Palestinian social activism revolves around the concept of “resistance” (in Arabic, muqawama) against Israel, rather than “peace.” Over the years, “resistance” has come in a variety of forms—militant, political, economic, electronic, and even illustrated muqawama. In a recent development, Palestinian activists say they are launching a symbolic superhero figure called “Gaza Man,” the Palestinian equivalent of superheroes like Superman and Batman.
Palestinian activist Mohammed Mus’ab described the new project to the Arabic Al-Umma website, saying (Arabic link):
“We will never sanctify people, but we can sanctify the idea of a masked man who devotes his life to protect his land, his religion and his principles.”
This cartoon character will apparently premiere in a new animated TV series. The activists behind the superhero character called manufacturers and merchants to produce and sell “Gaza Man” action figures. They also asked writers to integrate this character in their stories.
Algerian activist and Palestinian supporter Sheikh Ben Khalifa wrote on his blog:
“Our children are affected and imitate characters like Spiderman, Superman, Batman and other heroes who are listed on the screen and do extraordinary things. Now our children and the world are facing a new model of a hero, a hero who can do anything and not have to use wings or other abilities to perform miracles. He has the faith and trust that God can do anything.”
Ben Khalifa linked the new cartoon character to the conflict with Israel and said:
“The continuing aggression on the Gaza Strip emphasized this legendary-realistic model – the model of “Gaza Man”, a man from Gaza who is not afraid of the coward Zionists.”
Hamas has been feeding Gaza’s youth with similar religious propaganda for years. The terrorist group often indoctrinates children with cartoon characters to encourage them to become terrorists, as well as hosting summer camps that feature advanced combat training.
In past years, a Hamas children’s show featured a Mickey Mouse lookalike named Farfur who called for suicide bombings against Jews. Later, they used a character called Assud the rabbit. Hamas claimed a previous character, Nahul the bee, died because the Israelis refused to give him access to medical care.
[Photo: Khaled Safi]