Remembering Palestinian Cartoonist Naji Al-Ali
Israel never stops silencing the voices of Palestinians. As they killed Al-Jazeera correspondent; Shireen Abu Aqleh, the voice of truth. In addition to that, they assassinated the Palestinian writer; Ghassan Kanfani for he speaks about freeing Palestine from the Israeli Occupation. Israel doesn’t only kill the world, they also kill any symbol of Palestine
Israel murdered “Handala”
Naji al-Ali was a renowned Palestinian cartoonist whose work left an indelible mark on the world of political satire and art. Born on July 26, 1938, in the village of Al-Shajara, located in what is now Israel, Naji al-Ali’s life and art were profoundly shaped by the turbulent history of the Palestinian people.
Ali’s childhood was marked by the Palestinian’s displacement and dispossession. Like many other Palestinians, his family was forced to flee their homeland during Al-Nakba in 1948. His experience left a deep imprint on his consciousness and would become a recurring theme in his later artwork.
As a young man, al-Ali settled in Lebanon, where he initially worked as a laborer. It was during this time that he began to hone his skills as a cartoonist.
His first cartoons were published in local newspapers, and it quickly became apparent that he possessed a unique talent for capturing the complexities of the Palestinian struggle with biting humor and poignant imagery.
Naji al-Ali’s most iconic creation was the character “Handala,” a young, barefoot refugee boy who became the symbol of Palestinian resistance and resilience. With his back turned to the viewer and his hands clasped behind him, Handala became a silent witness to the ongoing Palestinian struggle, as Al-Ali used Handala to convey the enduring pain and suffering of his people.
Throughout his career, al-Ali’s cartoons were published in various Arab newspapers and magazines, including the Kuwaiti newspaper “Al-Qabas.” His work often depicted the harsh realities faced by Palestinians in the diaspora, the brutality of the Israeli occupation, and the political dynamics in the Middle East. He was unafraid to criticize not only Israel but also Arab leaders and regimes, earning both admiration and controversy.
Tragically, Naji al-Ali’s uncompromising stance and unapologetic art made him a target. He received numerous killing threats through deadly shots. As they did on July 22, 1987, he was shot in the face outside the London office of Al-Qabas. Despite surviving the initial attack, al-Ali succumbed to his injuries on August 29, 1987, leaving behind a legacy of powerful political commentary and artistic brilliance.
Naji al-Ali’s work has been inspiring artists and activists worldwide. His cartoons, often deceptively simple in their composition, carry profound messages about the enduring struggle for justice and the rights of the Palestinian people. His dedication to truth and his refusal to be silenced make him a symbol of courage and artistic integrity.
In remembering Naji al-Ali, Palestinians reflect not only on his contributions to the world of political cartoons but also on the ongoing struggle for Palestinian self-determination.
His art remains a poignant reminder that even in the face of adversity, the power of creativity and storytelling can be harnessed to speak truth to power and inspire change.