Title: Footnotes in Gaza
Author(s): Joe Sacco
Artist(s): Joe Sacco
Category: True, War, Politics
Languages: English, Spanish, Arabic, Italian, Portuguese, French, Indonesian, Turkish, Dutch, Czech, German, Swedish, Polish
Grade Level(s): 9-12
Mature Content?: graphic violence, language
Footnotes in Gaza serves as a companion piece to Joe Sacco’s Palestine. For this graphic novel, he went into Gaza and documented the struggles of some individual people in vignettes, while focusing in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict of 1956 within the region. He meets with some of the most heavily involved figures from the fedayeen, and shows some of their perspective on Israel, Egypt, and Palestine. While 1956 is his main focus though, Sacco does plenty to demonstrate the struggles of Gaza in the mid-2000s as the US geared toward war with Iraq as well.
Footnotes in Gaza, like Palestine, would be an excellent text to allow students a look into the other side of carving out Israel and providing the Jews a home after World War II. Due to its perspective, in part, the portrayal of the Israelis is stark, but Footnotes seems a little less biased and incendiary than Palestine in some ways. It would also be a useful text to teach students about perspective and humanizing others in a social studies or literature class, given that Sacco deliberately seeks out former leaders of the Fedayeen, who were often called a terrorist group. Footnotes in Gaza spends a lot of time obsessing over the fallibility of eyewitness accounts and what truth actually means. Pages 103-116 directly discuss contradictory accounts and what that means for research. Pages 276-277 look at credibility and what stories were included or excluded and why. Compared to Palestine, Footnotes is tempered by Sacco’s age and desire not simply to tell an untold story, but to try to get it complete, accurate, and true.