Naji Salim al-Ali (Arabic: ناجي سليم العلي Nājī Salīm al-‘Alī ; born c. 1938 – 29 August 1987) was a Palestinian cartoonist, noted for the political criticism of the Arab regimes and Israel in his works. He drew over 40,000 cartoons, which often reflected Palestinian and Arab public opinion and were sharply critical commentaries on Palestinian and Arab politics and political leaders. He is perhaps best known as creator of the character Handala, pictured in his cartoons as a young witness of the satirized policy or event depicted,and who has since become an icon of Palestinian defiance. On 22 August 1987, while outside the London offices of al-Qabas, a Kuwaiti newspaper for which he drew political caricatures,Naji al-Ali was shot in the face and mortally wounded. Naji al-Ali died five weeks later in Charing Cross Hospital.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naji_al-Ali
Handala, also known as Handhala (Arabic: حنظلة) is the most famous of Naji al-Ali's characters. He is depicted as a ten-year old boy, and appeared for the first time in Al-Siyasa in Kuwait in 1969. The figure turned his back to the viewer from the year 1973, and clasped his hands behind his back. The artist explained that the ten-year old represented his age when forced to leave Palestine and would not grow up until he could return to his homeland; his turned back and clasped hands symbolised the character's rejection of "outside solutions". Handala wears ragged clothes and is barefoot, symbolising his allegiance to the poor. In later cartoons, he is actively participating in the action depicted not merely observing it.
Handala became the signature of Naji al-Ali's cartoons and remains an iconic symbol of Palestinian identity and defiance. Handala has also been used as the web mascot of the Iranian green movement. The artist remarked that "this being that I have invented will certainly not cease to exist after me, and perhaps it is no exaggeration to say that I will live on with him after my death".
"At first he was a Palestinian child, but his consciousness developed to have a national then a global and human horizon. He is a simple yet tough child, and this is why people adopted him and felt that he represents their consciousness."