Footnotes in Gaza
A Graphic Novel
By Joe Sacco
(Metropolitan Books, Hardcover, 9780805073478, 432pp.)
Publication Date: December 22, 2009
List Price: $29.95*
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From the great cartoonist-reporter, a sweeping, original investigation of a forgotten crime in the most vexed of places
Rafah, a town at the bottommost tip of the Gaza Strip, is a squalid place. Raw concrete buildings front trash-strewn alleys. The narrow streets are crowded with young children and unemployed men. On the border with Egypt, swaths of Rafah have been bulldozed to rubble. Rafah is today and has always been a notorious flashpoint in this bitterest of conflicts.
Buried deep in the archives is one bloody incident, in 1956, that left 111 Palestinians dead, shot by Israeli soldiers. Seemingly a footnote to a long history of killing, that day in Rafah—cold-blooded massacre or dreadful mistake—reveals the competing truths that have come to define an intractable war. In a quest to get to the heart of what happened, Joe Sacco immerses himself in daily life of Rafah and the neighboring town of Khan Younis, uncovering Gaza past and present. Spanning fifty years, moving fluidly between one war and the next, alive with the voices of fugitives and schoolchildren, widows and sheikhs, Footnotes in Gaza captures the essence of a tragedy.
As in Palestine and Safe Area Goražde, Sacco’s unique visual journalism has rendered a contested landscape in brilliant, meticulous detail. Footnotes in Gaza, his most ambitious work to date, transforms a critical conflict of our age into an intimate and immediate experience.
Joe Sacco, one of the world’s foremost cartoonists, is widely hailed as the creator of war-reportage comics. He is the author of, among other books, Palestine, which received the American Book Award, and Safe Area Goražde, which won the Eisner Award and was named a New York Times Notable Book and Time magazine’s best comic book of 2000. His books have been translated into fourteen languages and his comics reporting has appeared in Details, The New York Times Magazine, Time, and Harper’s. He lives in Portland, Oregon.