Pissing on the Wall


The author of this blog comes to tears (really), every time she encounters non-violent manifestations of Palestinian resistance. In my Hebrew blog I’ve quoted on several occasions in the past poems of Mahmoud Darwish, and also posted photos of graffiti on the wall.


I saw the kid pissing on the wall for the first time nearby Qalandiya, north of Jerusalem. Here –



The pissing kid is a variation on Handala, a long-standing icon of the Palestinian struggle. Here’s a You-Tube film on how to draw Handala.

Handala is a cartoon of Palestinian artist Naji al-Ali. Born in the Galilee in 1937, he was ten years old during the Nakbah of 1948, when together with his family he was expatriated to a refugee camp in Lebanon. He became a political activist, always by means of a non-violence struggle. Among other things, he was a witness to the Sabra and Shatila massacre in 1982. He was assassinated in 1987, under circumstances that remain unclear. He was awarded several prizes for his cartoons, including the Golden Pen of Freedom prize, which was awarded posthumously in 1988.

Al-Ali first drew Handala in 1975, a cartoon of a ten-year-old refugee. Handala is always depicted with his back to the viewer, watching the events in front of him. His hands are held behind his back, symbolizing his rejection of the violence he is witnessing (the pissing kid, however, is drawn with his hands to the front). Al-Ali drew Handala from his back because “the way you look at Handala is who you really are,” as he said. Palestinian folklore has it that once the occupation is over, Handala will turn around, and we will be able to see his face.


There is a whole industry of Handala merchandise. On T-shirts:


Necklace medallion:



A few weeks ago I was excited to see a friend, a guy I’ve been meeting for several years at Huwarra checkpoint, holding a Handala key-ring. That friend bought for me in Nablus two Handala key-rings. Here:



(the caption: ‘a’idun – we will come back).

It is no coincidence that Israelis, and perhaps many others in the West, only know of the murderous and violent form of Palestinian resistance.

 Click here for a Hebrew version of this post.

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9 Responses to Pissing on the Wall

  1. But how do I add an item to the shopping cart ?

  2. yaara says:

    Should be easy. Or maybe the website is an old one and doesn’t offer this service anymore?

  3. Nina says:

    I’ve always wondered about that picture. So, He’s Handala?
    Thanks for info ^^

  4. yaara says:

    How did you hear about him?

  5. coldpeas says:

    I love Naji Al-Ali. You should look up his best friend, Ahmad Matar. He’s a poet and he writes the most beautiful things about freedom and rights.
    I just saw your blog btw and I think I’ll be reading it everyday 🙂

  6. yaara says:

    Thank you’ coldpea, for your warm cooment. I’d be happy for a link.

  7. nindee says:

    I saw the icon in some blogs, Yaara.
    I didn’t know who he was until i read this post. I’m sharing this with my facebook friends. Thanks again ^^

  8. Pingback: Ramadan in Qalandiya « Israel’s Back Yard

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