"At first he was a Palestinian child, but his consciousness developed to have a national then a global and human horizon. He is a simple yet tough child, and this is why people adopted him and felt that he represents their consciousness."
The cartoon picture in the previous article; 'UN's Moral Guilt' reminded me of one of my favourite political cartoonists, Naji Al-Ali and his creation of the young boy, 'Handala'. (The link above has a good selection of Al-Ali's work and explains his background and purpose.)
I came across an exhibition of Al-Ali's work at the Political Cartoon Gallery, in Store Street, London about 5 years ago and was taken aback by the strong, courageous and unrelenting imagery he portrayed of the struggles of the Palestinians and all communities that seek justice and freedom from oppression. I walked into the exhibition not knowing enough about Struggle. I walked out pained but desperate to know and do more. A book of his images is one the most used yet precious books I keep, evoking heartbreak with each page turned.
Al Ali certainly didn't hold back in his views; unafraid and bold, his work was always full of beautifully dark symbolism, contrasting the large slug like creatures of the the US and Israeli governments to the smaller and fragile, yet strong Palestinian men, women and children.
For its brutal truth, his work attracted great hatred towards him and after years of death threats, he was assassinated in 1987 and his murderers have never been caught. It is the greatest shame that he cannot continue to bless, educate and inspire us in person, yet like Handala, he lives on through his images.
What is even sadder is that all the issues that concern his work are still as relevant to this day. A shameful sign that little has been done by the Government's in question.
Regardless, the young boy, Handala is a symbol of Courage, Resistance, Self-determination and Hope for ALL.
Handala lives on and will be Free.
Learn Handala's story and share his struggle.