Author(s): Joe Sacco
Artist(s): Joe Sacco
Category: Autobiographical, Politics, Middle East
Languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic, Finnish, Turkish, Russian, German, Portuguese, Greek, Dutch, Polish, Serbian, Galician
Grade Level(s): 10-12
Mature Content?: Graphic Violence, Language, Possible Anti-semitism
In 1991-1992, Joe Sacco spent two months as an “adventure journalist” visiting settlements in the West Bank and Gaza to tell the Palestinian story not being reported by Western media. The award-winning Palestine was originally published as 9 issues from 1993-1995 and an omnibus in 1996, after the Oslo agreement of 1993. The fascinatingly sad, painful, and occasionally self-reflective and self-critical tale takes a strong anti-Israel slant in sharing the oft overlooked or untold stories of refugees in settlements such as Nablus and Gaza City as well as prisons and in current Israeli territories. The collected edition features a dense introduction by Edward Said.
Palestine offers a chance to engage students in the other side of providing a homeland for Jews post World War II. It should likely be paired with texts that show Western reporting and texts that cover the era that followed. It paints a dim picture of Israelis and can be used as a jumping off point to talk about how religion, nationality and land intersect, but do not define a group (i.e. – not all Jews are Israelis, not all Palestinians are Muslim). It also has specific portions that directly address intersectional interests such as disability and women’s issues. Its four pages dedicated to hijabs are brilliant and insightful and could be split off from the rest of the text with only a little background. Word of Caution: Some of the statements made by Palestinians can mirror modern anti-semitic remarks and will need to be unpacked and addressed.