Our relationship with food is complex. In its simplest form food is meant to provide energy and nutrients to sustain us through the day, but with the evolution of man came the complications of social and emotional eating. In most social settings around the world, food is a means to an end; a way of saying I love you, of spending time with good company, of celebrating joyous occasions. When food becomes the focus, we loose the benefits of interaction and bonding, and extreme behaviors, such as overeating, bulimia and anorexia, reveal themselves.
It takes a creative mind to pinpoint the follies of the society it lives in. Without such visionaries, who would hold up the mirror and pause to ask “Look here, is this right?” We cannot improve or progress without constructive criticism. Mohamed Zwawi, a Libyan political caricaturist and satirical cartoonist does just that. He pinpoints our vices and shortcomings; the paradoxes of daily Libyan life. His cartoons, when taken lightly, are laughed at, but in truth these images are laughing at us. A good dose of sarcastic black humor is a good wake up call – for those who get the joke anyways.
Far from politics, most of Zwawi’s cartoons capture the essence, the unique characteristics of the Libyan people. A good look at these drawings tells us two things: 1. food is a key element of our social fabric; 2. our relationship with food is excessive. According to Zwawi, gluttony is one of our society’s greatest flaws.
The way we prepare and eat our food says a lot about who we are. Gluttony, or extreme overeating is considered to be sinful or in poor taste in most cultures and religions including Islam. A lack of self-respect and the act of self-destruction are tied to this. Some of Zwawi’s cartoons are showcased below to illustrate this. May they be the inspiration for a life of healthy eating!