Dear Gunter Grass, May 6, 2012
On behalf of the Seriously Free Speech Committee in Vancouver, Canada, we wish to extend our appreciation for your poem “What Must Be Said”.
There are many societies, and ours too is one of them, where public discussion of Israeli state policies and practices have been stifled by false accusations of anti-semitism, by media and government denunciations – if not outright exclusion — of critical comment. As a consequence, glaring realities, like Israel’s significant nuclear arsenal, and the German government’s direct contribution to this, never become part of reasoned public dialogue.
Your poem, your initiative, injected fresh air into this smothering silence, in your own country and much further beyond. As seen in commentary in the German media, others took courage from your courage, and many people found they were not alone in their anxieties and concerns about Israel’s push for war against the people of Iran.
The specific mandate of our committee is to resist silencing of discussion of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and to promote open, critical public discussion of this issue as an essential element of a reasoned and democratic culture. Hence our appreciation for what you have done.
Brian Campbell Mordecai Briemberg
for the Seriously Free Speech Committee