Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Palfest Facepalm

So, the Palestinian Literature Festival, or Palfest, was scheduled to run May 5 to 9 in Gaza. Good. This is good. It's a travelling festival of Literature focusing on Palestinian issues. It also seems to be quite insistent on pushing the idea of cultural and academic boycotts of Israel. The festival has been running since 2008, apparently. It has been trying to get into the Gaza strip since then. This year became the big year when they were able to do that. It also seems to be quite insistent on pushing the idea of cultural and academic boycotts of Israel.  It took a while to get the required permits to go into Gaza from Egypt, to begin with. It has been reported today, via twitter by folks that were at the event, and the event organizers themselves that, low and behold, the event was shut down by Gaza police. Interesting indeed. From @Palfest:
We've been shut down by the police. #palfestgaza 
Everyone has left the event. Police were aggressive. We're staying together, have put as many people on the bus as possible. 
Everyone back at the hotel - will carry on here. Probably wont talk about books right now, though. 
Correction: The final #PalFestGaza was shut down by Gaza Police and the armed policemen stood in the entrance and on the stairs of the venue
Hmmmmm. I do feel for Palestinians, I really do. But, when the biggest obstacles to putting on an event with the partial motive of showing how oppressed Palestinians are by Israel, and to point out why Israel should be boycotted, are from Hamas, who governs over Gaza, and Egypt, who are Arab allies, then something isn't quite right. If it were up to me, I would be changing the goals to boycotting Hamas in a hurry. Hopefully, the next Palfest will focus on ALL issues that affect Palestinians beyond just looking at Israel. Palestinians deserve freedom from oppression, including oppression from groups like Hamas. Israel is not the only source of pain and heartache for Palestinians. Too often it is their own neighbours, fellow Arabs and fellow Muslims that add to the overall problem. It's time to look at the big picture, people. 

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