April 13, 2024

Pakistan-origin intellectuals protest pro-Israel speaker’s invitation at Karachi Literature Competition amid Gaza tensions

ISLAMABAD: A gaggle of Pakistan-origin lecturers, authors, activists, college students, and professionals have written an open letter to the Karachi Literature Competition (KLF), criticizing its determination to ask Ronya Othmann, a pro-Israel writer and poet based mostly in Germany, as one of many audio system at its upcoming occasion this month.

KLF yearly celebrates literature, bringing collectively writers, critics and intellectuals from Pakistan and world wide. It options quite a lot of actions together with readings, discussions, e book launches and signings.

The pageant goals to foster a love for literature, promote literary and cultural actions, and encourage dialogue on vital social, political, and cultural points.

Nevertheless, its administration’s determination to ask Othmann didn’t go down effectively with various individuals, not solely due to her help for Israel but in addition on account of her controversial feedback and positions on points associated to Islam and Muslims.

“We, the undersigned, write as involved Pakistanis to precise our deep alarm and outrage on the Karachi Literature Competition’s determination to ask Ronya Othmann as a speaker for its 2024 session,” the letter introduced on the outset. “Othmann is a author based mostly in Germany, who has taken Zionist and Islamophobic positions and took part in panels and discussions geared toward discrediting pro-Palestinian protests in Germany as anti-semitic and Islamist.”

It famous that Othmann and her fellow panelist maintained throughout a dialogue organized by the German newspaper TAZ final November that Muslim immigrants together with Palestinians had been “jihadists” and “terrorists” for expressing sympathy with Palestinian resistance to Israel’s 75 years of occupation.

At one level, she likened Hamas to Daesh, making unsubstantiated claims about its origins and declaring that writers of coloration difficult Israel’s relentless bombardment of Gaza weren’t solely Hamas apologists but in addition “declaring self-defense to be mass homicide and the sufferer to be a bloodthirsty perpetrator.”

“As Pakistanis, we discover KLF’s selection of Othmann as a speaker unacceptable — certainly, obscene — and particularly so on condition that the Israeli genocide of Palestinians is in its sixth month, with over 28,000 Palestinians lifeless, greater than 10,000 of them kids,” the letter stated. “Israel has intentionally killed poets and lecturers, docs and first responders. As a part of its genocidal marketing campaign it has destroyed all important infrastructure in Gaza, together with each single college.”

“The Worldwide Court docket of Justice, in its provisional measures order, has declared that the South African case charging Israel with genocide has validity,” it added. “It’s mindboggling that at this essential second in historical past when individuals of conscience all around the world are denouncing Israel, KLF has chosen to ask and platform a Zionist and genocide apologist.”

The open letter stated it acknowledged KLF’s significance as an area for literary and mental discourse in a deeply polarized nation. Nevertheless, it famous it was not potential to stay impartial within the face of Israel’s ongoing navy marketing campaign which had led to the loss of life of so many Palestinians.

KLF has eliminated Othmann’s identify from the checklist of audio system on its web site.

Israel’s ongoing navy onslaught in Gaza, which started in October final 12 months, has been extensively unpopular in Pakistan and has additionally drawn criticism from the worldwide neighborhood.

That is additionally in step with Pakistan’s longstanding help for the Palestinian trigger and its opposition to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.