Alice Walker speaks in the occupied
West Bank city of Ramallah.
Because I have studied Arabic for a long time, people sometimes ask me for my analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I usually let others steer the conversation, not because I have no ideas or opinions, but because sometimes I have little to say. I recently read Alice Walker’s book The Cushion in the Road (2013). These quotes regarding the situation in Israel / Palestine resonated with me:
“I think one reason it is so hard for people to deal with the Palestine/Israel issue is that so much of it is unbelievable. Even when you’re standing there, in the middle of it, the mind has to struggle to grasp what is happening. What has been done for the past sixty-odd years, and what is being done now. Just as my niece finds it impossible to imagine what a segregated American South felt like, I find it hard to believe Israelis assume they can live through generations of brutally oppressing the people whose lands they occupy. The greatest, most obvious expression of their intent to do this is THE WALL.” – p.305 and here
“There is, finally, a sense of overwhelm, trying to bring comfort to someone whose sleeping child has been killed and buried, a few weeks ago, up to her neck in rubble; or a mother who has lost fifteen members of her family, all her children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters, her husband. What does one say to people whose families came out of their shelled houses waving white flags of surrender only to be shot down anyway? To mothers whose children were, at this moment, playing in the white phosphorous laden rubble that, after 22 days of bombing, is everywhere in Gaza? White phosphorus, once on the skin, never stops burning. There is really nothing to say. Nothing to say to those who, back home in America, don’t want to hear the news. Nothing to do, finally, but dance.” – p. 335 and here
As Alice Walker says, “Hard times require furious dancing.”