04.07.2019 in Literature

Palestine by Joe Sacco: A Review

The graphic novel Palestine written by Joe Sacco is a trustworthy description of different stories in the heart of the century-long conflict between Arabs and Israeli. The story is all about what happened in that part of the Middle East at the beginning of the 1990s. In this respect, a critical viewpoint should be applied in order to discuss the main topics in the book in detail. Thus, Palestine is actually a guide for a Westerner willing to know what occurs in the Middle East each time the conflict between Israeli and Palestinians takes place.

First of all, a reader faces with the exact sincere story of the author who interprets everything happened at that ominous time in Palestine. Sacco managed to save his own neutral position irrespectively of both sides of conflict. In this vein, the book is full of dramatic episodes when people become outcasts in their own land or when the power of weapon lays more emphasis on people’s minds than the power of reason, humane, and morality. Sacco surpassed all expectations when he started interviewing peaceful citizens of Arabic decent drawing horrible pictures of violence next to each story in the book. One of the characters in the story truly described the problem of population expulsion in the area in the following way: “Palestinian Arabs have only one role left – to flee”.

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People are described as nothing, but expendables in the book. A human life does not cost a thing for both sides of the conflict. Morality is far from being evident, and the consensus is far from being reached. In fact, since the very beginning until the end of the book, there are no happy episodes. A reader is always kept on his/her toes, because there are too many scenes of inhumane attitudes and violence. Moreover, an eye-bird perspective on the refugee camps takes notice of what it comes to thereafter. War is always a chase for justice or from violence. However, war will be war, and if it starts, it always ends up with huge losses among population: “…it is more comfortable to think of refugees as some regrettable conservancy of war”.

Hence, the author who was at the epicenter of the war could see how easy it was for Israeli to force upon Palestinians with the goal of shaking their faith in personal right for defense from the oppressors. On the other hand, the author constantly illustrates children and women not stopping crying all the time. This picture of horror is exactly what politics take for granted and do not mind in terms of their own ambitions and interests. This idea of political selfishness addressed to the innocent population in Palestine is especially highlighted, because officials are always described as having no desire to take care of people unwilling to carry on war. What is more, Sacco is more focused on the opinions of the local Arab population to make a reader from overseas feel the difference between what is said in mass media and how it is in reality. It goes without saying that Sacco also pays attention to both religions: Islam and Judaism. He underlines the divine idea of peace and understanding given by God to His people. However, this conception is well opposed by the explosions and terror shared in the area instead. Given that, the sociopolitical value of the book Palestine by Joe Sacco cannot be underestimated. The author provides Western people with an exact picture of the war in the Middle East and the violence it spreads as an after effect. Hereby, a political mismatch by officials and inability to urge for peace are, perhaps, the main topics in the book.

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