Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters the Horror in Rwanda, Eastern Congo, and Palestine/Israel

Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters the Horror in Rwanda, Eastern Congo, and Palestine/Israel

by Alice Walker


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781583229170
Publisher: Seven Stories Press
Publication date: 04/06/2010
Pages: 80
Product dimensions: 5.08(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.24(d)

About the Author

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, ALICE WALKER is the author of more than thirty books including The Color Purple and Sent by Earth. Her writings have been translated into more than two dozen languages. From her essays concerning the civil rights movement to her cries for intervention on the Gaza Strip, Walker continually and eloquently calls attention to ignored injustices around the world.


Mendocino, California

Date of Birth:

February 9, 1944

Place of Birth:

Eatonton, Georgia


B.A., Sarah Lawrence College, 1965; attended Spelman College, 1961-63

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Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters the Horror in Rwanda, Eastern Congo, and Palestine/Israel 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
-Eva- on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This is a very slim (too slim) volume about being able to speak about the atrocities that go on all over the world. After touching on the horrors of Rwanda and Eastern Congo, Walker turns her eyes to Gaza in order to reveal some of the stories of the people who live there. As she points out, these stories are not easy for Americans to come by and she wants to change that by her visit there. However, because I was looking forward to hearing these stories, I felt that Walker shortchanged her subjects by spending a large part of these very few pages talking about the Civil Rights movement. It's a somewhat apt comparison, but it doesn't really say much about current conditions in Gaza. Also, she spend even more pages talking about how much time she spent entering the area, filling out paperwork and waiting at the border. Again, an apt description - Israel is normally a hard country to enter for obvious reasons - but, again, it means that this thin volume is left with very few actual stories from the population of Gaza. Perhaps it would have been a successful attempt had it been longer than 80 pages, but as it is, this volume is severely lacking in detail and background information.
7sistersapphist on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Very short, very righteous, and very much preaching to the choir. Although we all need to hear much more about crimes against humanity in Rwanda, the Congo, and Palestine/Israel, this book presents mostly individual stories and the author's reactions. Political horrors are made of individual horrors, to be sure, but without exploring a far greater context, we're left only with mysteriously occurring atrocities and brave survivors. Walker refers to herself as a poet several times, including in the book subtitle, but there is nothing whatsoever poetic in this volume. Speaking hard truths may be done poetically, but it is not poetic by default. Exhortations, while they may also be done poetically, are not poetic in themselves. Using lofty abstract nouns-- Hate, Justice, Healing-- does not make an essay poetic. Three stars for the topic and good intentions.
monarchi on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This is a brief but beautiful memoir of Alice Walker's travels to various war-torn places over the past decades. It is not an explicitly political book, but rather a series of short pieces that reflect her experiences and the stories she encountered.I can't give it five stars because I felt it fell far short of the depth and meaning it could have had, but it was an enjoyable and interesting foray into Alice Walker's mind.
browngirl on LibraryThing 5 months ago
While those of us who sit comfortably in front of our televisions to learn of the devastation occurring in the areas of focus in Overcoming Speechlessness, Walker was on the front lines sharing in the pain and the healing of those affected. She believes "whatever is currently happening to humanity, it is happening o all of us." This is the essence of this very brief work. But its brevity reveals the real meaning of humanity. Walker allows her voice to be that of the survivors of these tragedies. Overcoming Speechlessness also gives us glimpses of humanity in persons like the woman she meets in Kigali who was a sex slave and claims that Women for Women International "saved" her or the sacrifice of life made by a young woman attempting to save the home of her Palestinian friends from demolish. It's a moving piece that should force any reader to re-think remaining silent about atrocities committed against our global mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and children.
hrabbit on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This is a very small book that packs a wallop. It is well written and an important book. Did I like it? Mixed feelings. It is upsetting to read and I had to put it aside at one point. Walker has taken a complicated issue and made it very simple by speaking of her own experiences on trips she has made to the Gaza, Rwanda and the Congo. She reflects on her own upbringing in the American South and draws comparisons. I do think that personal experiences are one of the most thoughtful ways to look at the effects of war. I will confess that as a Jew, it was hard to read this. Only one side is presented, but I have no doubt that what she saw and experienced in the Gaza Strip is truly happening. But Walker lost some credibility with me when I read her daughter's book Black White and Jewish. I think that if you read and like Alice Walker, you should also read her daughter's book.So with mixed feelings, I can't help but say that this book is worth reading. It won't take you long and it will surely have an impact in some way. I am glad that I read it, but it made me very sad in more ways than I thought it would.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alice Walker has been my favorite writer since I was a young woman. I go to her books for solace, comfort and understanding. As a Black woman, she has given voice to my world, helped me to see myself as reflected and loved.