I posted one of the over 40,000 drawings of Naji Al-Ali a couple of days ago…..The excellent Leunig cartoon also posted that day reminded me of this man and took me to that place of Palestinian pride.
Few people know his story. Yet what he stood for and his uncompromising talent for naming and shaming across all aspects of the conflict that remains ‘Palestine’ is unmatched.
Few outside the Palestinians who revere him (in the same way we many of us revere our own Leunig) know anything of this man. I know that the Green movement in Iran has taken the Handala character with a green scarf for their logo! (my world environment day blog concession) The similarities with Leunig is that both these artists can in a single drawing say what the rest of us can’t say in a lifetime. Their commentary is compelling.
The story of Naji Al-Ali should be told outside the diaspora it should not be allowed to be buried down the memory hole.
The critical thing for me in his tale is the child Handala remains, (see my comment following the cartoon post) Naji was 10 when his country was stolen and he became a refugee in his own land. The child, like all trauma victims and survivors stays the same age and offers the same eyes on the problem until there can be resolution. In Naji’s case it is said that resolution was the right of return of Palestinians to their homeland, something he would never see as his life was cut short on a London Street by a bullet in the head. Assassinated for his honesty and the danger this posed you will read there are many who wanted him dead. To read more……….
And about the 1999 film Naji Al-Ali: An Artist with a Vision by the Iraqi filmmaker Kasim Abid……….