“Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters the Horror in Rwanda, Eastern Congo, and Palestine/Israel” by Alice Walker— Who Needs Alice Walker?

overcoming speechlessness

Walker, Alice. “Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters the Horror in Rwanda, Eastern Congo, and Palestine/Israel”, Seven Stories Press, 2010.

Who Needs Alice Walker?

Amos Lassen

Alice Walker once seemed to have it all. She was a respected writer and winner of a Pulitzer Prize but lately and by that I mean in the last twenty years, she has used her fame to lash out against what she calls injustices when in effect, she does not have any idea of what she is talking about. And this is how she will be remembered—as a woman who used her well-earned famer as a writer to speak out about issues that do not affect her directly and of which she has no background. Even more interesting is that she has become a black anti-Semite and espouses hate at every opportunity—so much so, that her own daughter is no longer speaking to her.

In 2006, Alice Walker, while working with Women for Women International, visited Rwanda and the eastern Congo to witness the aftermath of the genocide in Kigali. Invited by Code Pink, an antiwar group working to end the Iraq War, Walker traveled to Palestine/Israel three years later to view what she calls the devastation on the Gaza Strip. Here is her testimony. I am only concerned with what she has to say about Israel and it is clear to me that she has gone the way of two other misguided and self-promoting female “scholars”, Sarah Schulman and Judith Butler. To even make this more interesting, all three of these women are out lesbians who take the side of Palestine, a place where their sexual orientation would not allow them to remain alive for long. But hey, both talk and sex are cheap these days.

Walker, so the blurb says, bears “witness to the depravity and cruelty, she presents the stories of the individuals who crossed her path and shared their tales of suffering and courage. Part of what has happened to human beings over the last century, she believes, is that we have been rendered speechless by unusually barbaric behavior that devalues human life. We have no words to describe what we witness. Self-imposed silence has slowed our response to the plight of those who most need us, often women and children, but also men of conscience who resist evil but are outnumbered by those around them who have fallen victim to a belief in weapons, male or ethnic dominance, and greed.” These are pretty words if you speak “Walkerese”.

Walker writes that she traveled to the Gaza Strip in 2009 to witness the suffering caused by the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Here, she TELLS STORIES of women and children brutalized by war. (Capitalization intentional and the word “stories” here is important).She recalls (which is not the same as remembering) “visiting villages reduced to rubble, listening to women mourn the death of their children, sharing modest meals, and sharing stories of her own struggles growing up in the South, the U.S. civil rights movement, and learning the importance of connections to friends and family.” (She does not mention that she is a lesbian here because f she had she probably would have been escorted out of the area). Walker attempts to link “modern-day atrocities to older cruelties, including the Holocaust and the Trail of Tears. She claims to have found resilience in the midst of atrocities, and she “uses her own voice, as poet and activist, to speak out against injustices in the world’s trouble spots.” What she forgets is the history of the Jewish people and the state of Israel as well as the constant bombardment and aggression from the Arab countries. When did she become so knowledgeable about the Middle East? The truth be known that she is not knowledgeable at all about it and much of what she says is based about warped thinking and influence from others.

What an unfortunate fate to befall a writer who has shown such promise. I have no idea how or why she has become the hate monger that she has become but I do wish she would shut up. It is also interesting that there was a time that publishing houses would fight to publish Walker and now she is published by a minor house.

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