Author Alice Walker to Take Part in Gaza Flotilla, Despite U.S. Warning

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The celebrated poet and novelist Alice Walker has reiterated her intent to participate in the upcoming flotilla to Gaza, despite a warning by the United States State Department, which advises citizens against joining the attempt to break Israel's naval blockade of the Strip.

The author of 'The Color Purple' wrote a special piece for CNN on Tuesday outlining her plan to carry letters to the people of Gaza on board the Audacity of Hope, boat.

We will be carrying letters expressing solidarity and love. That is all its cargo will consist of," Walker wrote. "If the Israeli military attacks us, it will be as if they attacked the mailman. This should go down hilariously in the annals of history."

"But if they insist on attacking us, wounding us, even murdering us, as they did some of the activists in the last flotilla, Freedom Flotilla I, what is to be done? she asks.

U.S. writer Alice Walker talks with Palestinian women during a visit to Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip on March 8, 2009.Credit: AP

Her letter goes on to talk about the brave followers of Ghandi, and the Jewish civil rights activists who stood side by side with blacks in America's South and places her current mission, within this context.

She concludes by rebuking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policies, and those in the U.S. that back them.

"What of the children of Palestine, who were ignored in our President's latest speech on Israel and Palestine, and whose impoverished, terrorized, segregated existence was mocked by the standing ovations recently given in the U.S. Congress to the prime minister of Israel?

The author visited Gaza in 2009, touring areas destroyed in Israel's war with the Strip's Hamas rulers earlier that year.

In an interview she gave after her trip, Walker said her decision to visit Gaza, along with members of the U.S. anti-war group Code Pink, was spurred by the recent death of an older sister.

She said she felt a connection to Gazans who lost loved ones in the war. "I wanted very much to be with them and to bear witness to what is happening to them, this horrible, catastrophic, terrible thing," she said.