste time in reading FUNNY books as they put it ! and better study and get good exam results….Even we were persecuted by our teachers, and such books were a TABOO, as if they were PLAYBOY or PENTHOUSE ,we used to hide in the toilets to read a page or two…believe me ..this is true ! By August 1961 our dilemma came to a promising end ,as my favourite weekly Egyptian weekly comic book S A M I R began to publish TinTin s in the desert adventures ..weekly episodes ..but called him TEM TEM…even though seemed to us that they got the copyrights from mr.Herge Est; So we were and content… as before it they serialized ZORRO s /PHANTOM s adventures..but for us TinTin lovers it was a MIRACLE..happened at last, even SAMIR in Arabic was not allowed bringing it to the classroom, mind you ,thanks to Arab Comic books i,my humble person as an Armenian growing up in Beirut ,improved my Arabic language in every way, i announce this proudly, Samir was and still going strong , published in April /15/1956, after SINDIBAD magazine,…but contained many more pages of comic strips…followed by Walt DISNEY s MICKEY ..monthly terms in April1958/then became weekly by Jan.1959? by Samir publishers, But in TinTin s Arabic editions complete albums published by DAR EL MAAREFpublishers of weekly SINDIBAND mag. in1952. with pages not in colour at all… and in early 1960 s…?..I , even at the age of 11 accompanied my Late MOM to ISTANBUL ,there too t began to buy and collect Turkish TENTEN as they named it,in pocket size weekly?/ as i speak Turkish as well,,BUT i say this openly>> However/whatever they come out with different versions of TinTin The French original ones are CLASS-ICAL..they indeed got Class.. and phrases that can t be interpreted correctly ….as the Late Palestinian Great poet Mr MAHMOOD DARWICHE put it philosopicly, when asked about book translations he quoted saying: It is like you are kissing someone who is on the other side of the window glass pane ?meaning >> that, THAT KISS lacks warmth!! that goes for every other creative works. ??Please allow me to end this with remembering this event , i was very envious /even Jealous, from the classmate who used to Rent us his TinTIN Albums with our pocket money as fee, I cried /screamed all day long so that my Mom to buy me even 1 TinTin album at least,she asked my eldest cousin to try find one .even second hand or used..no chance ,as owners were very attached to their collections,so instead
    She baught me in French >>> Mickey Mouse et L antern MAGIQUE? in SEPIA colours/ like orange/yellow & black,,I wasn t amused as a little BRAT that i was in1955../// Finally:.TIN TIN we all love you and thank you VERY MUCH Monsieur HERGE SIR, for all the valuable/second/minute/hour you dedicated for US.. & to US,. YOUR MEMORY WILL KEEP ON WARMING UP THE HEARTS OF GENERATIONS TO COME ..as it did for the ones in rhe past decades…////Regards from ISAHAK BARSOUM-IAN/London/G.Britain…….By the way in the late 1950 s 2 TINTIN bookshops opened in Beirut s GEORGES PICCOT Avenue/next to STARCO TOWER/another one opposite Beirut Holiday inn …but nowdays soory got no idea if new venues opened for this generation?? …I WOULD LIKE IT IF THIS EMAIL TRANSLATED INTO …F R E N C H ?? EST QUE CEST POSSIBLE? MERCI EN ADVENCE / barsoumian/

  7. isahak Barsoum-ian dit :

    soorry but ther is a line missing at th beginning a=says : Twe the school kids ascrended the steps of our school bus heading home..there was a rowe in the rear of the BUS , a small fight etc etc

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