Color Images taken in Dheisheh Refugee Camp outside Bethlehem (March 2016); Black and White Images taken from Democratic Palestine (Sept. 1987).

Recently, the Freedom Archives was a part of the first US delegation to Palestine focused on political imprisonment and designed to strengthen the solidarity between Palestinian and US prisoners. During our ten day trip, we were empowered and humbled by stories of the ways many Palestinians maintain their culture and dignity while resisting the brutality of the Zionist colonial project. One of the methods of resistance is through revolutionary art, an example being the image of Handala.

Handala, created by political cartoonist Naji Al Ali, is a child refugee who always has his back turned to the audience as he watches policies and events unfold. Handala is now an icon of Palestinian defiance and is seen the world over as a symbol of resistance to oppression.


Top: The names of villages of origin are inscribed on the ceiling at the Ibdaa Cultural Center in Dheisheh Refugee Camp (March 2016). Black and White Image taken from Democratic Palestine (Sept. 1987).

Al Ali spent most of his childhood in refugee camps and began sketching outside and inside of his family’s tent. He also developed his drawing skills in prison after he was arrested by the Lebanese military intelligence. His political cartoons are critical of the Israeli, Arab and United States governments. Al Ali’s cartoons effectively called for change and revolution, making him a threat to Israeli occupation.

Al Ali was assassinated on July 23rd,1987 by the Israeli military.

The following images weave the historical representations of Handala with some of what we saw during our trip. Truly Palestinian resistance is still alive!

You can learn more by visiting our collection on Palestine.