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Alice Walker: We Can Offer What We Are

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Thu, Feb 19, 2009

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During the recent ruthless assault on the people of Gaza when so many people were injured or murdered, I lost my own sister; she had been ill for many years.  The loss of this one person, whose death was anticipated, was such a blow, that when I considered the losses to the people of Gaza – of mothers, children, fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, and friends, I wondered how the anguish of so much tragic loss could be sustained.  Housing, hospitals, nurseries, libraries, schools, were also lost. Surely the blow to the human spirit would be intolerable for many, and there would seem little reason for continuing to live.

Going to Gaza is our opportunity (my partner Garrett Larson’s and mine) to express solidarity with the people there.  To demonstrate the concern we feel each day for the suffering endured. To remind the people of Gaza and ourselves that we belong to the same world: the world where grief is not only acknowledged, but shared; where we see injustice and call it by its name; where we see suffering and know the one who stands and sees is also harmed, but not nearly so much as the one who stands and sees and says and does nothing. We can bring our witness, one of life’s strongest gifts, as others have come to our side, witnessing our struggle, when life appeared impossible to bear.  When all is lost, or nearly lost, tenderness remains, or could. We can offer what we are.

Alice WALKER
February 19, 2009

You can donate to the Gaza delegation here

Popularity: 30% [?]

  • Celia Owens

    I want to go to Gaza.
    I am an American living in Rome.
    Medea Benjamin — I spent a couple of lovely hours with you and Ben Treuhaft on my roof on Mulberry Street in Manhattan several years ago.
    I am an artist. i teach art. I’m trained in NLP and ESOL. I’m an activist. I’m a gardener and a BUILDER. I’d like to work with a committee of people to go there and do something good. wearing pink. Maybe someone can set up a blogspot for us to come up with a plan. Or maybe you just HAVE ONE. Please let me know if I can fit into it. thanks THANKS
    XOXO

  • http://www.otabenga.org jacques depelchin

    Dear Alice,
    Good to hear from you and about your project.
    I happen to be visiting Berkeley till Feb 28. I will get Pauline to do the donation, and i shall also see if Ota Benga Alliance could also donate something, even symbolically. I did the attached piece a few weeks ago. Do take care,Jacques.

  • Yara

    There is nothing better than offering who you are, have a good trip. “Wars and elections are both too big and too small to matter in the long run. The daily work – that goes on, it adds up.”

  • David Holzman

    Although I agree with most of what you stand for I’m really disgusted with your one-sidedness vis a vis Israel and Gaza. Israel has faced the terrorism of rocket strikes from Gaza for years. When you don’t know when and where the rockets will land–and they might land on your kids’ school–that’s terrorism.

  • http://WindowsonHaiti Guy S. Antoine

    “…where we see injustice and call it by its name; where we see suffering and know the one who stands and sees is also harmed, but not nearly so much as the one who stands and sees and says and does nothing.” Thank you for those TRUE words, as few can so beautifully phrase it. Thank you for your ACTION. I stand, WE stand UNITED against the atrocities inflicted on the Palestinians by the Israeli government and our own taxpayer-funded and miserably blind support of such inhumane policies. Also, stand if you will against the announced deportation of 30,000 Haitian immigrants back to Haiti which cannot absorb them back at this point. Let a new era of change be meaningful for all of us, from Palestinians to U.S. Americans to Haitians to the whole world.

  • http://www.factfictionfancy.wordpress.com Lynn Lamoreux

    Sure wish I could go but I understand there will be a lot of walking involved.

  • mary des Jardins

    I want to join and be a part of the delegation going to Gaza.

  • William Slavick

    David, the rocketing from Gaza (not all Hamas) is a consequence of over half a century of calculated, planned systematic dispossession of Palestinian Arabs from their land, homes, and livelihoods. Targeting civilians–COMMON ISRAELI PRACTICE IN ALL MILITARY CAMPAIGNS–is morally and legally wrong, nonetheless. STill, Gaza had become an Israel prison, its best land exploited by 5000 Israeli settlers. When Hamas won an election the U.S. and Israel (reluctantly) demanded, instead of agreeing to Hamas’ offer of a ten-year truce, Israel set about assassinating its leadership. In response, Hamas rocketed Israel in an effort to make them stop. Israel also blockaded Gaza, an act of war, an international war crime. Hamas declared a unilateral truce, which Israel’s repeated provocations sought to end, finally winning a Hamas declaration that it would not renew the ceasefire by bombing Rafah Nov. 4th, killing six. Hamas renewed rocketing; rockets have now killed something like 23 in ten years. Israel’s military attack killed 200, almost all civilians, in its first hour. It deliberately targeted hospitals, schools, marketplaces. The reality is that Israel has become as racist as Nazi Germany, has lost its moral compass, and sees nothing to do in any situation but lash out violently, massively, murderously.

  • William Slavick

    NO, YOU ASKED FOR AN E-MAIL ADDRESS WHEN ORIGINALLY ONLY A “MAIL ADDRESS”

    David, the rocketing from Gaza (not all Hamas) is a consequence of over half a century of calculated, planned systematic dispossession of Palestinian Arabs from their land, homes, and livelihoods. Targeting civilians–COMMON ISRAELI PRACTICE IN ALL MILITARY CAMPAIGNS–is morally and legally wrong, nonetheless. STill, Gaza had become an Israel prison, its best land exploited by 5000 Israeli settlers. When Hamas won an election the U.S. and Israel (reluctantly) demanded, instead of agreeing to Hamas’ offer of a ten-year truce, Israel set about assassinating its leadership. In response, Hamas rocketed Israel in an effort to make them stop. Israel also blockaded Gaza, an act of war, an international war crime. Hamas declared a unilateral truce, which Israel’s repeated provocations sought to end, finally winning a Hamas declaration that it would not renew the ceasefire by bombing Rafah Nov. 4th, killing six. Hamas renewed rocketing; rockets have now killed something like 23 in ten years. Israel’s military attack killed 200, almost all civilians, in its first hour. It deliberately targeted hospitals, schools, marketplaces. The reality is that Israel has become as racist as Nazi Germany, has lost its moral compass, and sees nothing to do in any situation but lash out violently, massively, murderously.

  • Lysianthus

    Reply to William,
    It is very easy to twist the facts and leave some out to make either side look justified. However, if you can defend random rocket attacks against a civilian population by pointing to Israel’s various mistakes or heavy handedness in politics, you can also justify the Sept 11 attacks against the US. Where does it stop? If we are to be a civilized society we ALL have to live within the rule of law. Terrorism steps outside of the law and then justifies itself by crying Victim. And the American and European left are only too happy to root for today’s underdog flavor of the week. And, the next time you accuse Israel of being like Nazi Germany I hope you choke on your words.
    Alice Walker I am disappointed in you. Why are the women in Gaza any more deserving than the women in Israel. Why is necessary to support the Palestinian propaganda machine that allows Palestinian women and children to be victimized by their own people and then blames Israel. Why Gaza? What about Sudan, Darfur, Iraq, Afganistan, Turkey, Saudia Arabia, the list is very long. I’ll stop here. And unsubscribe.

  • Robin Patt-Corner

    I’m glad you’re doing this and am pleased to be able to support you. It’s clear to me, and may it be clear to all one day, that dispossession isn’t a viable way to build a society, however disguised or enforced. Let’s help Israelis find another way, and Palestinians find a way to simply live.

  • rebecca kaminski

    This is a sad situation, however, the residents of Gaza have allowed such a disruptive few to assault Israel in blatant disregard of the people of Gaza. Gaza housed those who truly did not have their welfare as priority. I am Pro-Israel. I agree with Israel’s actions. I feel terrible for the innocent.

    Your letter is slanted/mistaken to define Israel’s retribution as ‘ruthless’. It was decisive. There are how many Muslim countries (28) and Israel has a tiny strip of dirt? And Israel must do what, allow such unacceptable behavior?

  • Arlene Garelick

    I love your heart, Alice Walker. And I love the heart of Code Pink.
    I have a very big heart as well. I don’t like violence at all.
    I am so sorry for the loss of your sister and I do understand how this made you feel. My heart breaks for all people who are forced to live in dangerous places, living daily in fear for their lives.
    Israelis are also people who deserve to live in peace. Yes, they finally had a big, over the top reaction to the life threatening missiles that had been lobbed at them for years, about which the world stood silent. When exactly is enough enough? What is your answer? I wish that Israel could just up and move elsewhere…..but where? Tell me a place where Jewish people are welcomed? Bless us every one.

  • http://oneplanet.blogspot.com Paul Siemering

    Dear Alice

    Thank you so much for this. I lost somebody I love very much last month, and even while experiencing deep grief, I too thought about the mothers in Afghanistan and Iraq, and what a horror it must be, magnifying my own 10, 100 times over. And then the stories and pictures from Gaza. Feeling other people’s pain and anguish was more intense as it was mixed with my own. Sometimes when I was crying it felt like I was crying for her- my dear friend- and for everyone else, all our victims, all at the same time.

    love and solidarity

    paul

  • dougie T

    Add my name to the list of people who wish to go to Gaza, to witness. To let Gazans know the world has not forgotten. To let Israel know, we watch and we pray and we hope. Money is tight, but the time is more now than ever. Please let me know if there are any openings on any upcoming expeditions to Gaza. Peace, and blessings … Doug Tickner

  • Marie Tonks

    Lysianthus, and others like her ought to get informed about what is going on in Palestine and Israel rather than spewing venomous prejudice. While the use of puny rockets in random attacks against Israel is reprehensible, it pales into insignificance next to the actions of Israel against Palestinians. Israel uses state of the art bombs, tanks and artillery against men women and children. The roar of Israeli jets is a constant in the lives of Palestinians, even when no fighting is on. Don’t their children deserve to live secure lives, free of anxiety? When one adds to this the steady dispossession of their lands (just look at the available maps of the growth of Israel) and obstruction of their livelihoods, it’s little wonder so many Palestinians are angry and alienated. Injustice drives people to reckless acts; if Israel wants peace, it must offer some semblance of justice to people whom it has tiurned into caged and hopeless refugees.

  • Louisa Aronow

    Dear Alice
    Thanks you so much for your thoughtful words!
    The Code Pinkers of Ukiah are planning a fundraiser for the Gaza Delegation on March 8th, 5 pm, at the Bluebird Cafe.
    Is there any chance that you could come and talk about the trip?
    Please let us know ASAP

    MUCH love
    Louisa
    midnite@pacific.net

  • Barbra Apfelbaum

    Dear Alice, I was so moved by your letter and to know that you are honoring the memory of your sister with a life-affirming trip to support the people of Gaza. As an American Jew and also an Israeli citizen, it heartens me to know that an activist of your stature is taking such a public stand to oppose the militarism of the Israeli government and to support the people of Gaza. It gives me hope that maybe, maybe, those of here in the United States who want to see a just resolution to the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians will gain enough strength to turn around the short-sighted policy towards Israel which so many in Congress and inside the American Jewish community support. Thank you for your eloquence, your love, your courage!

  • dave johnston

    thank you Alice, and CODE P, for your heart. thanks for supporting the people of Gaza.

    peace, dave

  • http://susanrosenthal.com Susan Rosenthal

    Israel could stop to the rockets being fired from Gaza by ending the siege of Gaza. This it refuses to do.

    As long as Israel tries to crush the Palestinians, they will fight back with every means at their disposal, and no Israeli will be safe.

    No matter how patient or conciliatory the Palestinians have been, Israel continues to take away their land. There comes a time when people will choose to die on their feet than to live on their knees.

    Hamas fires rockets into Israel for the same reason that Palestinian children throw stones at Israeli soldiers and slaves spit in the soup of their masters — they refuse to submit to their oppressors.

    The only way to secure the safety of everyone in the region is to replace the Jewish state with a democratic, secular state that guarantees the same rights to ALL of its residents.

    Support the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel: http://usacbi.wordpress.com/

  • abdo a soliman

    thanks allic and media and all the fellow to the left , not the left over. I have been facing this parody for 30 years, that is progressive people who support just struggle , peaceful or armed every wear except in Palestine! Israel deserve peace in its 1947 border according to the UN demarcation decision,
    (http://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/1949_Armistice_Agreements)
    The rest of mandate palestine belong to palestinian, now it is occupied land and people who live their are armed occupied settlers and fare from peaceful civilian. Ethnic cleansing occupation and changing demography is war crimes and Israel committed all this crimes constantly since the its birth.

  • http://bonbonloverr.blogspot.com/2009/02/alice-walker-on-gaza.html Bonbonloverr: Alice Walker on Gaza

    [...] nearly lost, tenderness remains, or could. We can offer what we are.Alice WalkerFebruary 19, 2009[Source] Posted by bonbon lover at 10:17 PM Labels: Alice Walker, art, Gaza, [...]

  • http://www.contactemailform.com HTML Forms

    Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!

    - John

  • http://www.anartistinme.com/ Tabetha Wessel

    Blogging like you do is such an art and you obviously have that skill here – I don’t but I did find this that made me smile so maybe I can return the favour by making you smile too?
    Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield. :)

  • Audrey Manier

    Quite a beautiful website. I recently built mine and i was looking for some ideas and your website gave me some. May i ask you whether you developed the website by yourself?

    Thank you

  • http://www.celebitchy.com/54227/gwyneth_paltrow_says_she_went_to_barcelona_with_just_a_backpack_and_train_money Nilda Cragar

    This brightend my day so can I brighten yours?

    Old soldiers never die. Young ones do.

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  • http://www.affectivecommunications.com Faustina Rastorfer

    I have been checking out some of your posts and it’s nice stuff. I will make sure to bookmark your site.

  • http://www.douban.com Christen Donnerberg

    I do love the manner in which you have framed this specific matter and it does offer us some fodder for consideration. However, from everything that I have personally seen, I simply just hope when other feed-back pile on that people continue to be on point and in no way embark upon a tirade regarding some other news of the day. Still, thank you for this superb point and although I can not necessarily go along with this in totality, I value the standpoint.

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