Power Born of Dreams
My Story Is Palestine
By Mohammad Sabaaneh
Street Noise Books, November 2021
128 pages, US$15.99
(Review quoted in its entirety from http://teenlibrarian.co.uk/2021/10/22/power-born-of-dreams-my-story-is-palestine/.)
What does freedom look like from inside an Israeli prison?
A bird perches on the cell window and offers a deal: “You bring the pencil, and I will bring the stories,” stories of family, of community, of Gaza, of the West Bank, of Jerusalem, of Palestine. The two collect threads of memory and intergenerational trauma from ongoing settler-colonialism. Helping us to see that the prison is much larger than a building, far wider than a cell; it stretches through towns and villages, past military checkpoints and borders. But hope and solidarity can stretch farther, deeper, once strength is drawn from stories and power is born of dreams. Translating headlines into authentic lived experiences, these stories come to life in the striking linocut artwork of Mohammad Sabaaneh, helping us to see Palestinians not as political symbols, but as people.
How can something so beautiful be so heart-breaking?
I ask myself that each time I pick up Power Born of Dreams… three times now I have read this book. Each time I have spent ages poring over the pages admiring the stark beauty emanating from the pages of this work of art that Mohammad Sabaaneh has created. I learned the art of linocut when I was in school, but Mohammad has elevated the simple act of slicing shapes out of linoleum he cut into the history of his time as a political prisoner and the stories of Palestinians, living their lives under a brutal occupation, fenced in with electronic eyes watching them every day and night. These are stories of heartache and loss and of hope. These are some of the stories of Palestine.
It may be the fact that I grew up in South Africa during apartheid that makes me sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinian people. Having heard the stories from my friends and fellow South Africans of colour of what they experienced [–] the dehumanising and degrading treatment at the hands of the white minority government [–] has made me resolute in my opposition to oppression wherever it may occur.
In time I can see Mohammad Sabaaneh joining Joe Sacco, Art Spiegelman, and other cartoonists in the lists of those who have used their art to open the eyes of the world to the iniquities suffered by so many.
Matt Imrie, Teen Librarian
A short video showing how Mohammad created the linoleum cuts can be viewed here: https://koozgallery.com/.