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Monday, February 25, 2008

Palestine (The Graphic Novel).

Touchy subject, I know, so I'll do my best to not offend my Muslim nor my Jewish readers. Please forgive my limitations as a word smith should I offend anyone.

I recently finished reading the graphic novel Palestine by Joe Sacco. I didn't know what to expect from the perspective of a Maltese author/illustrator journalist type. His aim was to capture specific experiences of suffering of the Palestinian people and in the mean time get a healthy dose of Arab hospitality (tea, tea, and more tea!) While the slant is very obviously anti-Israeli-military, the author made no promise that he would be unbiased and so I didn't expect him to be.

While it is overtly one-sided, I am willing to believe every tale of woe is true, however romanticized the Palestinian characters are and how demonized the Israelis are. Political agendas and blame aside, I'd be a little more convinced with a depiction of good and bad people on both sides of the struggle. For instance, in reality there are Israeli soldiers who have protested the more destructive initiatives of their government, and there are Palestinians who have murdered innocent people just as there are Israelis who clearly violate basic human rights and there are Palestinians who place emphasis on the importance of the education of their children to achieve progress through academic achievement over suicide bombing.

Rather like the art, this paints a very black and white picture of a people enduring true suffering, I just find it a little limiting that he clearly defines the good guys and the bad guys by race/religion rather than down to individuality. He even paints the recruitment of children into the resistance movements as less than abhorrent reality.

Overall, it was a very worthwhile read, regardless of your politics or perspective. It tells of a very real suffering that we should be aware of, even if it is slanted heavily to one side.


'liya said...

I'm on the lookout for a graphic novel with a political theme, thanks for sharing this, I'm going to look into it.

I recently finished reading the novel 10 Thousand Lovers (can't remember the author) but it kinda covered the same things you mention here. Wasn't sure how I felt about it after reading.

Tala said...

yes, whatever political agenda is there, humans should be treated as ends and not means. i saw the book, but never grabbed it, will do so :) thanks a lot

TeacherLady said...

Ooh, a book recommendation in return! Thanks 'Liya! I will definitely check that out. Even if it's not something you considered amazing, if it provokes thought it's worth the time to read it.
Tala, the art is a little grotesque, so I hope that doesn't put you off!