Zajel Organizes an Exhibition on the Image of Hezbollah in the American Cartoons

Can history be rewritten with a few strokes of a pencil? Or if not history itself, the perception of history? That's just one of the questions raised by the latest exhibition of Zajel at An-Najah National University1s library.

The exhibition is a collection of 100 cartoons published in newspapers and magazines in the United States during the Israel/Hezbollah "Summer War" of 2006.

The thought-provoking display, which draws on sources as diverse as Newsday and the Frederickton Free Lance-Star, is intended to give an insight into North American 

attitudes into the "Summer War", and the "Middle East Crisis" as a whole, and the major players in the region.

Cartoons include one of a Hezbollah fighter wearing a child as a bullet-proof vest and Hezbollah "launching" its response to the latest peace initiative – in the shape of a batch of missiles.

Exhibition organizer Ala Yousef, who is the Coordinator of the Zajel Youth Exchange Program, said: "The exhibition is not intended to provoke incitement against Americans. Rather, we want to help our students and other citizens to develop a better understanding of the West and its media, and the degree of difference between how people here see events and personalities in the Middle East and how they are perceived elsewhere in the world.

"Then, we hope that students who are uncomfortable with that difference, who hope to change how Palestinians and Arabs are perceived outside the Middle East, will try to do something about it by joining the Youth Exchange Program’s activities, which runs a number of programs intended to increase dialogue between local people and people from around the world."

Jed Ober, an American volunteering at An-Najah through the Youth Exchange Program, said: "Overall this exhibition is an example of how distorted Americans' perceptions of the Middle East are. Some of these cartoonists work for back-country publications, where people rarely know what's going on in the town next door, let alone in a region of the world that is, in their eyes, a long way away. "But unfortunately, Americans trend to believe what they see, and these people with no credentials shape the debate on the Middle East."


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