Poet Rupi Kaur has declined an invitation to the White House for Diwali, citing concerns about the Palestinian genocide
Canadian poet and illustrator Rupi Kaur has shared a statement on her X account, announcing her decision to decline an invitation from the White House in celebration of Diwali. In her statement, the renowned author of ‘Milk And Honey’ explained that she declined the invitation due to her concerns about the active involvement of the United States in what she described as the Palestinian “genocide.”
Kaur pointed out that the Palestinian death toll had tragically risen to 10,000 since Israel initiated its bombardment of the Gaza Strip. She further expressed her deep reservations, stating, “Today, the American government is not only providing financial support for the bombardment of Gaza, but they also continue to justify the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people, despite the destruction of numerous refugee camps, healthcare facilities, and places of worship. The United Nations, organizations like Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross, and a majority of countries have called for a humanitarian ceasefire, which is being rejected. The UN reports that 70% of the casualties are women and children. Israel’s use of phosphorus bombs, which Amnesty International has classified as a potential war crime, has also come to light. In addition, there has been documented footage on CNN of Israeli settlers forcibly evicting and occupying Palestinian homes in the West Bank.”
Kaur emphasized the importance of the community not remaining silent or compromising their principles for the sake of gaining a seat at the table. She asserted that the cost to human life is too high. She highlighted that some of her peers had privately expressed their concerns about the situation in Gaza but were unwilling to risk their livelihood or the opportunity to create change from within the system. Kaur stressed that being on the inside would not bring about a magical transformation and called for bravery in speaking out. She cautioned against being tokenized for photo opportunities and pointed out that the privilege lost by speaking up pales in comparison to the daily losses suffered by Palestinians due to the administration’s rejection of a ceasefire.
Kaur’s principled stance received widespread support on social media, with many Gazans expressing their gratitude for her actions. Prominent figures like Palestinian academic Refaat thanked her, and author Fatima Bhutto praised her courage and heartfelt solidarity.
I received an invite from the Biden administration for a Diwali event being held by the VP on nov 8. I decline any invitation from an institution that supports the collective punishment of a trapped civilian population—50% of whom are children. pic.twitter.com/J3V5om89Se
— rupi kaur (@rupikaur_) November 6, 2023
— Three-Eyed Raisin (@GulagJamun_) November 6, 2023
Academic poets loooove making fun of people like Rupi who are bringing younger + QTBIPOC folks into the poetry world out of jealousy & bitterness
Meanwhile, she has ten times the backbone, with the stakes of an infinitely larger platform, than most of y'all 🤡
THANK YOU RUPI! https://t.co/UV1o6TW0Hu
— George Abraham 🍉 جورج إبراهيم (@IntifadaBatata) November 6, 2023
This is principle, solidarity, and love in action. If only other writers, actors, “activists” and public figures from South Asia and the Middle East had Rupi’s courage and heart https://t.co/d9rjJ4VtLk
— fatima bhutto (@fbhutto) November 6, 2023
amazing to see rupi kaur has a spine that many many many of these alleged "poets" do not have… maybe miss "our backs tell stories no books have the spines to carry" was right!!! https://t.co/Xz1X6Y2COO
— L (@laurieurl) November 7, 2023