So here good folks
"The end of apartheid stands as one of the crowning accomplishments of the past century, but we would not have succeeded without the help of international pressure-- in particular the divestment movement of the 1980s. Over the past six months, a similar movement has taken shape, this time aiming at an end to the Israeli occupation". Desmond Tutu
“Even after fifty years of living the Palestinian exile I still find myself astonished at the lengths to which official Israel and its supporters will go to suppress the fact that a half century has gone by without Israeli restitution, recognition, or acknowledgment of Palestinian human rights and without, as the facts undoubtedly show, connecting that suspension of rights to Israel’s official policies. … the Palestinian Nakba is characterized as a semi-fictional event … caused by no one in particular.”
Edward Said, commenting on the “Israel at 50” celebrations in the US in 1998
The creation of the state of Israel almost 60 years ago dispossessed and uprooted hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and lands. With their peaceful lives ruined, society fragmented, possessions pillaged and hope for freedom and nationhood dashed, Palestinian refugees held on to their dream of return, and Palestinians everywhere nourished their aspiration for freedom, dignified living, and becoming whole again.
There is no reason to celebrate! Israel at 60 is a state that is still denying Palestinian refugees their UN-sanctioned rights, simply because they are “non-Jews.” It is still illegally occupying Palestinian and other Arab lands, in violation of numerous UN resolutions. It is still persistently and grossly breaching international law and infringing fundamental human rights with impunity afforded to it through munificent US and European economic, diplomatic and political support. It is still treating its own Palestinian citizens with institutionalized discrimination.
In short, celebrating “Israel at 60” is tantamount to dancing on Palestinian graves to the haunting tune of lingering dispossession and multi-faceted injustice.
There is absolutely no reason to celebrate! But there are myriad reasons to reflect, to engage, to work towards peace and justice.
Signatories:Mahmoud Darwish (poet, Palestine),
John Berger (artist/author, UK),
Augusto Boal (director/writer, Brazil),
Ella Shohat (author, USA/Israel),
Roger Waters (musician, UK),
Mr. Roger Waters
31 Ruvigny Gardens
London SW15 1JR, England
7 March 2006
Dear Mr. Waters,
The Palestinian arts community received in disbelief the news of your upcoming performance in Tel Aviv in June, at a time when Israel continues unabated with its colonial and apartheid designs to further dispossess, oppress and ultimately ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their homeland. We strongly urge you to cancel your plans to perform in Israel until the time comes when it ends its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and respects the relevant precepts of international law concerning Palestinian rights to freedom, self-determination and equality.
This same Wall has grown substantially since. It now divides many more Palestinians from their livelihoods and vital health and educational services. The support it garners in Israeli society has also grown – close to 90% of all Israeli Jews support the Wall despite its devastating repercussions on Palestinians under occupation.
Furthermore, as you may know, Palestinian civil society has almost unanimously called upon international civil society to engage in acts and campaigns of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it fully complies with international law and recognizes the fundamental human rights of the people of Palestine. The Church of England, the US Presbyterian Church, a group of top British architects, among many other groups and institutions in the West, have all heeded the Palestinian distress call and considered applying effective pressure on Israel to promote peace and justice in our troubled land. Is it too much, then, to expect conscientious international artists to uphold the values of freedom, equality and justice for all?
Ironically, when you were invited last year to perform in the Palestine International Festival 2005, the theme of that festival was “Another BREAK in the Wall!” The following lyrics for a song which was to be performed by school children were inspired by your timeless song:
We don’t need no occupation
We don’t need no racist wall
No more siege and no more curfews
Soldiers leave us kids alone
Hey! Soldiers! Leave us kids alone!
All in all you’re just another brick in the wall
All in all we’ve just made another BREAK in the wall
These words still express our collective view of the Wall, of our oppressors, and are still inspired by you. Do they still mean the same to you?
We appeal to your moral compass, your record of standing up for principles of human dignity and equality. And we sincerely hope that you shall be another brick in the bridge to liberty and justice, not another concrete slab in Israel’s Wall of shame.
Full list here