AUB Libraries Online Exhibits


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غلاف مجلة سمير – العدد 512 - نسيم – القاهرة: دار الهلال، 1966

Given the centrality of Palestine to the political and social consciousness of multiple generations of Arabs, it is really no surprise that Palestine occupies such a central role in many Arab comics titles, series, stories, and strips, especially during the 1960s and 70s. In fact, during this period, virtually every issue of Samir, to take one example of a popular Arabic comics title, featured illustrations, stories, characters, and information pieces on the struggle for Palestine and its emerging national resistance movement. As an indicator of the "pulse of the time", and perhaps as a possible instance of the great potential that comics hold for scholarship and teaching, we would like to propose conducting a statistical analysis of how often the Palestinian struggle was featured in popular Arabic comics titles, throughout the decades, and into the 21st century.

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سمير العدد 664 – جهاد - قصة محمد الشاذلي، رسوم محمد حجى – القاهرة: دار الهلال، 1968،

Questions of loyalty, of feeling betrayed, spied upon, observed, as well as of belonging and of affirming a personal, communal and national identity, all centered around Palestine and Palestinians, were often expressed and explored in comics. In this context, the Fida’i is portrayed not simply as part of a national Arab struggle, a guerilla standing for a just national cause, but the Fida’i becomes the embodiment of the Good Person, of a moral category, in the fight of Good vs. Evil.


Abdelrazaq, L. (2015). Baddawi. Charlottesville, Virginia: Just World Books.

Palestine continues to be a main theme featured in today’s comics and graphic novels. In the newly released graphic novel, "Baddawi", by artist Leila Abdul Razzak, the author narrates the story of her father, a refugee, an exile, and that of his family thrown in the throes of refuge in Lebanon. Illustrated in black and white, the intense emotional subtext is rendered powerfully.


Sacco, J. (2009). Footnotes in Gaza. New York: Metropolitan Books.

Arguably, the most famous comics titles on Palestine are authored by Joe Sacco: Palestine and Footnotes in Gaza. In his famous preface to Sacco's Palestine, Edward Said famously comments on the power and relevance of comics: "Cut off as I was from the world of active comic reading, trading and bartering, I had no idea at all that Sacco or his gripping work existed. I was plunged directly back into the world of the first great intifada (1987–92) and, with even greater effect, back into the animated, enlivening world of the comics I had read so long ago. The shock of recognition was therefore a double one, and the more I read compulsively in Sacco’s Palestine comic books […] the more convinced I was that here was a political and aesthetic work of extraordinary originality, quite unlike any other […]. Nowhere does Sacco come closer to the existential lived reality of the average Palestinian than in his depiction of life in Gaza, the national Inferno. The vacancy of time, the drabness not to say sordidness of everyday life in the refugee camps, the network of relief workers, bereaved mothers, unemployed young men, teachers, police, hangers-on, the ubiquitous tea or coffee circle, the sense of confinement, permanent muddiness and ugliness conveyed by the refugee camp which is so iconic to the whole Palestinian experience: these are rendered with almost terrifying accuracy and, paradoxically enough, gentleness at the same time."

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كرباج، م. (2010). هذه القصة تجري: نشرت هذه المجموعة كاملة في جريدة الأخبار اللبنانية بين السبت 9 آب 2008 والجمعة 22 كانون الثاني 2010. بيروت: دار الآداب للنشر والتوزيع.