Khalil Bendib's Cartoon about the Occupy Wall Street Movement

The corruption of wealth and avarice has always been a truly prolific source of inspiration and creativity for writers, authors, and cartoonists all over the world to initiate their works of art. And while writers and authors use words to explain, illustrate, and emphasize the message in their works, cartoonists try to communicate with the readers through their drawing, which is usually a combination of image and text, or the image alone in some cases. However, whether the underlining message is translated by words or by drawings, the final conclusion about greed is generally menacing, evil, and unethical.

Equivocally, aiming to disclose the hypocritical face of the upper class, the cartoon about the Occupy Wall Street movement from the cartoonist, Khalil Bendib, follows that same traditional conclusion, but is offered to the audience in a more interesting, surprising, and ingenious way through the art of turning “the oppressors” into “the oppressed”. Before moving to the analysis of Bendib‘s cartoon, understanding the historical background of the Occupy Wall Street movement will help us clarify the purpose of the author and connect to what he stands for more clearly.

Inspired by the audacious efforts of the protesters in Egypt and Tunisia, who have challenged the unfair economic decisions made by the top 1% wealthiest people in their countries, the Occupy Wall Street movement originally began on September 17, 2011, in Manhattan’s Financial District, where hundreds of protester, mainly from the middle and lower class, had settled their shelters down right on the streets to block and disturb all the directions headed to Wall Street.

Get quality help now

Proficient in: Art

4.9 (247)

“ Rhizman is absolutely amazing at what he does . I highly recommend him if you need an assignment done ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

The number of protesters has been increasing significantly since then as the movement spreads out nationally to other places like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oklahoma, San Jose, and so forth. Not surprisingly, a typical picture on television and the Internet about the Occupy Wall Street movement is commonly filled with colorful banners, large cardboard signs, and decorated posters from the protesters.

Unfortunately, in Bendib’s cartoon, the opposite thing happens: the people holding those cardboard signs and posters are actually the upper class. Bendib’s ingenious idea of making the wealthiest people turn to the victim of the occupation not only proves how hypocritical they are, but also shows that they can distort almost any truth Looking at this cartoon from a distant perspective, one can see that the closest man is jadedly Wiping his tear away with his fine and luxurious handkerchief while sniffing the cigar. Well, if he is indeed having a miserable life, his melancholy expression seems to contradict with the cigar: the commonly favorite and enjoyable good of the rich.

Not far from him to the right, another man who also has the cigar in his mouth complains with the little innocent bird—a random creature that seems to not have any interest for the human world–that, “Haven’t we suffered enough?” He cleverly chooses that bird to ask the question, because he will surely receive an unfavorable answer from the rest of the people who do not belong to his class. Right behind them lies a man, whose hand gesture is showing a fist, the symbol of power and threatening, shouting, “Hey hey, ho ho, the middle class has got to go! Hey hey ho ho,” Several branches come out from this man‘s speech balloon imply that he is repeating this statement many times. Followed by this man are three other men, and each of them holds a cardboard sign: “End the occupation now,” “1%=0ppressed minority,” and “Give Greed a chance,” respectively.

In addition, the owner of the cardboard sigh that states, “Masters of the universe unite,” remained unknown, If we can change the opposite meaning presented in each of those cardboard signs, we will have a broad picture of what the Occupy Wall Street Movement is all about: “End greed now”, “99%: abused majority,” “Give Fair a chance,” and “Labor unite” In addition, along with these big-belly businessmen that I have mentioned so far, the furthest man who is holding a poster with words, “Free Bernie Madoff,” is probably a lawyer, whose job is to demand justice back for Benard Madoff, the most famous financial criminal in the world, who has received a sentence of 1505 year in prison.

Looking at the cartoon, one can see that all the objective businessmen, the lawyer, and the two buildings—seem to shift to the left. Possibly, Bendib is suggesting this metaphor: if these men’s greed can be measured in the unit of mass, their total mass will weight more than that of the New York Stock Exchange. Thus, by emphasizing the discrepancy and irony drawn from this cartoon, Bendib makes us laugh while thinking how scary and dangerous greed is He draws us closer to the goal of achieving equality through the anger that we may develop while seeing his cartoon. For a cartoonist like Bendid, his ingenious idea of tossing around “the oppressor” and “the oppressed” is undoubtedly effective in catching the audience’s attention.

Cite this page

Khalil Bendib's Cartoon about the Occupy Wall Street Movement. (2023, Apr 20). Retrieved from

Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7