Authors, publishers, and every book fair organizer should believe that books provide space for different voices and prevent the dominance of one mind in judging every event. Books also play a role in voicing peace and eliminating oppression on earth. Meanwhile, book exhibitions should be an arena for fair dialogue and efforts to build mutual understanding.
The decision by the organizer of the Frankfurt Book Fair to only take sides and give Israel a platform has undermined the ideals of dialogue and efforts to build mutual understanding. Siding with Israel while forgetting the suffering of the Palestinian people is like reading only one book to feel like you understand the whole world. And, expanding Israeli stages at the book fair while cancelling awards for Palestinian writers seems to reflect the expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian land.
The Indonesian Publishers Association (Ikapi) rejects the Frankfurt Book Fair’s stance of supporting and giving a wider stage to Israel at this year’s exhibition while denying the Palestinian people’s right to independence. Ikapi also criticized the cancellation of the award to Adania Shibli, a Palestinian writer who depicted Israeli atrocities through her novel Minor Detail.
Ikapi was previously scheduled to be present as part of the activities of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia to promote Indonesian national culture to the world’s cultural treasures through. Ikapi has cancelled participation in the 2023 Frankfurt Book Fair, failed to attend the opening ceremony, and cancelled several events.
Jakarta, October 16, 2023
Arys Hilman Nugraha
Chairman of the Indonesian Publishers Association (Ikapi)