By Richard Lightbown
I didn’t know about Joy Harjo until she had crossed the picket line.
I didn’t know that a “human rights supporter” (her words) would dare to write “I didn’t know about the boycott [of Israel]”.
I didn’t think anyone associated with the struggle for universal human rights would be able to ignore a military assault on an urban area where 1.6 million people are trapped and unable to flee to safety when advanced technology weapons are targeted at them.
I didn’t think there were people so hypocritical that they could continue with a concert for the nation which has just killed more than 30 children in Gaza in “self-defence” and then write “I have always stood in support of human rights, and the Palestinian cause has always been close to my heart.”
“I didn’t know”. History has heard that excuse before. From the Germans who didn’t know what the Nazis were doing. Or the English that didn’t know that four million Irish were dying of starvation even as food was still being exported from the Emerald Isle. But it sounds particularly lame in the 21st century world of instant communication when the last Israeli full scale assault on Gaza was only a couple of weeks ago.
I didn’t know or I didn’t want to know?
How much longer can you not know? As you step on stage and hand your victory to the criminal oppressor and give succor to the people who said that Israel should flatten Gaza on top of its inhabitants, will you still not know?
Will you still lie to yourself like you did earlier today when you wrote “I admire and respect the scholars and artists who have backed the boycott. I stand with their principles [sic (or should it be sick?)].
But you can’t have it all ways you know. You can’t have your soul and the thirty pieces of silver. You can’t be all things to all people and be “in support of justice and compassion”. No you can’t; because supporting justice and compassion means opposing oppression and injustice. And you have just shown that you won’t oppose it. You’ve took the pieces of silver. You’ve just sold your soul and flaunted your lack of integrity to the whole world.
I didn’t know a Native American poet, musician and writer could ever show solidarity with an apartheid state, a terrorist state, a neo-colonial state and then claim to be doing so in support of justice and compassion. So what does that make me?
– Richard Lightbown contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.