Angela Davis among 250 figures supporting Dominican book fair boycott


The campaign calling for non-participation in the International Book Fair of Santo Domingo (FILSD), whose edition this year will be dedicated to the genocidal State of Israel, has gained momentum with the adhesion of more than 250 intellectuals, artists, men and women of letters, cultural workers and other sectors, from 28 countries to a strong declaration entitled, “We reject the racist persecution by the Dominican government and call for non-participation in the International Book Fair of Santo Domingo dedicated to Israel”. Two renowned writers, Puerto Rican Mayra Santos Febres and Dominican Angie Cruz, have signed the document and canceled their participation in the event organized by the Dominican government. Figures such as U.S. feminist Angela Davis, Dominican academic Silvio Torres Saillant and Israeli historian Ilan Pappé have also signed.

Israeli historian Ilan Pappé, known for his important works on ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people, issued a message in support of the solidarity and boycott campaign, stating that Israel “is a state that oppresses Palestinians wherever they are. It continues its inhumane siege of the Gaza Strip, uses its army and Jewish settlers to commit incremental genocide in the West Bank, and sustains an apartheid system within Israel itself against its own Palestinian citizens. The Palestinians do not have the power to stop these brutal policies themselves and need all the help they can get. Boycotting official Israeli cultural participation in fairs and events is a non-violent and honorable way to send Israel a tough message that such policies will not be tolerated by any person with a modicum of decency in them.”

Although they had endorsed the statement, Dominican writer Julio Cuevas and Chilean poet Raul Zurita subsequently withdrew their signatures.

“(I)t causes me deep conflict to support this FILSD 2023 in the Dominican Republic and I have decided to cancel my participation,” declared Mayra Santos Febres, rejecting the arbitrary arrest of Haitian writer Jhak Valcourt, the police siege of black activists and those of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic and the lack of participation in the FILSD of Haitian and Dominican writers working to improve relations between the two countries. “They allow me to see that there is no real willingness to entrench the spirit of free expression, debate and inclusion that always prevails at book fairs. Evading and silencing the discussion of these issues at FILSD 2023 seems to me a very violent action. I am not the one to tell the organizers of the FILSD what they should do, but I cannot validate this terrible omission,” said the Afro-Puerto Rican poet, who also noted her recent participation in the Centroamerica Cuenta festival in Santo Domingo in support of the Nicaraguan writer and persecuted politician Sergio Ramirez.

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