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Animated in Gaza

August 18, 2009

DSC07418A new discovery: a wonderful (and slightly mysterious) blog called In Gaza. In today’s post, the author marvels at the ‘little things’ in Gaza, including the work of an animator, father of the author’s friend Samir:

‘I work as a cartoonist. I make posters, stories, and animation films for children. I’m employed at a company in Gaza, like a small Walt Disney (but without the insidious side).’

A visit to the animation studio witnesses ‘a handful of young artists sat sketching and designing, is an airy, well-lit room, walls plastered with drawings and cartoons: some seem to be whatever has come into the artist’s head, mixtures of Palestinian and Western culture, and others are blatant copies of cartoons loved around the world: Tom and Jerry; the Simpsons; South Park; and Japanese animation style images.’

The post is bittersweet on my end: the pictures evoke primarily a reaction of sheer nostalgia for the animated cartoons of my childhood, the very delicious high color contrast imports from Japan, the UK and the Arab world that starred female heroines, dashing squirrels and brotherhoods of monkeys getting in and out of trouble. Watching them compulsively relieved the need to stay focused (along with the adults) on whatever latest bomb falling on Tehran via Iraq and its U.S. sponsor. I didn’t know who Henry Kissinger was as a five-year old, but I knew that terrible and malicious cats plotted to dominate the mice in a popular Iranian stop-action cartoon, and that was enough to make a kid root for the underdog.

DSC07413And in deoxygenated Gaza—deliberately starved of food, medicine, children’s books, crayons—the sight of a colorful wall (even if it is filled with Mickey Mouse drawings) must be an important relief from the daily, subhuman slab of life. (from Darryl)

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