BETWEEN 1987 and 1992 Palestinian youth undertook a heroic uprising-the first intifada-against their Israeli oppressors. Towards the end of this period the journalist and artist Joe Sacco took himself to the West Bank and Gaza to try to understand what was happening.
In Nablus a Palestinian man attempted to explain the level of suffering that he and his friends had endured. Each person he introduced Sacco to had been arrested, or shot or imprisoned, or had had close relatives murdered by the occupying Israeli forces. 'You write something about us? I showed you-you saw. You tell about us?' he begs.
This book is Joe Sacco's attempt to tell the story of Palestine and its people. Throughout it Sacco expresses doubts about his project, partly because he chooses to tell the story in the form of a graphic novel-a comic. On that count he needn't have worried. Palestine is a brilliant and honest work.
The graphic form that Sacco uses is a perfect medium to transmit the kaleidoscope of experiences he comes across in Palestine.
It's not a pretty story because the plight of the Palestinians is not pretty. But Sacco doesn't just see them as victims-he also tells a story of almost unbelievable endurance and resistance.
Palestine by Joe Sacco is available from the Bookmarks bookshop-phone 020 7637 1848 or go to www.bookmarks.uk.com