Who is Handala, the Symbol of Palestinians, and His Creator, Naji al-Ali?

Who is Handala, the Symbol of Palestinians, and His Creator, Naji al-Ali?

Title: Handala: The Iconic Symbol of Palestinian Struggle and Resistance Gains Worldwide Tribute

In a powerful display of solidarity and homage to the Palestinian people, artists from Italy and Japan have recently taken it upon themselves to pay tribute to Handala, the iconic character created by Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali. The enigmatic figure, with his back turned to the reader, has come to symbolize the unwavering spirit of defiance and struggle against occupation.

Handala, birthed in 1969, just two years after the devastating 1967 Arab-Israeli war, serves as a profound representation of the Palestinian people’s enduring fight for freedom. His portrayal has become particularly significant, resonating with countless individuals around the globe who empathize with the struggle against oppression.

Italian and Japanese artists joined forces to create stunning hand-drawn posters that capture Handala’s essence, meticulously depicting figures with their backs turned away from the viewer. This artistic tribute was intended to embody the character’s spirit of insurgency, refusal, and relentless satire of the political landscape surrounding the Palestinian cause.

Notably, Handala did not adopt his emblematic pose until 1973, following the Yom Kippur War, as an expression of his rejection of externally imposed solutions for the Palestinian people. During times of heightened conflict, Handala is frequently portrayed engaging in acts of resistance, such as hurling rocks, serving as a poignant reminder of the prevailing struggle faced by Palestinians.

Naji al-Ali, the brilliant mind behind Handala, was born in what is now northern Israel in 1938. Throughout his life, he courageously used his talent to draw over 40,000 cartoons spotlighting the injustices perpetuated by both Israeli and Arab governments. Tragically, his unwavering dedication came at a cost, as he was murdered in 1987, and his killer remains unidentified.

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Handala’s image has since gained widespread popularity in street art and graffiti, particularly on the Israeli-built barrier that separates Israel from the West Bank. These poignant depictions serve as stark reminders of the ongoing struggle faced by Palestinians and the urgent need for a resolution to the conflict.

As Handala continues to captivate hearts and minds, his legacy as a symbol of resistance and hope remains undeniably powerful. The recent tribute paid by artists from Italy and Japan only underscores the character’s enduring impact, further solidifying his status as an emblem of the Palestinian struggle against occupation and injustice.

In a world where solidarity and awareness are crucial, Handala stands tall, reminding us that the fight for justice continues, unequivocally echoing the voices of the Palestinian people.

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