Sunday, March 15, 2009

Author Alice Walker Marked Women's Day by Touring Gaza with CodePink

Photos: AP/Hatem Moussa
Associated Press, March 11, 2009 - Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker says a catastrophe has befallen the Gaza Strip and that she hopes she and others can help President Barack Obama "see what we see."

Walker, the U.S. author best known for her novel The Color Purple, toured Gaza this week, including an area destroyed in Israel's recent war on the territory's Islamic militant Hamas rulers....

Walker, 65, said in an interview Tuesday that she saw widespread devastation.

"Lots and lots and lots of houses of just ordinary people have been completely and utterly destroyed, and people are living in the rubble," she said, speaking in the garden cafe of her Gaza City hotel. "Some of them are struggling in tents, and some are just sitting in what remains of their homes."

Walker said her decision to visit Gaza, along with members of the U.S. anti-war group Code Pink, was spurred by the recent death of an older sister. She said she felt a connection to Gazans who lost loved ones in the war.

"I wanted very much to be with them and to bear witness to what is happening to them, this horrible, catastrophic, terrible thing," she said....

Walker said she believes Americans have mostly been exposed to the Israeli narrative since the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 and know little about the plight of the Palestinians. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled their homes at the time.

"We were indoctrinated to the song in that film Exodus, you know, `This land belongs to us, this land is our land,' meaning the Israelis, the Jews, and for so long, we were told that nobody lived here, that it was a land without people, for a people without land," she said.

Walker said she hopes she and others can make Obama more aware of the plight of Gaza.

"Believing that he (Obama) is a decent person, and I do believe this, our job then is to help him see what we see, and then he can decide how he will behave and it's on his soul, it's not on my soul."....

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