New Delhi: A group of over 100 literary translators signed a statement in solidarity with the people of Gaza on November13, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and the end to the violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
The statement, organised by translators Anna Gunin and Maya Chhabra, addressed the connection translators had with writers from Gaza, despite the strip being “cut off from the rest of the world by a constant blockade since 2007.”
“The Palestinians who live [in Gaza] cannot leave without exit permits from Israel or Egypt,” the statement said. “Gaza’s airspace and sea border are both controlled by Israel. Yet writers from Gaza continue to reach out to tell the world what is happening to them. Sometimes they are killed just days or weeks after their words reach us.”
It said the translators watch “in horror as Israeli bombs fall on Gaza,” citing the current death toll in the area, which now stands at 11,200 people.
“Faced with this carnage, the undersigned literary translators feel morally compelled to oppose the devaluation of Palestinian civilian lives and to call for a ceasefire,” the statement said.
It also said the urgency does not apply only to Gaza, but the West Bank as well. Since Oct. 7, Israeli forces have killed more than 100 Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which is not controlled by Hamas.
“Soldiers abuse detainees; extremist settlers attack Palestinian civilians with impunity,” the statement said. “An equitable resolution that ends the occupation and enables Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace and freedom seems as far away as ever.”
Despite the discouragement felt by Israel’s actions, the statement said the group believes peace is possible and that it starts with protecting civilians.
“We insist that Palestinian lives have equal value and that civilians must be protected at all times,” it said.
Of the translators who signed the statement included International Booker Prize winners Jennifer Croft, Daisy Rockwell and Deborah Smith, as well as Susan Bernofsky and Antonia Lloyd-Jones.
The statement ended by asking other translators and professionals in the field to join them in calling for an immediate ceasefire and lifting of the blockade in Gaza, the release of Israeli hostages and “a just peace that ends the current domination of Palestinian life by the Israeli military occupation, and provides for the freedom, security, and civil and political rights of both peoples.”
The full list of signatories, according to LitHub, are:
Kareem James Abu-Zeid
Nguyễn An Lý
Kimrey Anna Batts
Hope Campbell Gustafson
Juliet Winters Carpenter
Musharraf Ali Farooqi
Claudia Gómes Oliveira
Louise Heal Kawai
Anne Marie Jackson
Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp
Jenny Jisun Kim
Janet Elizabeth Lee
Sophia Rebecca Lewis
Bruna Dantas Lobato
Kathleen Maris Paltrineri
Louise Rogers Lalaurie
Ginny Tapley Takemori
Katherine Van de Vate
Emily Yae Won