Few days ago I saw a documentary about Naji Al-Ali, and I don’t think I need make an intoduction here, it suffices to say Handala, and the famous Palestinian cartoonist comes to mind immediatly.
Naji Al-ALi made a revolution in Arab journalism and more specifically in the way political cartoons dealt with the ongoing events in the Arab world. Naji Al-Ali dealt with criticism from another angle, by criticising the Arab stance on the Palestinian cause and putting the blame on them for what was going on in Palestine.
Meet Handala. Handala was born at the age of 10, and he will always be 10. If you are wondering why he’s always giving you his back, he’s not. He’s just looking back at Palestine in his way out, forced.
Handala represents the new generation that inherited the agonies, suffering, failures and isappointments of the previous generation. He represents the human conscience that aches for the suffering of others, the heart that bleeds for the agonies of his brothers, the rebel that defends the right, and stands up to the wrong. Handala represents whatever good that is left in us, that will always be there, and the hope that never dies.
كاتم الصوت or “The Muffler” was the symbol Naji Al-Ali created to represent those who try to suppress the voices that rise against tyranny. The same muffler by which Naji Al- Ali was assassinated on the 22nd of July, 1987, on his way to deliver the daily cartoon to Al-Qabas newspaper in London. He was admitted to hospital, where he passed away 40 days later.
In the documentary, they showed some cartoons done by Arab cartoonist in the memory of the assassination of Naji Al-Ali. One cartoon in particular moved me incredibly; in fact it was the reason that prompted me to write this post. I looked it up on the net and I was not surprised as much as impressed when I found out that it was done by Imad Hajjaj. Makes it clear how courage triumphs over cowardice, and the real meaning of “to live”. The cartoon speaks for itself:
“Here rests the muffler, and Handala lives on”