Poking fun

Satirist Karl Sharro’s latest book is short, sweet and hilarious

AND THEN GOD CREATED THE MIDDLE EAST By Karl ReMarks (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Karl ReMarks – a.k.a. architect and commentator Karl Sharro – made an art out of one liners on the Middle East on Twitter. And now, he’s made a book out of it.
Sharro has published a hilarious little flip-book of sorts filled with his short musings and amusing drawings on the state of Middle East chaos. And Then God Created the Middle East and Said, “Let There Be Breaking News” is a 120-page work that you can read through in about 20 minutes – and keep returning to for a quick laugh.
“We’re actually very proud of God in the Middle East,” reads one page. “He’s the local guy who went on to acquire international fame.”
The Lebanese-British satirist has compiled many of his best and most cutting Twitter jokes into one palmsized book that’s perfect for the coffee table or for bathroom flipping.
With sections on “Geography for Dummies,” “The Middle East Problem,” “Democracy for Realists” and more, there are jokes inside guaranteed to make you chuckle – and likely to offend.
“An Arab dictator is like a matryoshka doll in reverse,” Sharro writes, “Every time you remove one, you get a bigger one.”
He muses that “They should give hurricanes names like Mohammed or Fatima. It would make it much harder for them to enter the US.”
The highlights of the book are the satirist’s drawings, including maps of the Middle East divided up differently (like olive oil vs oil, and Sunni, not Sunni and very Sunni); a Lebanese Monopoly board (“Go to jail, dismantle militia”) and an incomprehensible “Diagram of geopolitical relationships in the Middle East” where “Palestine and Israel have been excluded for the sake of simplicity.” And of course there’s “Sykes and Picot go for a pizza” (above), lampooning the 1916 deal to divide up the Middle East.
Nothing is really off limits for Sharro, who makes jokes about religion, politics, war, international affairs and even terrorism.
“An Ancient Arab Proverb,” he writes. “The enemy of my enemy is not my friend, but may be provided with aerial intelligence to support ground operations.”
But Sharro’s favorite target might just be Western journalists.
“I like to think there’s an alternative Internet where Arab taxi drivers write about their amusing encounters with foreign reporters and their simple worldview,” he writes.