by Alice Walker
Alice Walker in Gaza with Palestinian member of parliament and mother of five, Huda Naim.
Last March, poet, novelist and feminist Alice Walker joined a delegation organized by Code Pink, to travel to the Gaza Strip just weeks after the 22-day Israeli bombardment and invasion. Walker, globally acclaimed for her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Color Purple, had also traveled to Rwanda, Eastern Congo and other places where she witnessed cruel and barbaric behavior that left her speechless. In an essay on her blog entitled “Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters “the horror” in Rwanda, Eastern Congo and Palestine/Israel,” Walker recounts the stories of the people she met, and offers a lyrical analysis that ties their oppression and struggles to what she and her community experienced growing up in the violence and fear of the segregated American South. The excerpt below begins with her arrival in Gaza after a long overland journey through Egypt.
by Tema Okun
Mondoweiss 21 July 2009
I am a Jew. I am a religious Jew. I am an anti-Zionist Jew. I realize that to make this last claim is to risk that you will stop reading, as often any claim of anti-Zionism brings with it a label of traitor, anti-Semite, self-hating Jew. I hope, however, that you will give me the benefit of the doubt, at least for the few minutes that it will take you to read what I have to say.
I?ve been a Jew all my life although I was not raised with a Jewish education. In my late 40s, I began to study. I read, I joined a synagogue, I helped start a Talmud study group. I was and am drawn to the essential command, attributed to the great Rabbi Hillel, that our task as Jews is essentially to ?not do to others that which is hateful to you.? I love how, in very Jewish fashion, Hillel tells us what not to do. I love and am daily challenged by how extremely difficult such a simple command can be.
Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 22 July 2009
The passionate support for Israel expressed on talkback and comment sections of websites, internet chat forums, blogs, Twitter and Facebook may not be all that it seems.
Israel’s foreign ministry is reported to be establishing a special undercover team of paid workers whose job it will be to surf the internet 24 hours a day spreading positive news about Israel.
British anti-war MP George Galloway is to fly out on Saturday 4th July, American independence day, from JFK airport in New York with the first of a group of hundreds of US citizens who are to form the largest ever aid convoy to head into Gaza.
They will be heading off a month to the day from President Obama’s signal speech in Cairo promising a new, more egalitarian US engagement with the Muslim world and a change in policy over Palestine and the Middle East from the disastrous eight years of the Bush administration.
On her second attempt to break the blockade on Gaza, Cynthia McKinney and 20 other humanitarians on the ship “Spirit of Humanity” were stopped in International waters Monday by the Israeli Navy. This is a pretty big deal. An aid ship captured by the armed forces of another country in International waters is an act of piracy?I think. At least it was when Soma li pirates captured an American ship recently.
It appears that the Mainstream media is going to ignore this story even though Cynthia McKinney was once a Congresswoman from Georgia and a Presidential candidate.
Cynthia makes a call to WBAIX radio station from her prison cell in Israel.
On June 30th 2009 Israeli Occupation Forces forcibly boarded the Free Gaza boat, SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, and kidnapped 21 human rights workers and journalists who were on their way to deliver much needed humanitarian and reconstruction supplies to besieged Gaza. Those abducted by Israel include Nobel peace prize laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney.
Since their kidnapping, tens-of-thousands of people around the world have mobilized to demand their immediate and unconditional release. The Free Gaza Movement would like to thank everyone who has made a phone call, sent a fax or email, written a letter, or organized a demonstration on behalf of our 21 imprisoned friends. Read more