Before Our Eyes

Here’s Alice Walker in the Guardian, via WashingtonPost Newsweek:

I want a grown-up attitude to Cuba, for instance, a country and people I love. I want an end to the war immediately, and I want the soldiers to be encouraged to destroy their weapons and drive themselves out of Iraq. I want the Israeli government to be made accountable for its behaviour to the Palestinians, and I want the people of the US to cease acting as if they don’t understand what is going on. But most of all I want someone with the confidence to talk to anyone, “enemy” or “friend”, and this Obama has shown he can do.

And here she is, in a longer version of the same article, on AlterNet:

I want a grown-up attitude toward Cuba, for instance, a country and a people I love; I want an end to the embargo that has harmed my friends and their children, children who, when I visit Cuba, trustingly turn their faces up for me to kiss. I agree with a teacher of mine, Howard Zinn, that war is as objectionable as cannibalism and slavery; it is beyond obsolete as a means of improving life. I want an end to the ongoing war immediately, and I want the soldiers to be encouraged to destroy their weapons and to drive themselves out of Iraq.

I want the Israeli government to be made accountable for its behavior towards the Palestinians, and I want the people of the United States to cease acting like they don’t understand what is going on. All colonization, all occupation, all repression basically looks the same, whoever is doing it. Here our heads cannot remain stuck in the sand; our future depends of our ability to study, to learn, to understand what is in the records and what is before our eyes. But most of all, I want someone with the self-confidence to talk to anyone, “enemy” or “friend,” and this Obama has shown he can do. It is difficult to understand how one could vote for a person who is afraid to sit and talk to another human being. When you vote, you are making someone a proxy for yourself; they are to speak when, and in places, you cannot. But if they find talking to someone else, who looks just like them, human, impossible, then what good is your vote?

So: what got left out here are the specific reasons why she wants ‘a grown-up attitude to Cuba’, why she wants an end to the war, and why she wants the Israelis, and the Americans, to stop what they are doing to the Palestinians, describing it (accurately) as colonization, occupation, and repression. She also says that she wants people to take their heads out of the sand and understand what is ‘before our eyes’. But you can’t understand something unless it’s brought before your eyes in the first place: something the edited piece does not do.

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