Cartoons challenge the futility of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Cartoons challenge the futility of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

By agency reporter
11 Jan 2010

An international group of acclaimed cartoonists is demonstrating the destructive absurdity of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for an exhibition opening this month in London.

Featuring some 35 cartoonists from more than 20 countries, the exhibition is the idea of The Parents’ Circle, a group of bereaved Palestinian and Israeli families who wanted to highlight the futility of violence in the region.

Artists who have contributed work to Cartooning in Conflict include Pulitzer Prize winners Pat Oliphant and Jim Morin; Polish-born satirist Andrzej Krauze; Britain’s David Bromley, and Japan’s Norio Yamanoi.

The exhibition runs from 11 to 24 January 2009 at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London.

A good number of the cartoons feature two sides locked in conflict despite pleas for peace from innocent people caught up in the violence. A battered dove of peace appears prominently in many.

"Cartoons by their very nature can be abusive and extreme, funny and painful. The truth comes out with just a few strokes of the brush," says Robi Damelin, a member of the Parents Circle - Families Forum, who came up with the idea for the exhibition.

Damelin added: "These works illustrate the destructive absurdity of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and, more importantly serve as a catalyst for hope by allowing the audience to imagine a path to reconciliation and peace."

The Parents Circle-Families Forum was founded in 1995 to bring together bereaved families from both sides of the conflict. Several hundred families are part of the forum and they aim to use their own painful experiences to promote reconciliation.

Damelin’s son David, aged 28, a student at Tel Aviv University, was serving as a reservist in the Israeli army when he was killed by a Palestinian sniper. She now travels the world with Palestinian members of the group to promote the message that there will only be peace in the Middle East with reconciliation.

She will be joined at the opening night by Seham Ikhlayel-Abu-Awwad, whose brother was killed by an Israeli soldier. Seham's whole childhood and life have been affected by the conflict.

The cartoon exhibition, supported by Christian Aid and World Vision, opened in Israel, Spain, Italy and the US before moving to London.

The cartoons from the exhibition are available for publication or slideshow via Christian Aid.

Parents Circle - Families Forum is a grassroots organisation of more than 500 bereaved Palestinian and Israeli families who have chosen a path of reconciliation over revenge. The group seeks to change Israeli and Palestinian awareness and public opinion by conducting intensive educational, public and media activities. For more information: www.theparentscircle.org

Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries, acting where the need is greatest, regardless of religion.

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