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Encyclopedia Of The Palestinians: Biography of Naji al-Ali
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Posted on November 12, 2000

From below article is from Encyclopedia Of The Palestinians edited by Philip Mattar

al-Ali, Naji
Ali Naji al-Azami; cartoonist

50 Years


1936-1937 to 1987 al-Shajara
Born in the Galilee, al-Ali fled with his family to southern Lebanon during the ARAB-ISRAELI WAR OF 1948 and spent his youth in the Ayn al-Hilwa refugee camp. He began drawing cartoons on the walls of Lebanese prisons during the late 1950s and was later encouraged to publish his cartoons by the famous Palestinian writer GHASSAN KANAFANI.
Al-Ali later moved to Kuwait in the early 1960s. Returning to Lebanon in 1971, al-Ali served on the editorial board of the prominent Lebanese newspaper al-Safir and also contributed cartoons to other prominent Arab newspapers.
Al-Ali's cartoons were often biting commentaries on life in the Middle East. Each cartoon featured a young boy, Hanzala, as spectator. Fiercely independent, al-Ali sought to defend what he believed was the common Arab man and woman and alienated a host of regimes and political movements in the process. Al-Ali left Lebanon in 1983 for Kuwait out of fear for his life; however, he was expelled in 1985 under pressure from neighboring Saudi Arabia and moved to London. He was shot by an unknown assailant on July 22, 1987, and died on August 30 of the same year.
Al-Ali was posthumously awarded the International Federation of Newspaper Publishers' Golden Pen Award in 1988 to recognize his contributions to freedom of expression.
Michael R. Fischbach


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