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.