Against the Tourin Book Fair

The situation of the Palestinian population isgetting worse day by day. From the blockade/embargo against the Gazastrip and the land-and-air raids performed by the Israeli army in allthe Palestinian occupied territories to the building of the ApartheidWall and the living conditions of the refugees and the Palestinianresidents in Israel, the Israeli authorities are persistentlycommitting war crimes and violations of the civil rights, ignoringdozens of UN resolutions and forcing millions to live in disastrousconditions.
Every day, at every check-point, the soldiers humiliateelderly people, women and children, robbing the Palestinians of theirdaily life and of the time necessary to work, study, participate inpolitics, plan their future. Scarcity and even sheer lack of food andfuel produce a situation of intolerable poverty, while the sanitaryconditions in the refugee camps remain appalling.
What Israel isperforming is literally a politicide – the deliberate attempt atdestroying the social and political subjectivity, also by means ofepisodic ethnic cleansing – against the dismembered, humiliated,oppressed and occupied Palestinian people. All forms of organization,resistance, dissent and demonstration are forbidden for Palestinians.Even the most peaceful protest causes the Israeli army to employtear-gas or to shoot the crowd, while every militant action is punishedby means of mass retaliation. This is the macabre and racistsbookkeeping of the XXI century wars: for each single Israeli dead orprisoner, hundreds of Palestinians and Lebanese are killed or arrested.

Inthis context of brutal misuse of power, the international institutionsremain silent, the western press censors and minimizes, the Europeanand North American governments stipulate and tighten economic,diplomatic and military alliances with the Israeli government. Even theuse of non-conventional weapons and the devastation caused by the waragainst Lebanon in 2006 did not prevent all the G8 governments fromproclaiming their faithfulness to their best ally in Middle East.
Withthe same logic, the Italian institutions are openly aligning themselveswith Israel at all levels: from the President of the Republic to thegovernments of the recent years, from the local institutions to themilitary and commercial ones, the strategic alliance with Israel isnever discussed, in spite of the bloodshed the Palestinians mustendure. From Silvio Berlusconi to Walter Veltroni, from SergioChiamparino to Giuliano Ferrara, from Gianfranco Fini to the mostinfluential television and press journalists, nobody avoids paying theritual homage of unconditional solidarity with the politics of thegreat ally, and the most conformist intellectuals are no exception. Aradiant Berlusconi announced right after his election success that thefirst diplomatic journey of the new government will take place inIsrael.

As a further insult, this year − which marks thesixtieth anniversary of the 1948 war and which the Palestinians live asa symbol of mourning, both in their memory and in their present lives −one of the biggest cultural initiatives in Europe, the TurinInternational Book Fair, has chosen to invite Israel as the “guest ofhonour”, like the Paris Book Fair. In spite of the plea, signed byinternational writers and intellectuals from all over the world − amongthem Palestinians and Israeli − for the cancellation of such invitationand in spite of their demand that it be replaced with a dedication to ajust peace, the City of Turin has decided to endorse the invitation.
Thisis a clear choice. It is a political choice, a one-sided choice: notonly in the light of what is currently happening in Palestine, but alsobecause the memory of 1948 is treated as a “celebration” in spite ofthe Nakbah, the “catastrophe” of the Palestinians. 850,000 refugees onthe run, 531 villages razed to the ground, tens of thousands of dead, adreadful legacy of blood and violence. Countless appalled people, fromthe Arab society and from the whole world, are asking: what is there tocelebrate, to make a “showcase” of, what is there to be happy about?

Inour world of global and permanent war, also culture is militarized, andwriters must put on their helmet too: such is the price asked by theinstitutions of the war-waging countries in exchange for a career, fameand money. For those who have neither fame nor money, for the landlessand without peace, where is hospitality? Where is honour? For thememory of the losers, the persecuted and oppressed, in Palestine aselsewhere, what high-backed chairs have been prepared?
Once againit will be up to the social and internationalist movements, thecitizens, the workers and the students, also in response to the pleascoming in from Palestine, to side with those who bear the brunt of thebarbarous wars and the acts of infamy of the global capitalistdomination. The time has come to surge out onto the streets of Turinand reach with our protest the Lingotto, the seat of the Book Fair, inorder to demand:
– the end of the Israeli embargo and the US and EU sanctions against the Gaza strip;
– the end of the military occupation of the territories;
– that the Apartheid Wall be destroyed;
– that the dignity and the rights of the Palestinians living within the Israeli borders be respected ;
– the right to return for all refugees;
– that all Palestinian political prisoners be set free.

Whilewe denounce the authoritarian and militarist politics of Israel and thedifficulties that, in that country, plague whomever shares a politicalculture or a historical memory different from the official one, wedemonstrate for:
– the end of the diplomatic, economic and military alliance between Italy and Israel;
– cultural policies which take into due account the memory and the reasons of the oppressed and criticize the oppressors;
– a full political freedom, in Israel, for the movements against the war and the occupation;
– a full and effective lack of restrictions on historic research within Israeli universities;
– the release of all Israelis who refused to report for military service.

ISRAEL IS NOT A GUEST OF HONOUR!
FREE PALESTINE!

MEETING POINT:
CORSO MARCONI, TURIN
10TH MAY 2008
H 14:00

ASSEMBLEA FREE PALESTINE – TORINO

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