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Hail the Tenth Anniversary of the Founding of the DFLP
Artist: Unattributed
Dimensions: 18” x 24”

This poster commemorates the tenth anniversary (1979) of the founding of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). A ring of ten small red stars surrounds a large red, flower-like star with the flag of Palestine as its stem. The red stars reference the Marxist-Leninist orientation of the DFLP, which is also a member organization of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Commemorative and anniversary posters are popular, almost obsessively so, among both Palestinians and Israelis.

Palestinian anniversary posters mark military battles, for example, the 1968 battle at Al Karameh; major United Nations decisions, for example November 29, 1947 (when the UN divided Palestine into Jewish and Arab components); the deaths of major cultural figures such as Ghassan Kanafani; the founding dates of political fronts (such as this poster); and a host of other subjects or events. Typically these posters appear on the first, tenth, twenty-fifth or fiftieth anniversary of the event depicted. Some however, such as those marking the assassination of Kanafani and the founding of the PLO, are published every year.


Palestinian commemorative posters have a deliberate, almost defiant, tone primarily intended not so much to communicate with the outside world, but rather to serve as inspiration and morale boosters within Palestinian communities. Most are printed in Arabic only, indicating that the intended audience is Arabic speaking. Distribution is usually local. Design and production of Palestinian posters is decentralized, the themes and tones of anniversary posters are quite varied, and the range of artists and publishers also changes widely from year to year.

Israeli anniversary posters tend to have extremely high production values and are generally outward in their appeal, reinforcing the point that Israel is an established nation among nations. Often printed in English and other languages, these posters are widely distributed via tourism bureaus, educational programs, cultural exchanges, and other venues. They see their commemorative posters as keepsakes that friends and allies around the world can collect and frame and use to signify their solidarity with Israel.

Israeli anniversary posters tend to focus on Israeli Independence Day, May 15, 1948. (Among Palestinians this date is called Youm Al Nakba [Arabic: Day of Catastrophe], and they also commemorate it with posters.) For Israelis, the Independence Day anniversary poster frequently invokes a triumphant tone reiterating that the often-beleaguered country has survived yet another year of international criticism and domestic turmoil.

The diversely-themed anniversary posters of the Palestinians have a different message. They say: we are here, we are not going away, and we are determined to return to our homeland. Palestinian commemorative posters do not celebrate the existence of an internationally recognized state, as the Israeli posters do, but rather emphasize that they remain committed to creating that reality.

© 2003 Liberation Graphics. All Rights Reserved.

Questions for A New
Democratic Discussion

1) The revolutionary structure of Palestinian society, i.e., its political identity as defined by its fronts, — Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Al Fatah, etc. would, in all likelihood, never have emerged if the early Zionists had decided to establish the Jewish homeland in either of the alternative locations they seriously considered, Argentina or Uganda. How might modern Palestinian society have evolved in the absence of Zionism?

2) Many of Israel’s current political parties trace their roots to pre-independence underground militias such as Haganah, Etzel and Lehi. What were the organizing principles of those underground units—what was their call to arms—and how did they change after independence? How did their ideologies and platforms differ from one another? How might today’s Palestinian factions evolve in a civilian setting?

3) Do the elements of Palestinian political culture, i.e., its parties, compare to the parties that make up the Israeli political spectrum? If yes, how? If no, why not? What is the Israeli counterpart of Fatah? The DFLP, etc?

4) The symbolism embedded in this poster is not readily apparent to most Americans. Why is that? Would a deeper understanding of the symbols of Israeli and Palestinian political culture aid Americans in understanding the conflict between them?




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