- The Indo-Canadian said she’s “surprised this administration finds it acceptable to celebrate Diwali, when their support of the current atrocities against Palestinians represent the exact opposite of what this holiday means to many of us.”
Indo-Canadian poet Rupi Kaur has declined an invitation from the Biden administration for its backing of Israel as it continues a military offensive in Gaza. “I decline any invitation from an institution that supports the collective punishment of a trapped civilian population—50% of whom are children,” she wrote on X. She said she is “surprised this administration finds it acceptable to celebrate Diwali when their support of the current atrocities against Palestinians represent the exact opposite of what this holiday means to many of us.”
According to CNN, “more than 10,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its military offensive a month ago. Israel declared war on Hamas “after the Islamist militant group launched a brutal attack on Oct. 7, killing 1,400 people in Israel and kidnapping about 240 others.”
Kaur also explained the significance of Diwali to the Sikhs. “In the Sikh tradition, during the time of Diwali, our 6th guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, helped free 52 fellow political prisoners from unjust imprisonment. We call this day Bandi Chhor Divas. I have always used this day to reflect on what it means to fight for freedom against oppression.”
Further elaborating on the escalating situation in the region, she wrote that “the American government is not only funding the bombardment of Gaza, they continue to justify this genocide against Palestinians — regardless of how many refugee camps, health facilities, and places of worship are blown to bits.”
She implored the South Asian community “to hold this administration accountable.” As a Sikh woman, she said she “will not allow my likeness to be used in whitewashing this administration’s actions.”
The Nov. 8 Diwali event will be hosted by Vice President Kamala Harris. The White House has yet to comment on Kaur’s remarks.
Kaur went viral in 2015 for a photo series she made with her sister about menstruation. Her debut book “Milk and Honey,” which explores issues of sexual assault and violence, was first published in 2014. It was republished later, and became a No. 1 New York Times bestseller in 2017. It has sold more than 3 million copies., surpassing Homer’s “Odyssey” as the best-selling poetry of all time, according to Kaur’s website. It was one of the most banned books in schools during the first half of the 2022-23 school year, an April PEN America report revealed.
After the breakout success of “Milk and Honey,” she published “The Sun and Her Flowers (2017) and “Home Body” (2020), “both debuting at number one on bestseller lists across the world,” according to her website. “These collections have sold over 11 million copies and have been translated into over 43 languages.” Her debut book “Milk and Honey” has “surpassed” Homer’s “Odyssey” as the best-selling poetry of all time, the website added. She was also regarded as “writer of the decade” by the New Republic and recognized on the Forbes 30 under 30 list. In 2022, she released her fourth book, “Healing Through Words.”
(Top photo, Facebook)