Celebrities for Palestine – Alice Walker Stands Tall Against Israel Apartheid State
Posted On June 20, 2012 on Akashma Online News
On February 9, 1944, in the small farming community of Eatonton, GA, Willie Lee and Minnie Grant gave birth to their eighth and final child, a girl, they named Alice. Little did her parents know that their youngest daughter would become one of the most prolific, controversial and respected African-American novelists of the later-half of the 20th Century. But the potential in Willie Lee and Minnie Grant’s baby may not have been recognized early on by others living in their farming community. Alice would have to overcome a number of difficulties in her lifetime that would profoundly influence the way she pictured herself and the world around her and would later help shape her views as a writer.
Poet, Writer and Activist Alice Walker makes her position clear on BDS and Cultural Boycott Against Israel Apartheid State. She does not give her permission to Israeli Publisher House to publish “The Color Purple” , even thought that it was published in Hebrew Language before , Now She adds her voice to the BDS Campaign, her Moral Standing it is stronger than her Ego as an Author
“The Color Purple,” which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, was adapted into a movie in 1985 directed by the American filmmaker Steven Spielberg.
She born in the State of Georgia, one of the more racist states of the US, that fact could have contributed to her formation as a writer, “The Color Purple” Book explore the situation of the blacks in the South, the exploitation of the black woman by the black males and the white society.
Alice Walker has lived the injustice of being black in a white ruled society, she grew up with the sores of racism and even being lived the Racist American Period and survived it, she does not show any signs of hate against this White Society, on the contrary if you read her books, and you hear her experiences that she kindly shares on her interviews, you notice her beautiful soul, how she thanks God for the transformation of our society and sees some of the changes, she reveals herself as a revolutionary mind offering to us with her writing the thought process that keeps evolving, and we can say now, that some blocks of our society are civilized in their ideas and their behavior
She has visited many places that have suffered injustices like Post Apartheid South Africa and knows of the terrible life the Afrikaans had it, and because she knows thru her own experiences the real story, she adds her voice to the people of Palestine, which sufferings are very similar to the blacks of the south where she grew up, or the South Africans of the Apartheid Era.
She has the courage to stand tall against Israel Bully of the Middle East, she was part of the Gaza Flotilla last year, unfortunately Israel Political pressure made the voyage impossible to reach Palestinians Waters, but the awareness keeps sparking out, and sees Hope for a Non Violent transition to peace.
I bow to this amazing lady that puts her name to use for a good cause without minding the professional risk.
“Alice Walker! She has absolutely nothing to gain in terms of ego, popularity, power, or Money. Her stance comes from her heart, conscience, compassion, and genuine concern for justice.” Professor Gail Baker
“Walker’s use of Celie’s own voice, however underdeveloped, allows Walker to tell the history of black women in the rural South in a sympathetic and realistic way. Unlike a historian’s perspective, which can be antiseptic and overly analytical, Celie’s letters offer a powerful first-person account of the institutions of racism and sexism. Celie’s simple narrative brings us into her isolated world with language that reveals both pain and detached numbness: “My momma dead. She die screaming and cussing. She scream at me. She cuss at me.”
Like her voice, Celie’s faith is prominent but underdeveloped. Celie relies heavily on God as her listener and source of strength, but she sometimes blurs the distinction between God’s authority and that of Alphonso. She confesses that God, rather than Alphonso, killed her baby, and she never makes any association between the injustice she experiences in her life and the ability of God to overturn or prevent this injustice.”
The Color Purple, 1982
Letter from Alice Walker to Publishers at Yediot Books
Published Originally on PACBI
June 9, 2012
Dear Publishers at Yediot Books,
Thank you so much for wishing to publish my novel THE COLOR PURPLE. It isn’t possible for me to permit this at this time for the following reason: As you may know, last Fall in South Africa The Russell Tribunal on Palestine met and determined that Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories. The testimony we heard, both from Israelis and Palestinians (I was a jurist) was devastating. I grew up under American apartheid and this was far worse. Indeed, many South Africans who attended, including Desmond Tutu, felt the Israeli version of these crimes is worse even than what they suffered under the white supremacist regimes that dominated South Africa for so long.
It is my hope that the non-violent BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement, of which I am part, will have enough of an impact on Israeli civilian society to change the situation.
In that regard, I offer an earlier example of THE COLOR PURPLE’s engagement in the world-wide effort to rid humanity of its self-destructive habit of dehumanizing whole populations. When the film of The Color Purple was finished, and all of us who made it decided we loved it, Steven Spielberg, the director, was faced with the decision of whether it should be permitted to travel to and be offered to the South African public. I lobbied against this idea because, as with Israel today, there was a civil society movement of BDS aimed at changing South Africa’s apartheid policies and, in fact, transforming the government.
It was not a particularly difficult position to hold on my part: I believe deeply in non-violent methods of social change though they sometimes seem to take forever, but I did regret not being able to share our movie, immediately, with (for instance) Winnie and Nelson Mandela and their children, and also with the widow and children of the brutally murdered, while in police custody, Steven Biko, the visionary journalist and defender of African integrity and freedom.
We decided to wait. How happy we all were when the apartheid regime was dismantled and Nelson Mandela became the first president of color of South Africa.
Only then did we send our beautiful movie! And to this day, when I am in South Africa, I can hold my head high and nothing obstructs the love that flows between me and the people of that country.
Which is to say, I would so like knowing my books are read by the people of your country, especially by the young, and by the brave Israeli activists (Jewish and Palestinian) for justice and peace I have had the joy of working beside. I am hopeful that one day, maybe soon, this may happen. But now is not the time.
We must continue to work on the issue, and to wait.
In faith that a just future can be fashioned from small acts,
“Whereas international institutions and governments fail to take action in support of justice and equality for the Palestinian people, the Russell Tribunal will raise awareness about the urgency of holding Israel accountable for its violations of international law,”
“This tribunal will serve as an effective tool with which to educate a wider public about the nature of Israel’s system of oppression of Palestinians and will help to mobilise support for popular resistance and the BDS movement,” Juma Juma – Representative of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)
Walker’s novels include :
Set in Georgia between 1920 and 1960, Alice Walker‘s first novel The Third Life of Grange Copeland describes the economic oppression African-Americans suffered under the share-cropping system and its tragic effects on black families and the black community. Walker asks to what degree blacks themselves have been accomplishes in their victimization by the white power structure, which destroys their dignity and dreams. She also explores the intersection of racism and sexism in the oppression of African American families, depicting black men who vent their anger and frustration, not on the whites who exploit them, but on their wives and children. The two main male characters, Grange and Brownfield Copeland, both try to prove their manliness through methods endorsed by white patriarchy: through assertions of power over women in the form of sexual conquests and wife abuse.
The Difficulty of Idealism
Meridian is energized by a younger generation coming into its full power and raising its voice in dissent against the institutional racism that prevailed through the 1960s. Through occasionally violent protests and demonstrations, Meridian and other activists attempt to institute change and alter perceptions. Idealistic as they are, they ultimately find various degrees of satisfaction with the goals and ideals of the civil rights movement. Meridian feels that she will always stand on the fringes of the movement since she is unprepared to take her dissent to a radical, if not murderous, level. Lynne struggles with adapting and applying her own idealism to meaningful change in the lives of southern blacks. Truman eventually sours to the movement, having lost sight of its intentions in his self-absorption. In the end, Meridian realizes the fatuousness of dying or killing for the movement, concluding that the battle is won in small ways, such as getting blacks registered to vote and improving the lives of people victimized by the unchecked expression of racism.
THE TEMPLE OF MY FAMILIAR (1989),
POSSESSING THE SECRET OF JOY (1992),
BY THE LIGHT OF MY FATHER’S SMILE (1998),
NOW IS THE TIME TO OPEN YOUR HEART (2004),
OVERCOMING SPEECHLESSNESS (2012).
Her poetry is collected in ONCE: POEMS (1968),
REVOLUTIONARY PETUNIAS & OTHER POEMS (1973),
ABSOLUTE TRUST IN THE GOODNESS OF THE EARTH:
NEW POEMS (2003).
Some of her short fiction has been published in:
IN LOVE & TROUBLE: STORIES OF BLACK WOMEN (1973).
She became a major figure in feminism — which she called “womanism” — through such writings as IN SEARCH OF OUR MOTHERS’ GARDENS: WOMANIST PROSE (1983) and LIVING BY THE WORD (1988). These collections of essays, speeches, and letters focus on Walker’s experiences as a black woman in America, and on racial and class inequality.
How Alice Walker become Palestinian Activist: In her interview with Amy Goodman in Democracy Now she explains how the lost of her sister and the story of a woman in Palestine that lost everything and everyone in her family made her be more out spoken about the Palestinian Issue.
ALICE WALKER: Well, I was actually mourning the death of my own sister, and I thought that, oh, she was, you know, much older, and she was sick, and she died, and we’d had a horrible five or six years before she died. And so I thought, you know, when she dies, I won’t be devastated. And I was completely devastated. It was so painful.
And I was out trying to deal with my own devastation, when I learned about a woman in Palestine, during the bombing, who had been — who had lost five of her daughters, and she herself was unconscious. And it just instantly connected me to her. I felt, what will this be like? Who will tell her? Who will tell this woman when she wakes up that “your five daughters are dead”?
And so I felt that I had to go and present myself to this situation and to be attentive to it in a way that I had started being many years before, except that at the time I was married to and then related to, in many ways, to a Jewish person who always said, well, if you see the Palestinian side, almost anything, you know, positive about the Palestinian side, then it means that you are anti-Semitic. And so, this was so shocking to me that it silenced me for a while. I mean, I said a few things, I wrote a few things. But I felt that I had left something undone. And I realize at this point in my life, and years earlier, actually, that there are things in life that call to us, and they’re ours to do. And this was one of the things that was mine to finish.
And so I went to Gaza, and I met with women who had lost everything, and their children, their houses. You know, I sat on the rubble, even though there was the phosphorus powder, because it was just overwhelming to see the injury and the damage that had been done to these people by the Israeli government. And I knew that it was my responsibility as a writer and as a human being to witness this and to write about it. I mean, why else was I — why else am I a writer? You know, why else do I have a conscience? I think that all people who feel that there is injustice in the world anywhere should learn as much of it as they can bear. That is our duty.
“I speak a little about this American history, but it isn’t history that these women know.” These are the women, the Palestinian women, I’m with. “They’re too young. They’ve never been taught it. It feels irrelevant. Following their example of speaking of their families, I talk about my Southern parents’ teachings during our experience of America’s apartheid years, when white people owned and controlled all the resources and the land, in addition to the political, legal, and military apparatus, and used their power to intimidate black people in the most barbaric and merciless ways. These whites who tormented us daily were like Israelis who have cut down millions of trees planted by Arab Palestinians, stolen Palestinian water, even topsoil. Forcing Palestinians to use separate roads from those they use themselves, they have bulldozed innumerable villages, houses, mosques, and in their place built settlements for strangers who have no connection whatsoever with Palestine: settlers who have been the most rabidly anti-Palestinian of all, attacking the children, the women, everyone, old and young alike, viciously.”
AMY GOODMAN: Alice, I wanted to go back to March 2009 -—
ALICE WALKER: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: — when you were in Gaza, to a video of you there.
ALICE WALKER: It’s shocking beyond anything I have ever experienced. And it’s actually so horrible that it’s basically unbelievable, even though I’m standing here and I’ve been walking here and I’ve been looking at things here. It still feels like, you know, you could never convince anyone that this is actually what is happening and what has happened to these people and what the Israeli government has done. It will be a very difficult thing for anyone to actually believe in, so it’s totally important that people come to visit and to see for themselves, because the world community, that cares about peace and cares about truth and cares about justice, will have to find a way to deal with this. We cannot let this go as if it’s just OK, especially those of us in the United States who pay for this. You know, I have come here, in part, to see what I’m buying with my tax money.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Alice Walker in 2009, interviewed by my colleague here at Democracy Now!, Anjali Kamat. When you look back at you walking through the rubble of Gaza, your thoughts?
ALICE WALKER: My thought is that I am so glad I was there. I am so glad that I managed to gather myself and present myself to this situation, because it is my responsibility, you know, as a person, as an elder, as someone who cares about the planet, who really wants us all to thrive, you know, or just survive. This is a very thorny issue, and it takes all of us looking at it as carefully as we can to help solve it. It’s not that it’s impossible to solve. But what will help a lot is the insistence by all of us on fairness and on people actually understanding what they’re looking at.
AMY GOODMAN: You say that the Middle East solution is beyond the two-state solution, and you also talk about restorative justice.
ALICE WALKER: Yes, I do, because I believe in restorative justice. I think we could use that here. I mean, I don’t feel great about the past leaders here not being brought to trial, actually, you know. But if we can’t have trial, we could at least have council. I mean, but to let people, any people, just go, after they’ve murdered lots of people and destroyed a lot, is not right. It destroys trust. So — what was the rest of the question?
AMY GOODMAN: And you believe in a one-state solution.
ALICE WALKER: Oh, the one-state solution. Yes, I do. I mean, when I think about my tax money, and I think about, well, you know, given that I’ve already given, and we as a country have given over a trillion dollars to Israel in the last — since, I don’t know, ‘48 or something, but a lot of money that we could have used here, where would I be happiest to see, you know, my money spent? Well, I would be happy seeing my money spent for all the people who live in Palestine. And that means that, you know, the Palestinians who are forced out of their houses, forced off of their land, should come back and share the land, all of it, including the settlements. You know, if I am going to be asked to help pay for settlements, I would like to be, you know, permitted to say who gets to live in them. And I would like the women and children, the Palestinian women and children that I saw, I would like to say — take them by hand and say, “You know what? Look at this. We built this for you. You’re home now.”
The following link contain Alice Walker entire interview with Amy Goodman from Democracy now