This cartoon by Dave Brown from The Independent uses the idiom 'to paint oneself into a corner' to comment on the bloody repression of civilians by Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria. If you paint yourself into a corner, you find yourself in a situation which is difficult to deal with and get out of (you can also say that someone is in a tight corner). The metaphor is easy enough to understand, as anyone who has ever had to paint a floor will know! However, in the cartoon, Assad is using blood not paint. The message is clear enough: Assad's brutal crackdown on the Syrian opposition has left him in a difficult position with very little room for manoeuvre. You could also say he has his back to the wall, to quote another idiom.
1. Dave Brown produced an almost identical cartoon featuring Colonel Gaddafi (remember him?) back in August of last year.
2. Compare Dave Brown's Assad cartoon with this one by Jimmy Margulies from February of this year. Which one do you prefer and why?
• UN denounces massacre of civilians (The Vancouver Sun)
• Assad faces new international pressure after massacre (Calgary Herald)
• Assad's Neck Size (cartoon by Bob Englehart)