The African Literature Association (ALA) has seen the madness happening in Gaza in the Middle East and decided that enough is enough. The organisation in its most recent ALA Resolutions and Executive Letters supports the Palestinian people who are currently suffering a hail of bombs and other non nice things that kill.
The statement, given in the spirit of the one against apartheid South Africa, supports the scholars of Palestine that cannot do academic work whilst their Israeli counterparts sit around twiddling their thumbs. It reads in part,
“It is resolved that the African Literature Association (ALA) endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. It is also resolved that the ALA supports the protected rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel-Palestine and in support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.”
So what is this African Literature Association you wonder? It describes itself as “is an independent non-profit professional society open to scholars, teachers and writers from every country. It exists primarily to facilitate the attempts of a world-wide audience to appreciate the efforts of African writers and artists.”
From my little googling it seems that a large part of the organisation’s activities lean towards the diaspora arm of African writers which is probably why I am just now hearing about it. Even with this the membership is African or Africa leaning so I have no choice but to accept them as “we are one” (either Marcus Garvey or that Westgate hashtag came up with it). And on this specific issue I am squarely with them.
Now back to the boycott, Mukoma Wa Ngugi who is a member of the ALA commented to ElectronicIntifada via email “The African literary tradition has been one in which writers have used their pens to speak out against injustice – so they wielded their pens against colonialism, neocolonialism and concomitant dictatorships and today against unequal globalization.”
So this kind of boycott makes perfect sense. If you want to support the Palestinian cause you too can join the ALA and boycott Israel academics.