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Footnotes in Gaza: A Graphic Novel Hardcover – December 22, 2009
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Book DescriptionFrom the great cartoonist-reporter, a sweeping, original investigation of a forgotten crime in the most vexed of places.
Rafah, a town at the bottommost tip of the Gaza Strip, is a squalid place. Raw concrete buildings front trash-strewn alleys. The narrow streets are crowded with young children and unemployed men. On the border with Egypt, swaths of Rafah have been bulldozed to rubble. Rafah is today and has always been a notorious flashpoint in this bitterest of conflicts.
Buried deep in the archives is one bloody incident in 1956 that left 111 Palestinians dead, shot by Israeli soldiers. Seemingly a footnote to a long history of killing, that day in Rafah--cold-blooded massacre or dreadful mistake--reveals the competing truths that have come to define an intractable war. In a quest to get to the heart of what happened, Joe Sacco immerses himself in daily life of Rafah and the neighboring town of Khan Younis, uncovering Gaza past and present. Spanning fifty years, moving fluidly between one war and the next, alive with the voices of fugitives and schoolchildren, widows and sheikhs, Footnotes in Gaza captures the essence of a tragedy.
As in Palestine and Safe Area Goražde, Sacco's unique visual journalism has rendered a contested landscape in brilliant, meticulous detail. Footnotes in Gaza, his most ambitious work to date, transforms a critical conflict of our age into an intimate and immediate experience.
Take a Look Inside Footnotes in Gaza
Armed with a list of names, three men--including the author (shown wearing glasses)--walk through the alleys of a refugee camp in Gaza to find relatives of the victims.
|See more panels from the book|
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Having already established his reputation as the world's leading comics journalist, Sacco (Safe Area Gorazde) is now making a serious case to be considered one of the world's top journalists, period. His newest undertaking is a bracing quest to uncover the truth about what happened in two Gaza Strip towns in 1956, when aftershocks from the Sinai campaign may have resulted in the massacre of hundreds of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli military. Sacco first came across the stories during research in 2001 and was shocked to discover that, but for one brief mention, the incidents had never been fully investigated. The resulting book is a blow-by-blow retelling of how Sacco, on the eve of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, embedded himself in Gaza and set about interviewing every witness he could find who had been in the towns of Khan Younis and Rafah on those fateful days. Sacco's art is alternately epic and intimate, but he exceeds himself in the scope of his ambition (particularly in one sequence that shows in vivid terms how desert refugee camps from 1948 turned into the teeming slums of today). But it's his exacting and harrowing interviews that make this book an invaluable and wrenching piece of journalism. (Dec.)
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Each work stands up to multiple readings, and each reading reveals new glimpses into other worlds than our own safe and comfy one. HIghly recommended. Anything by Joe is is worth adding to your collection.
The graphic narrative driven out of his personal-research where he becomes another character, another agent in the conflict, is truly outstanding. Sacco offers an intriguingly open and critical account of his efforts and perceptions as he explores the events of the 1956 killing in Palestine, while he visits a region about to witness the US war against Iraq that would topple the regime of Hussein. In doing so, not only he reveals a poignant account about the difficulties and importance of recuperating memories, even the smaller ones, but leaves a trite and cogent account of the past and current circumstances faced by Palestine.
Exploring these footnotes in history, sure enough will unfold universal truths for those willing to pick them up, but more importantly sets a memorable and committed effort to develop a graphic journalism with a cause, explored with rigor, on the ground, and setting new narratives worth sharing with a passion.