Writer Alice Walker to Sail on Gaza Flotilla

The celebrated poet and novelist wrote a special piece for CNN, outlining her intention to bring letters to the people of Gaza 'expressing solidarity and love.'

PARIS - The U.S. State Department has warned its citizens against going ahead with plans to join the flotilla seeking to breach Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip later this month.

One traveler planning to ignore that advice is celebrated poet and novelist Alice Walker, who intends to join with other European and American activists when they set sail from the ports of some 22 countries.

Alice Walker in Gaza - AP - March 8, 2009

"Why am I going on the Freedom Flotilla II to Gaza? I ask myself this, even though the answer is: What else would I do?," Walker wrote, explaining her motives in an open letter to CNN and 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," she writes.

"That is all its cargo will consist of. 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.

Walker's letter goes on to discuss the brave "followers of Gandhi," and the "Jewish civil rights activists" who stood side by side with blacks in the South, and places her current "mission" within this context. She ends with a rebuke to both 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?"