ROME: The works of renowned Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali will be published in Italy for the first time, 35 years after his assassination.
Naples publisher Marotta & Cafiero will release on Feb. 22 “Handala — a child in Palestine,” a book about the resistance and suffering of the Palestinian people.
It is “a unique work that tells with simplicity and clarity a piece of history from the Palestinian point of view,” Rosario Esposito La Rossa, editorial manager at Marotta & Cafiero, told Arab News.
“For us, it’s a pleasure and a duty to publish a powerful book to help give the Palestinian people a voice again.”
Al-Ali’s most famous character, Handala. (AFP)
Handala is the most famous of Al-Ali’s characters — a 10-year-old boy with his back turned to the viewer and his hands clasped behind his back. He wears ragged clothes and is barefoot, symbolizing his allegiance to the poor.
Al-Ali, who died after being shot outside the London office of Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas on July 22, 1987, vowed that Handala would reveal his face to readers only when Palestinian refugees return to their homeland.
Handala became the signature of Al-Ali’s cartoons and remains an iconic symbol of Palestinian identity and defiance.
“Handala represents the honest Palestinian who will always be part of the common imagination,” journalist and cartoonist Joe Sacco says in the preface of the Italian edition.
The book will be presented in collaboration with the Cultural Center Handala Ali in Naples on Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. at Caffè Arabo.