|Alice Walker on Palestine|
- Wednesday, June 22 2011, 0:29:31 (UTC)|
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"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one."
Alice Walker on Palestine
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Alice Walker isn’t only a legendary writer with a beautiful sense of humanity, she’s also someone who has gone beyond the issues she’s most familiar with, educating herself to the point of taking a stand.
In this snippet from a Guernica Magazine interview Walker compares Israeli oppression of Palestinians in Gaza to white treatment of blacks in the segregated US South. Compare her response to the Israeli line to those made by Margaret Atwood and Amitav Ghosh when faced with similar questions (and $1,000,000 in Israeli prize money which they both accepted):
Guernica: Noam Katz, minister for public diplomacy at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, told the New York Times, “We see this flotilla as a political statement in order to support Hamas in Gaza. Hamas is a terror organization that took control of Gaza and its people and is committed to the destruction of the state of Israel. We have a blockade, and we are going to enforce this blockade.” Your response?
Alice Walker: I am reminded of something Bernice Johnson Reagon of SNNC said once: that the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee participants (of the 1960s) understood that the white supremacists of the south had a job, which might include abuse and murder of the students. But that the students had a job as well; which was to dismantle segregation and break the chain of fear that bound all people of color. The racists would do their job as they understood it; we would do ours.
I had never seen as much blatant terrorism as I witnessed in Gaza. Israeli-made; American-made. It is unfortunate that officials of Israel appear to know so little about what their government is doing in the terrorism department. In fact, Israel has a long history of terrorism as does the United States. Both countries were founded on acts of terrorism against the indigenous populations. What a breath of fresh air it would be to have leaders who honestly acknowledged this and then went on to lay down even a tenth, a quarter, half, of their weapons. No one else on the planet is as well armed as Americans and Israelis. Or as vicious in the widespread use of arms.
One of the things so painful to remember about the segregated south is that no matter what white people did to them black people were not allowed to fight back, not even with a word or a glance, hence the expression “reckless eye-balling” which led many a black person to be beaten or killed. The idea that the people of Palestine are not even supposed to fight back, after everything that’s been done to them, is cruel and inhuman, since protecting one’s self and family and land and livelihood is an instinct we share with all creatures on the planet. To collectively punish them (by bombing and starvation) for electing their own government in a democratic election acknowledged by most observers to have been fair, is sadistic as well as internationally condemned as illegal.
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