The LA Times gives a warm review to Joe Sacco’s newest book, Footnotes in Gaza. It is a slight shift from his usual approach in that he is reporting on a historical event. At the same time, though, he brings the issues forward to the endless conflict in Palestine. As always, though, he seems to bring a sense of the conflicted history to the story.
Nowhere is this as clear as when Sacco reproduces a eulogy for a kibbutznik killed by Palestinian infiltrators, delivered in 1956 by Moshe Dayan. “Let us not today cast blame on the murderers,” Dayan notes. “What can we say against their terrible hatred of us? For eight years now they have sat in the refugee camps of Gaza, and have watched how, before their very eyes, we have turned their lands and villages, where they and their forefathers previously dwelled, into our home.” It’s a stunningly empathetic statement — perhaps the most empathetic statement in the book — and it stands as an epitaph, not just for the dead of Rafah or Khan Younis, but also for everyone caught up in the endless turmoil of the Gaza Strip. Fittingly, it is Khaled who offers the Palestinian counterpoint. “It’s not a matter of victory,” he says in the closing pages. “It’s a matter of resisting till the end.” His posture, slumped, resigned, his face marked with sadness, tells us all we need to know about the toll.