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This Cartoonist Came Up With A Heartbreaking And Perfect Response To The Conflict In Syria

"The suffering of the Syrian people is not any different," Vasco Gargalo said.

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Pablo Picasso's "Guernica" is one of the most famous anti-war paintings in the world.

Pablo Picasso /

Painted in 1937, the mural was created in response to the bombing of the Spanish town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, which took place from 1936 to 1939.

The bombing was carried out by Nazi German and fascist Italian warplanes at the request of the Spanish Nationalists.


Gargalo told BuzzFeed News that when he decided to create a cartoon about the situation in Syria, he chose to reference "Guernica" as it would be "the most immediate way to get the message across."

Vasco Gargalo

"When I think of civil war, I always think of 'Guernica', the most famous painting in the world about the topic of civil war," Gargalo said.

Gargalo said he redesigned "Guernica" to reflect the reality of the Syrian conflict, while always respecting the original and adding his personal style, which is caricature.

The bull on the left is representative of Russian President Vladmir Putin.

Vasco Gargalo

A woman and her son appear underneath Putin, while Russian warplanes are seen in the upper left.

A dove sits under the lightbulb, and the horse in the center has been adapted to represent President Barack Obama.

Vasco Gargalo

The arm holding a gun is meant to symbolize the Syrian resistance in the city of Aleppo, Gargalo said.

The skull lying on the ground, meanwhile, represents the death of innocent civilians in the war.


The man on the right represents Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Vasco Gargalo

Under Assad is the representation of a refugee, a woman holding a baby and a suitcase displaying the European Union flag.

Gargalo said the dark figure in the back with the explosive belt is meant to symbolise ISIS, while the barrel of oil represents "the interests of a war that exists without explanation and to which there is no end in sight."

"At that moment, I experienced several feelings – the sense of outrage at the bombing of the small Spanish town, the modernist and cubism figures, the animals in distress," he said.

Kassy Cho is a reporter with BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Kassy Cho at

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