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Iraqi comic strip collective tells stories of war, rebirth

Mesaha, an Iraqi comix group, had its first European debut at Switzerland's Fumetto festival, yet visa obligations stopped the artists from presenting their own works.

LUCERNE, Switzerland — The works of Iraqi cartoonists have inspired both curiosity and awe at Fumetto 2018, one of Europe’s leading festivals for graphic design, but the Iraqi graphic artists who drew them were conspicuously absent.

“We were expecting to land in Lucerne, Switzerland, two days before the festival began on April 14,” Iraqi graphic novelist Hussein Adil, 23, told Al-Monitor. However, the visa applications of his team of comic animators — four men and one woman — were rejected by the Swiss Embassy in Lebanon. “Everyone attended, except us. We are Iraqis,” Adil said, sighing at this lost opportunity to attend their first European comix festival.

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