Adonis Diaries

Archive for December 23rd, 2020

Author of The Color Purple Not invited over Israel comments?

Posted on December 27, 2016

Alice Walker disinvited from University of Michigan over ‘Israel comments’

Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Thu, 08/15/2013

World-renowned American author Alice Walker has been disinvited from giving a speech at the University of Michigan because a donor objects to her views on Israel, the agent negotiating the contract was told.

Walker, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Color Purpleposted on her blog an excerpt of a letter from the agent informing her that the invitation to keynote the 50th anniversary celebration of the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan had been withdrawn.

The agent wrote:

I’m saddened to write this because I’m a proponent of free speech and have been brought up to allow everyone to have their say. But I also realize that there are other considerations that institutions are faced with.

This afternoon I was contacted by the University of Michigan instructing me to withdraw their invitation due to the removal of funding from the donors, because of their interpretation of Ms. Walker’s comments regarding Israel.

They are Not willing to fund this program and the university/Women’s center do not have the resources to finance this on their own.

They are deeply regretful but I wanted to let you know immediately either way. I hope you can appreciate the fact that I’m uncomfortable even having to send this email in the first place. Hopefully we can work together again down the road. Thanks for understanding. I wish things had turned out differently

110617-alice-walker.jpg

Alice Walker speaks in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

(Lazar Simeonov / TEDxRamallah)

Calling the withdrawn invitation “Censorship by Purse String,” Walker wrote:

“Such behavior, as evidenced by the donors, teaches us our weakness, which should eventually (and soon) show us our strength: women must be in control of our own finances. Not just in the family, but in the schools, work force, and everywhere else. Until we control this part of our lives, our very choices, in any and every area, can be denied us.”

Walker is listed as one of the speakers represented by the American Program Bureau agency.

Alice Walker not “optimum choice”

Gloria D. Thomasdirector of the Center for the Education of Women, acknowledged that Walker had been disinvited, but said that the matter was a “misunderstanding.”

In an email to The Electronic Intifada, Thomas wrote:

The [Walker’s] blog was a result of an unfortunate misunderstanding. As director of the Center for the Education of Women (CEW), I decided to withdraw our invitation because I didn’t think Ms. Walker would be our optimum choice for our 50th anniversary.

Our 50th anniversary funding is assured. All donations, for this and other events, are accepted with no provisos or prohibitions regarding free speech.

In fact, in a conversation with one of Ms. Walker’s friends/representatives, I indicated that I would be willing to speak with other units around campus to serve as a possible co-sponsor for a lecture by Ms. Walker in the near future.

Asked if a speaker had been chosen to replace Walker, Thomas wrote, “No contract has been signed yet. This information will be made available on our website once the contract is confirmed.”

Walker: supporter of Palestinian rights

In recent years, Walker has become increasingly outspoken in her support of Palestinian rights, sometimes likening Israel’s abuses to the Jim Crow racist system she grew up with in the southern United States.

Walker has written about her visit to Gaza, and participated in the June 2011 solidarity flotilla that attempted to reach the territory besieged by Israel, which led to her being demonized by the Israeli army.

Her position on boycott has also been deliberately distorted by Israeli media.

Walker has campaigned for other artists, most recently Alicia Keys, to respect the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

In her letter to Keys, Walker wrote:

I have written over the years that explain why a cultural boycott of Israel and Israeli institutions (not individuals) is the only option left to artists who cannot bear the unconscionable harm Israel inflicts every day on the people of Palestine, whose major “crime” is that they exist in their own land, land that Israel wants to control as its own.

Could Walker, one of the most celebrated figures in American letters, now be paying the price of refusing to be silent about Palestine?

Is the United Nation Indispensable?

Posted on October 30, 2009

We have UN “peacekeeping forces” on our Lebanese border with Israel since the July 2006 war that lasted 33 days

This savage pre-emptive war ended with a major debacle of the Israeli troops and a definite political defeat of Israel’s expansionist strategies and pre-emptive war policies.

This peace keeping force is not really meant to keep peace and could not do this job if a resumption of war sets in.  Actually the UN main function is to be the intermediary with Lebanon army every time Israel tries to create an incursion or changing border limits…

The major benefit of UN peacekeeping forces is to interact with citizens and aid in small social and economic undertakings within the needed communities and providing seasonal jobs. 

The fact that citizens are exposed to different nationalities and daily interactions is more important than any kinds of power exhibition and posturing. 

One drawback is that many kids tend to like playing soldiers by wearing blue beret or blue helmets; in a way of emulating the UN military forces.

Many regions have witnessed exposures to UN peace keeping contingents with communication advantages that dwarf the petty enmities based on ethnic or religious conflicts that are the wreckages of lasting historic ignorance and confinements.  Just providing multinational troops for separating armies is good enough a job to preserving and consolidating the UN institutions. 

Currently, the UN departments are focusing on environmental changes (the Copenhagen forum is awaited with great expectation this December), eliminating arms of mass destructions, reducing the nuclear arsenals, slowing down the proliferation of sub-munitions, biological and chemical arms, and prohibiting the usage of land mines, cluster shells, phosphoric bombs. 

After the fiasco of the pre-emptive war in Iraq and the occupation of this Nation for 8 long years, and the hopeless case of resolving the Afghan conflict by shear military intervention by US/Britain, it is becoming obvious that the UN will erect a solid wall against such unilateral pre-emptive endeavors. 

Major wars are practically at an end.  The main difficulty is to diplomatically preempt conflicts that may result in low level wars or civil wars that are more difficult to resolve when they starts than open wars. This is where the UN can dynamically extend helping hands as an honest third party broker to encourage the main parties to meet directly.

A not largely publicized endeavor is the efforts to re-integrate kid-soldiers in Africa militias into civilian societies: many families and communities refuse to accept their kid-soldiers within their mist for fear or disrupting the traditional way of life.

Many African States have recruited over 300,000 kids to play soldiers during the many civil wars and those kids would Not relinquish the man status they acquired during these horrible wars and the easy ways to rob and stead just by showing off with a Kalashnikov.

The UN divulged that military expenses have reached $ 1.5 trillion this year; an amount that would have made every inhabitant on our planet earth richer by 200 dollars. 

The US alone accounts for 48% of that total in world military budget. 

Most armies have reduced the number of their standing armies in order to invest the savings on more performing weapons in load power, reduced size, and accuracy to kill and maim. 

The US and Russia are negotiating the reduction on the number of warheads and ballistic missiles for the purpose of investing the savings on more performing and newer generations of warheads and missiles.  The US and Russia needed the UN as a world forum to misinform the world community on their intentions for greater peace and stability.

Civilian group actions are taking the lead over State governments in disseminating awareness on global problems and exercising beneficial pressures on the 199 State governments represented in the UN.  Former hegemonies of superpowers are making rooms to emerging economic and financial powers. 

The group of G20 (20 “richest” States as of their GNP) is meeting frequently and neighboring States are conglomerating into trade zones in South America and South-East Asia.

Slow changes in the re-organization of the UN and power distribution are taking place. 

Rotations of non-veto power States (I think around 9 in addition to the 5 veto members) are asked to represent the UN body in executive sessions. For example, Lebanon was voted in for two years after 53 years of absence.  This sharing in responsibilities is a great exposure for non-veto States to learn and get training on the UN administrative labyrinths.

The rights of the former five “superpowers” of US, Russia, China, France, and Britain to veto on major decrees related to wars or pre-emptive wars did not function well: superpowers did what they wanted to do anyway, if they could, regardless of the votes in the General Assembly.

Worse, the superpowers vetoed on petty matters that would have discouraged crimes against humanity and blatant apartheid policies.  The US caste the most number of vetoes in the history of the UN just to take Israel off the hook on the thousands of Israel’s behaviors and activities that went counter to the UN charter of safeguarding human dignities and rights. 

Veto rights to absolving crimes against humanity are not to be acceptable any more. 

After the world financial crash, the successive failures of direct wars to solving problems, and the exorbitant costs to waging wars and paying for wars’ aftermath in caring for refugees, displaced people, and reconstruction… a new political era is evolving.

The superpowers are now willing to permit the UN playing greater roles in resolving world problems.


adonis49

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