He Comics and games from Lucca, the historic international fair that will be held from Wednesday, November 1 to Sunday, November 5, will have a notable absence: Zerocalcare. The question of patronage has been causing debate for a few days with various boycott requests coming from social networks and the streets. The Roman cartoonist responds to the call by announcing his position on his social networks: “The sponsorship of the Israeli embassy in Lucca Comics represents a problem for me.” «At this moment when two million people are trapped in Gaza and do not even know if they will be alive the next day, after more than 6,000 dead civilians, hungry and exhausted men, women and children waiting for the next bombing or invasion. of land, while politicians shout on television that there are no civilians in Gaza and that Gaza must be destroyed, while even the United Nations calls for a ceasefire – the minimum in fact – which is disdainfully rejected, for me to come and celebrate there It represents a short circuit that I cannot handle.”
“I’m sorry to the readers, but that symbol represents death”
Zerocalcare is sorry for the publisher and for the readers “who spent money on trains and accommodation, perhaps to come on purpose.” But also for himself because “Lucca for me has always been a gigantic burden but also a moment of warmth and encounter.” He recognizes that the patronage logo “is just a symbol,” but he can’t let go of it: “For many people I love, it represents right now the fear of not seeing the sun rise tomorrow morning, the rubble under which their “Loved ones, loved ones, remain buried, the threat of dying trapped in that open-air prison where so many boys and girls were born and grew up without ever being able to leave.”
«It is not a competition of radicalism»
The cartoonist says he has been to Gaza, where a bloody conflict is currently raging following Hamas attacks that began on October 7, and that he knows people who live there. “When I am asked how it is possible that a cultural event of this importance does not question the opportunity to collaborate with the representation of a government that is perpetrating war crimes in defiance of international law, I honestly cannot give an explanation,” confides Zerocalcare. “I can’t even tell you how much I regret not being there and how much this tears me apart, compared to the anguish I hear in his voices.” But he wants to specify: «It is not a contest of radicalism, and for my part there is no lesson or moral judgment towards those who will go to Lucca and will do it in the way that seems most appropriate to them, above all “It is not a protest in the presence of the two authors of the poster, Asaf and Tomer Hanuka, who I hope can be there and feel at home, because I never thought that the towns and people coincide with their governments. And he concludes: I hope that one day there will also be Palestinian cartoonists who at the moment cannot leave their country.