Joe Sacco's graphic novel, Palestine, deals with the repercussions of the first intifada in Israel/Palestine/the Holy Land. The story follows the author through the many refugee camps and towns around Palestine as he tries to gather information, stories, and pictures to construct his graphic novel. While the book is enjoyable at a face level, there are many underlying themes conveyed throughout its illustrated pages and written text.
The most obvious of the themes is that of violence, brutality, and torture. Tied into this also is the idea of injustice. Many of these themes are intertwined. Constantly the reader is berated with violent images, or descriptions of violence. These must be on nearly every second page of the novel. A
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When I refer enjoyable, I am implying that I was caught up in the story, although overall I did find the book a bit depressing. I have lived 21 years and never known completely what the struggle in Palestine/Israel was completely about. I knew that it was a fight over land, but I never knew about the conditions, the turmoil, the actual level of brutality, or even what seems like a form of apartheid that was going on in Sacco's novel. I was happy that this book was informative. I feel that I have learned a lot about the situation from it. I agree with a point that Sacco makes in the novel, that he chooses to mainly portray the Palestinian side of the story because for the most part all that is portrayed in the West is the Israeli side. I found the theme of the media sensationalizing everything while at the same time not actually being able to help the situation angering and disappointing. What angered me more is that I felt that Sacco did not actually intend for this to be a running theme throughout Palestine. I do feel that he wanted to show that there was little the media could do, and that many people don't look at both sides of the story. He often gives examples of Palestinians becoming angered because nothing is done when their stories are told . However, I don't feel that Sacco actually realized how he was being sensationalist. In a sense, I looked up to Saburo, the Japanese journalist, who did not want to take pictures of violence or hold on to