The Role of Comics in the Palestinian Narrative

Palestine Square | ميدان فلسطين

HandalaPalestine has many calling cards: the olive tree branch, the golden Dome of the Rock, the kufiyyeh, et cetera. . . . But all are arguably surpassed by Handala, the little refugee kid drawn by the late cartoonist Naji al-Ali. With his back turned against a world that turned its gaze away from the Palestinians starting with the 1917 Balfour Declaration that spoken only for Jewish self-determination, Handala has become the quintessential mark of Palestine solidarity from graffiti on the Israeli separation barrier to necklaces donned by activists. Naji al-Ali, whose life was tragically cut short by a PLO angry with his dissenting views, may have marked the first entry of comic and graphic images in Palestinian storytelling.

Another notable contributor is the Maltese-American graphic novelist Joe Sacco, who is unsurpassed in harnessing the comic book to extraordinary effect in his widely acclaimedPalestine and Footnotes in Gaza; the former of which…

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