Power Born of Dreams: My Story Is Palestine

Mohammad Sabaaneh. Street Noise, $15.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-951491-14-7
In striking, emotive linocut prints that Sabaaneh (White and Black) likens to carvings on a prison wall, the Palestinian cartoonist’s debut graphic novel depicts how he maintained hope and sanity during his five months in an Israeli prison in 2013 while threading his narrative with other stories of his community’s suffering. A rectangular, blunted arrow–shaped bird visits and brings the artist stories from the outside world, a device that draws connections between literal prisons and legal and geographic ones, as in the case of a couple whose daughter is born at a checkpoint. Sabaaneh’s own niece is born while her father is imprisoned, and he must earn her trust when he’s released—only to be arrested again. Each story is devastating and outrage-inducing; the spare language and poetic illustrations convey the scope of a long, slow genocide. Sabaaneh draws himself as a tree, with branches reaching through barbed wire and a bird perched in his heart. Later, the angular bird’s rounder friends ask, “Who has wings and lives in a prison?” An illustrated primer at the back of the narrative provides a footnoted chronology of the occupation in the region. Haunted by snaggletoothed construction equipment and biased courts that throw him in a judge’s gaping mouth, Sabaaneh presents a world in which injustice is unending, but so is the strength of his people. This testament will remind readers of the human toll of political conflict, but also how humanity can never fully be taken. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/12/2021
Release date: 10/19/2021
Genre: Comics
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