Thursday, 8 January 2009


There are now at least 700 dead and 3000 injured.

Since this war started, I have been trapped; impotent, horrified,
outraged, because it was obvious, from the beginning, what
would happen and that we could do nothing to stop them.

Obsessively looking at news feeds and webs and the photos.

The photos. . .

At the demonstrations and on some Palestinian blogs the symbol
of this little figure appeared. Today I read that it is Handala.

An iconic symbol of Palestinian identity and defiance.

He first appeared in 1969 and is the most famous of Palestinian
cartoonist Naji al-Ali’s characters.

In 1973, he turned his back to the viewer and clasped his hands
behind his back.

The artist explained that ten-year-old Handala represents himself,
forced to leave Ash Shajara, one of the 480 Palestinian villages
destroyed in 1948 to create the State of Israel, and that he would
not grow up until he could return to his homeland.

His turned back and clasped hands are a rejection of “outside

His ragged clothes and bare feet symbolise his allegiance to the

Naji Al-Ali was assassinated in London in 1987.

Earlier tonight I had to turn my back on the photos.

The decapitated head of a child was too much.

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