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Handala, the Palestinian Child who said Enough to the Horror of War
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Thirty-seven years after his assassination, a host of authors joined an initiative to commemorate Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali’s “art of resistance” with a poster. The tribute depicts each artist’s own hero from behind, the same way Ali always drew his protagonist. Together with him they call for an end to the horror of war.

In Arabic, and also in Hebrew, a name is not only the identification of a person, but also marks their life, their mission, their destiny. Naji al-Ali means “survivor,” a name that could not have been more apt for the cartoonist. Born in 1938, in Al-Shajara, a village in Galilee between Tiberias and Nazareth, he has “survived” escapes, exiles, threats, wars. In the 1950s, as the oil industry boomed in the Gulf countries, young people were attracted by the work available. In 1957, Ali migrated to the Gulf.

Two years later, back in Lebanon, he enrolled in the Beirut Academy of Fine Arts for a brief period, and became involved in politics. He had problems with Lebanese justice, and was imprisoned in 1961. On leaving prison, he traveled to Tyre, where he taught at a drawing school and was fortunate enough to meet Ghassan Kanafani, the editor of Al Hurriyya (“Freedom”) magazine. Kanafani was the first to publish his cartoons, launching him into the world of professional cartoonists.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2024
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