CRNI’s regional representative in Palestine, Mohammad Saba’aneh led a workshop on political cartooning for students at Arab American University, Ramallah this week.
The university website’s summary of the event reads:
“Hosting a representative of CRNI, the Department of Arabic Language & Information at the Faculty of Arts at the Arab American University organized an introductory meeting for its students on the art of political cartooning and its techniques and its Palestinian history.
The meeting was opened by Media Professor in the Department of Arabic Language and Information, Saeed Abu Maala who welcomed the audience and stressed the importance of the cartooning in the delivery of political messages, noting that this type of art played an important role as a tool for communication between communities, different schools of thought and transcending languages and nationalities. He spoke of cartoon artists who have been attacked and others who have given their lives for their art, Naji Al Ali being the most well-known example.[Editor’s note: CRNI has also reported of late on the trouble experienced by Osama Nazzel and his family.]
In turn, cartoonist Mohammad Saba’aneh provided a definition of caricature and cartooning, noting that this art is unparalleled in its dialectical power and an important indicator of the limits of freedom in any society. He touched on challenges facing cartoonists both local and global, crises, arrests and more, stressing the importance of supporting freedom of expression and to stand with the cartoonists trouble. He explained that CRNI plays a significant role in the protection of the cartoonists and the support and advice they can provide to those who need it.
For his part, the cartoonist and researcher Ramzi Al-Taweel discussed the techniques of cartooning and the history of this art in Palestine. He pointed out that art has been linked to political awareness since the days of the Ottoman Empire through the Mandate until the present time, pointing to historical cases of cartooning as a form of political resistance, firstly to the British occupation and then the Israeli occupation. He noted that the Palestinian record is full of creative people who were killed or imprisoned, all in the hope that a new generation of artists can complete the march of great cartoonists who carried forward the Palestinian cause.”
We thank Arab American University for the use of their facilities and extend our best wishes to all who participated in the session.
Readers may be interested to note that Saba’aneh’s debut volume of political cartoons entitled White & Black was recently published by Just World Books.