An International group of acclaimed cartoonists demonstrated the destructive absurdity of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through an exhibition of cartoons.
The exhibition, opened on United Nations Day on October 24th at The Playhouse featured some 35 cartoonists from more than 20 countries. The exhibition was the idea of The Parents’ Circle, a group of bereaved Palestinian and Israeli families who wanted to highlight the futility of violence in the region.
Artists who contributed work include Pulitzer Prize winners Pat Oliphant and Jim Morin; Polish-born satirist Andrzej Krauze; Britain’s David Bromley, and Japan’s Norio Yamanoi.
Many of the cartoons featured two sides locked in conflict despite pleas for peace from innocent people caught up in the violence. A battered dove of peace appears prominently in many.
The Parents Circle-Families Forum was founded in 1995 and consists of 500 Israeli and Palestinian bereaved families who work together to promote peace through reconciliation and understanding by aiming to use their own painful experiences to promote reconciliation.
Robi’s son David, 28, a student at TelAviv University, was serving as a reservist in the Israeli army when he was killed by a Palestinian sniper. She now travels the world with Palestinian members of the group to promote the message that there will only be peace in the Middle East with reconciliation. She has been accompanied at many of the events by Seham Ikhlayel-Abu-Awwad, whose brother was killed by an Israeli soldier. Seham’s whole childhood and life have been affected by the conflict. She grew up in Beit Ummar where her mother was often imprisoned for her political activities.
Both of them visited Northern Ireland in 2010 with the exhibition and were so impressed by the public’s reaction to the cartoons, particularly in relation to our own conflict here, that they donated the cartoons to Community Dialogue to use as a tool for ongoing dialogues.
Community Dialogue is made up of people from diverse communities within Northern Ireland. As a group they take no position on party-political issues and believe that if we want a better future we need to take time to listen to each other and to question ourselves. The cartoon exhibition has provided a unique way to engage people in dialogue and to encourage people to view the cartoons from the perspective of the conflict that has taken place in Northern Ireland.