A caricature of me


A caricature of me, aged about 4, by Bahgat Osman (1931-2001).

Osman was Egypt’s most prominent political cartoonist during the 1960s and ’70s. He was a close friend of my father’s, and I have vivid memories of him from my early childhood in Cairo. I even vaguely remember posing for this portrait, which was completed in a matter of minutes.

Both my father and Osman were members of the diaspora of Egyptian intellectuals. My father was imprisoned and tortured under Gamal Abdel Nasser in the mid-1950s, and came to London in the early ’70s for medical treatment. At around that time, Osman sought exile in Kuwait, from the regime of Anwar Sadat; he returned to Cairo in the early ’80s, after Sadat’s assassination.

The caricature was hanging on our living room wall until very recently, when my son knocked it down and damaged the frame. Incredibly, he could recognize the image as “daddy” before his first birthday.


  1. #1 apy
    August 31, 2007

    Before 1 year of age? That sounds quick! Are you practicing neuroscience black magic to make your child super smart?

  2. #2 Mo
    August 31, 2007

    He was walking and talking (or at least trying to talk) by about 8 months of age. And, of course, “daddy” was one of the first words he said.

    Every doctor, nurse and health visitor that’s ever seen him has said that he’s the happiest, most intelligent and most advanced kid of that age that they’ve ever seen. And the healthiest too – he’s 2 and he wears clothes for 4-6 yr.-olds.

    Black magic has nothing to do with it. He just comes from very good stock.

  3. #3 Craig J. Phillips MRC, BA
    September 2, 2007

    I am sorry to hear that your Dad was subjected to torture Sir. Cruelty should be outlawed. Great art work. Thank you for sharing the caricature with your readers. I am happy for you and your son. God bless you both!

    Thank you again for your kindness in sharing Second Chance to Live with your readers, Mo. You are a tremendous blessing to me.

    Have a simply amazing day my friend!


  4. #4 Jonathan Vos Post
    September 2, 2007

    Mo is correct about extremely precocious children. My son was also talking (poor articulation but confirmed) before 8 months of age, clearly spoken arbitrarily long complex sentences with 300+ vocabulary by 15 months, reading and writing at same age, decent Chess before age 2. He started university at age 13 (he could have started age 12, but we waited until he graduated 8th grade as valedictorian/student body president) before skipping high school and matriculating at university. He got his double B.S. in Math/Computer Science at age 18, and is now a full-time scholarship Law School student at USC, probably the youngest American in a top-10 law school.

    Several of my relatives were tortured and survived; others did not. One relative escaped a Nazi Death camp and joined Polish partisans fighting guerilla war against Nazis.

    The cluster of supergeniuses from the jewish ghetto of Budapest in a decade — von Neumann, Wigner, Szilard, et al. — were driven to super-performance by their heaven being smashed by Nazi and the Communist dictators. At Los Alamos they called these the “Hungarian Mafia” or the “Martians.”

    Having a 180+ IQ child is like having a Martian in the household…

  5. #5 AB DM
    August 18, 2010

    Nicely drawn, very clean and sharp lines…
    a classical caricature.
    Fix the frame and hang it back on the wall 🙂

New comments have been disabled.