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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Book of censored Gaza children’s artwork published

Artwork made by children in Gaza who lived through Israel’s attacks in the winter of 2008-09 and exhibited by the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) in the Bay Area is now available in book form in order to reach a wider audience.

The collection of original artwork was scheduled to be exhibited in September by the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland (MOCHA), but due to intimidation and pressure from Israeli lobby groups, the museum canceled the exhibit at the last minute.

MECA immediately sprung into action and arranged for the artwork to be shown at a vacant gallery space around the corner from the children’s museum. Days before the doors opened, MOCHA’s board told MECA’s executive director Barbara Lubin that they could reinstate the exhibit at the original museum space, but that the collection would have to be “modified.”

Lubin and MECA responded:
We at MECA made a commitment to the children of Gaza to share their experiences and perspectives, and consider any modifications to the art exhibit as a form of censorship. Children everywhere deserve to be heard, but we have an even greater responsibility to listen to the stories of children under siege and who survived Israel’s brutal military assault in 2008-2009.
In a press release for the book’s publication, MECA states that the drawings featured in A Child’s View from Gaza: Palestinian Children’s Art and the Fight Against Censorship ”serve as part of the historical record of the horror inflicted on the Palestinian people during Operation Cast Lead as experienced by children. Photos of the aftermath and the recent efforts by pro-Israel groups to censor the children’s art are also highlighted in the book.”
They added:
With beautiful, high-resolution print images of the exhibit, the book also features a special foreword by celebrated author, Alice Walker, as well as an essay by MECA Executive Director, Barbara Lubin, describing the struggle against the censorship.
As we approach the three-year anniversary of Israel’s brutal assault on the Gaza Strip, in which over 1400 civilians were killed including 352 children, the need to support the ones who survived to tell their stories and the trauma they experienced through art is now more crucial than ever.
The book is available for order on the MECA website.

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