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Joe Mc remembers Naji Al-Ali / 30 August 2010

The Oud player returns from the sea
(photomontage with digitised watercolour)
May 2010 © Joe McConnell

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I have really enjoyed the past few weeks blogging on DAO. One of the pleasures has been sharing this space with the sparkling insights of Caroline Cardus, Sophie Partridge, Rockinpaddy (move over Jojolito), Dolly Sen, Vince Laws et al. And the polemical cartooning of Dave Lupton aka Crippen. Or is that the other way around?

Dave's work reminds me of the intensely political cartoons of Naji Al-Ali. Although he was mysteriously assassinated in London in 1987 at the age of 50,

Al-Ali's work is constantly reproduced by many struggling to bring justice to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Handala - the strange man child who haunts his work - has become a symbol of exile, exclusion and injustice known all over the world, rattling not only the cages of Israeli and US regimes but also the corrupt governments who have colluded in the continuing oppression.

I believe his work is massively relevant to all those fighting for fairness and equality for disabled people. I think particularly of those of us whose exclusion from society is exacerbated by the vagaries of the mental health system.

You will see from an earlier blog post, that my own current relationship with that system is exceptionally positive. Past experience - including coercion to undergo electro-convulsive therapy (at the hands of a bullying psychiatrist who went on to become a successful conservative politician) - has been nothing short of a nightmare. And I am trying not to let my good relationship, with the mental health professionals with whom I am now in contact, ever allow me to forget the shameful abuse of neuroleptic drugs perpetrated by other parts of the same system.

I would like to extend my undying disgust for the shark-fanged shrinks (alongside all paedophile priests) to the thieving-magpie therapists. And all the bloody lot of you who earn a fecking fortune (£40 an hour and more) from preying on our insecurities and imposing your narrow bandwidth view of normality upon us. Not to mention creating a self-serving addiction to therapy to add injury to injury.

There are, of course, glowing exceptions out there as well. You know who you are. Or think you do. Analyse that shrinkos! Analyse my crippled Irish ass!

For those of you interested in Naji Al-Ali, I would recommend the excellent website www.handala.org.

Keywords: cartoons,depression,mental health,palestine,politics,psychiatric medication,psychiatry,zionism