Our friend and colleague the brilliant Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Sabaaneh has been honored by the UN’s Committee on the Exercize of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), which identified him as one of Palestine’s two leading cartoonists– along with the iconic and sadly deceased cartoonist Naji al-Ali.
A placard identifying these two leading Palestinian cartoonists is included in a wonderful exhibition on the leading Palestinian cultural, scientific, and business achievers that CEIRPP is currently mounting in the lobby of the UN’s New York headquarters.
CEIRPP also brought Sabaaneh over from Ramallah, Palestine, to the opening of the exhibition, which occurred yesterday, November 29, which is the UN’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
The opening ceremony, also held in the UN building’s magnificent lobby, was a cultural feast. The head of the Palestinian delegation at the UN, Amb. Riyad Mansour, and CEIRPP Chair Amb. Fode Seck, presided over a joyous event in which they recognized three leading younger Palestinian achievers: Mohammad Sabaaneh, poet Nathalie Handal, and Amman-based business leader Mary Nazzal-Batarweh.
The large crowd of attendees was serenaded by Palestinian-Israeli “Arab Idol” finalist Ameer Dandan. (The photo here shows, l. to r., Dandan, Mansour, Handal, Seck, and Nazzal-Batarweh)
This celebration of Palestinian achievement– which covered many fields of human endeavor– was certainly noteworthy. However, the occasion also had many sad undertones, given that November 29 was the 70th anniversary of the UN’s adoption of a disturbingly imperialist “Partition Plan for Palestine” that split the country into fragments and consecrated the implantation of a settler-colonial state within it.
The UN’s adoption of that plan in November 1947 provided, as the historian Ilan Pappe and others have noted, the “starting gun” for a process of ethnic cleansing by the Zionist militias in Palestine, who over the following 14 months drove 750,000 Arab Palestinians out of their homes in the areas the militias (later, the Army of the State of Israel) came to occupy– an area which was far larger than that allotted to the “Jewish state” under the Partition Plan.
Seventy years later, the super-talented Palestinian political cartoonist Mohammad Sabaaneh stood in the General Assembly as it held yet another of its seemingly endless and pro-forma debates on Palestine– as shown in the photo at the head of this blog post.
He also visited a display of the “History of Palestine” frieze that is featured in his recent book, White and Black: Political Cartoons from Palestine.
Just World Educational was delighted to bring Sabaaneh to the United States for a 15-city tour earlier this year. We hope to bring him for another tour, in Fall 2018– and we invite everyone who wants to see that happen to contribute to the online fundraiser we’re running, to help underwrite our 2018 programming.