Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Saramago, Pinter, et al, loud and clear

This letter, signed by Jose Saramago, Harold Pinter, Noam Chomsky, and John Berger, appeared July 21 buried in The Independent's letters page. A quick internet search on these authors' names shows the letter to have been printed in (as far as I can tell) Portuguese, Turkish, Spanish, Swedish, and Italian across Europe, Turkey, and South America, with almost no notice of it in English.

The latest chapter of the conflict between Israel and Palestine began when Israeli forces abducted two civilians, a doctor and his brother, from Gaza. An incident scarcely reported anywhere, except in the Turkish press. The following day the Palestinians took an Israeli soldier prisoner — and proposed a negotiated exchange against prisoners taken by the Israelis — there are approximately 10,000 in Israeli jails.

That this "kidnapping" was considered an outrage, whereas the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and the systematic appropriation of its natural resources — most particularly that of water — by the Israeli Defense (!) Forces is considered a regrettable but realistic fact of life, is typical of the double standards repeatedly employed by the West in face of what has befallen the Palestinians, on the land allotted to them by international agreements, during the last seventy years.

Today outrage follows outrage; makeshift missiles cross sophisticated ones. The latter usually find their target situated where the disinherited and crowded poor live, waiting for what was once called Justice. Both categories of missile rip bodies apart horribly — who but field commanders can forget this for a moment?

Each provocation and counter-provocation is contested and preached over. But the subsequent arguments, accusations and vows, all serve as a distraction in order to divert world attention from a long-term military, economic and geographic practice whose political aim is nothing less than the liquidation of the Palestinian nation.

This has to be said loud and clear for the practice, only half declared and often covert, is advancing fast these days, and, in our opinion, it must be unceasingly and eternally recognized for what it is and resisted.

John Berger
Noam Chomsky
Harold Pinter
José Saramago
Mieussy, France

The letter has since been endorsed by Tariq Ali, Eduardo Galeano, Naomi Klein, Arundhati Roy, Giuliana Sgrena, and Howard Zinn.
Post a Comment