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Qatar: Cartoon of maid abusing child raises ire

Cartoon published in Gulf Times Nov. 22 2009

Cartoon published in Gulf Times Nov. 22 2009

Is it satire, or just bad taste?

A cartoon of a crazed, angry-looking woman threatening a child with a dripping bowl of tainted gruel has left many Doha bloggers scratching their heads and looking for answers.

The sketch, titled ‘Housemaid's revenge,’ was published in Sunday's Gulf Times, a local English newspaper.

The cartoon depicts a maid – presumably Indian, judging by the red bindi on her forehead and gold hoop earrings – threatening a toddler after being scolded by her employer.

The text reads:

Your mum shouted at me today just because I broke a plate. And I am going to strike back. Count on me you brat, you won't sleep at home tonight! You will stay at Al Sadd Children's Emergency. Open your mouth now. This dish I have made will make you so sick that it will make you dizzy for hours.

Many Doha bloggers strongly condemned the cartoon, but were undecided about the artist's intentions.

On Twitter, Weirdweb said:

No, really, Gulf Times, let it all out. Tell us how you REALLY feel about Indian maids. #racism #paranoia

On the forum Qatar Living,

Commenter Olive said:

There's so much wrong about this cartoon I'm not sure what the editor was thinking when he allowed it to be printed.

Some wondered if the message behind the cartoon was lost in translation.

On Twitter, tomgara said

What is worse in this Gulf Times (Qatar) cartoon – hectic racism or awful 6th-grade writing? The answer is both.

On Qatar Living, the debate turned to treatment of maids by their employers, who sponsor their stay in the country.

genesis said:

Mohammed cartoons are never meant to be funny. Most of his work is dark altough sarcastic. I think it's badly translated, the intention is how cruel some sponsors treat their maids

rMs_000 responded diplomatically:

It describes about the cruelty of some sponsors.. and devilish reaction of house maids. Editor doesn't show any partiality to both of them i say. So its neutral..

britexpat said

The message is quite simple..Abuse the maid and you risk her abusing the child

Satire or not, most found the cartoon to be in poor taste.

On Twitter, rachelannmorris said:

Not funny in any way shape or form

On Qatar Living,

Commenter Amoud said:

I don't like this at all…..Even the bad translation doesn't cover what bad taste this is in.

And Adham Essam chimed in:

Oh my God! I CANNOT believe that was printed. How on earth could they allow something like that??? Which ever angle they were going for, it is completely wrong of them to present the issue like this. For the maid. For the child. For the parents. Disgusting…

For more on the discussion, visit Qatar Living.


  • Hasan

    Did the editor think about the repercussions of of this cartoon?

    It’ll give the Arab employers a free-hand to torture their house-maids which is already a regular phenomenon there.

  • You’re posts are awesome Shabina.

    To be honest I shouldn’t have been that surprised, but I was shocked at some of the comments on Qatar Living…

  • […] holds that workers from Southeast Asia are deviant, dangerous, and even diseased. There is widespread mistrust of female domestic workers in particular, despite their prominent role in raising Kuwaiti […]

  • […] reverse victim narrative is pervasive in the Gulf; employers often discuss their house-staff as persistent threats to the safety of their children, justifying slave-like physical restrictions with the need to […]

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