British Library pays tribute to Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali

Naji al-Ali

Naji al-Ali

The British Library in London will pay tribute to the life, work and legacy of the great Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali at a special event on Friday 27th October 2017. Speakers will include Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell.

Born in Galilee in 1938, Naji Salim al-Ali was a victim of the nakba (“disaster”) in 1948 when his region was cleared to make way for Jewish settlers. He grew up in Lebanese refugee camps and prisons, scribbling protest cartoons on the walls, and eventually found work in newspapers. 

He drew over 40,000 cartoons, from sharply critical commentaries on Palestinian and Arab politics to visionary symbols of inhumanity and the pity of war.

Cartoon by Naji al-Ali

Cartoon by Naji al-Ali


From 1969 onwards, his images featured the figure of Handala, the barefoot child who silently watches all the evils perpetrated in the Middle East, and who has since become an icon of Palestinian defiance. 

“At first he was a Palestinian child, but his consciousness developed to have a national then a global and human horizon,” his creator once said of the character’s origins. “He is a simple yet tough child, and this is why people adopted him and felt that he represents their consciousness.

Naji Al-Ali was well loved for his work but was also well hated, and he and his family received many death threats. In July 1997 he was shot by unknown assailants outside the offices of al-Qabas, a Kuwaiti newspaper, reportedly after receiving death threats following the publication of a cartoon attacking the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.

Speakers including The Guardian’s Steve Bell explore the much-admired Cartoonists’s story, influence and legacy. 

• Naji al-Ali: A Tribute, 7.00pm, Friday 27th October 2017, Knowledge Centre, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB Web: 

Tickets Full Price: £10.00 | Libray Member: £7.00 | Senior 60+: £8.00 | Student: £7.00 | Registered Unemployed: £7.00| Under 18: £7.00 | Friend of the BL: £7.00

Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546 | Email: boxoffice@bl.uk

• Please note the date of this event has changed. Tickets purchased for the original date in August will be valid, but all ticket holders will be contacted with further information

• A celebration of Handala and his creator can be found online at www.handala.org

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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