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Published: Tue Nov 21 2023
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Against Silence: A Collective Statement toward Peace

      I am therefore
      they point their rifles at me.
      Out of their eyes and fingertips, I come gushing.
 
  
          —from “Fear” by Maya Abu-Alhayyat, translated from the Arabic by Fady Joudah

  
We, the masthead of AGNI, condemn the mass killing and further displacement of Palestinians in the wake of Hamas’s October 7th, 2023, attacks. The Israeli military—with the support of the U.S. government—has bombarded Palestinian civilians relentlessly, in violation of international law, and deprived Palestinians of food, water, fuel, and electricity. We join the United Nations in calling for an immediate ceasefire. We call, too, for political engagement at home, insisting that our elected officials do everything in their power to stop further bloodshed. 

As we mourn the untold thousands of Palestinian civilians, more than a third of them children, killed by the Israeli military, we mourn as well the Israeli civilians killed by Hamas and grieve for the missing and murdered Israeli hostages. We refuse any response to their deaths that justifies violence with more violence.

The act of witness represents a vital tenet of our mission. In response to the events of October 7th and onward, some literary organizations and publishers have limited or blocked writers who speak in support of Palestinian lives. AGNI denounces this censorship. Because we work to “bring our readers into the living moment, not as tourists, but as engaged participants,” we believe that Palestinians need space to speak directly, whether from siege in Palestine or in diaspora. So too do others who bear witness to the ongoing settler-colonial violence in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, including the Israelis and diaspora Jews being silenced for their insistence on peace.

Standing against the scourge of bigotry, whether anti-Arabism, anti-Semitism, or Islamophobia, we add our collective voice to the many engaged in this protest: 

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