Sunday, June 7, 2009

Alice Walker in Gaza

“Going to Gaza was our opportunity 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.” —Alice Walker
Marcy Newman's recent post shares a number of interesting things, among them these videos, about which she writes that Walker "compares the treatment of palestinians to african americans under legal jim crow segregation, which she fought against in the civil rights movement. the problem with this interview is that walker at once refuses to acknowledge palestinians’ right to armed resistance and is patronizing when she talks about the need for palestinians to take up non-violent resistance and at the same time when she is asked directly about the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement she does not commit to supporting that non-violent resistance strategy either."

I found her story of arguing with her husband--an increasingly ardent Zionist--to be poignant, and her desire to make connections between what she was seeing (despite this being her first trip to the region) and other historical oppressions (pre-Civil Rights South, Liberia, etc.).

If you see only one part, watch the final part, in which Walker gets revved up. Juxtapose that to the tone of the first part; notice, too, in the last part, the sound of birds, and childrens' voices in the distance.


MJFrost said...

I am an ardent admirer of Ms. Walker; she is a thoughtful and sensitive soul. And these three short clips show the effect firsthand experience of the Palestinian plight has on a thoughtful, sensitive soul.

The first two clips were obviously filmed before she entered Gaza. Her assessment of the Palestinian plight is caring—even loving—yet slightly detached from the suffering of the Palestinians…not quite empathetic.

The third clip was filmed after she experienced Gaza and the Palestinian suffering firsthand. There is a marked difference in her response. That difference is empathy, real empathy. Her experience has changed her.

Thank you for sharing these clips. These short clips are more informative than years of mass-media news stories.

Philip Metres said...

Exactly, MJ. Thanks for your post.