Palestinian artists, Cartoonists in Gaza Commemorate Assassination of
Political Cartoonist Naji Al-Ali
Gazan artists commemorate death of political cartoonist Naji Al-Ali
Date: 06 / 09 / 2008 Time: 09:48
Gaza – Ma’an –
A group of Palestinian artists and cartoonists on Friday commemorated
the renowned Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali in Gaza City.
Al-Ali is best known for his signature character, Handhalah. A young
Palestinian refugee, the boy stands with his back to the viewer, looking
out over all he has lost. In ragged clothes symbolizing his poverty, and
hands clasped behind his back in a reflective stance, the child victim
reflects on the state of his people and his country.
Cartoonist Abu Al-Noon, whose work is published by Ma’an, delivered a
speech at the ceremony. “In my last 7 cartoons,” he said “I used the
character of Handhalah to pay tribute to Naji. Handhalah is a symbol of
which each Palestinian feels proud. It will remain deep in the hearts of
all Palestinian cartoonists providing them with courage in their
Al-Ali’s drew and published more than 40,000 cartoons during his
lifetime, and cartoons were deeply critical of Israel, Palestinians, and
the Arab world.
In June 1987 Al-Ali was shot outside the London-based Kuwaiti newspaper
with which he published his art. During the police investigation a
Palestinian was arrested, and accusations of assassination were directed
at Palestinian, Israeli, and a host of Arab state intelligence units.
The man arrested was charged with weapons possession, and Al-Ali died in
London hospital in late August of 1987.
Al-Ali was born in a Palestinian village north of Nazareth, and fled
with his family to southern Lebanon during 1948. He later moved to
Beirut where he lived in the Shatila refugee camp, and found work in the
Arabian Gulf state of Kuwait as a young man. As his cartoons grew in
popularity, Al-Ali lived between Kuwait and Lebanon, working for various
papers there. In 1985 Al-Ali moved to London, where he stayed until his
The tribute to Al-Ali’s life and work included reading of new and
classic poetry about Palestine, loss and freedom of expression. A film
about his life was screened, and art students and established
cartoonists exhibited art inspired by the work of Al-Ali.
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