Statements + Announcements

On the Passing of Etel Adnan

The Board of the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI) grieves the passing of an extraordinary human and literary titan: Etel Adnan. Adnan’s contributions to RAWI in particular and to the storytelling world broadly cannot be overstated. Her life’s work creates a beacon for those in the Southwest Asian and North African diaspora, lighting a path for those among us who need or wish to speak and write in a world that often silences us. Adnan’s life was spent between borders, as was her vision for poetry and art, challenging us all to use the spoken and written word as a tool for deconstructing boundaries that restrict us. Her long and prolific career reveals an artist whose distinctive lens for the world was keenly applied to beauty, grief, longing, war, and, presciently, to preparing us for her own death: “The morning after/my death/we will sit in cafés/but I will not/be there/I will not be.”

The loss of Etel Adnan is deeply felt among us at RAWI. While she may no longer be here, her legacy and life remain sharply engraved on our hearts and in our minds.

– The RAWI Board, November 14, 2021

Statement on Palestine

The Radius of Arab American Writers stands in solidarity with Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem, Gaza, and all of historic Palestine resisting settler-colonial violence. We mourn the Palestinian lives already lost, both this past week and since 1948. We urge those in the diaspora to join us in amplifying the voices of Palestinians back home. We call on other literary organizations to affirm their commitment to Palestine and Palestinian voices by meeting the demands of those on the ground. 

Those in the US, we encourage you to contact your representatives to fight for an end to US military aid that fuels this violence

Spend time with the work of those located in Palestine. Here are a few places to help you get started. 

Threads by community members:

For those who are seeking to understand or hoping to lend tangential support, we recommend the following resources:

Statement of Solidarity

The Radius of Arab American Writers stands in solidarity with the protests across the United States following the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others at the hands of racist police officers, civilians, and the systems that enable injustice and brutality. Solidarity with Black people has always been important and this moment is no different. We must say Black Lives Matter, but we must also act on this truth.

The imagination and efforts of many resistance movements in Arab countries, from the struggle to free Palestine and beyond, would not be possible without the continued solidarity of Black resistance movements, as well as the labor of Black radical intellectuals who have built and contributed to much of the language underlying our conceptions of resistance. Our work becomes moot without acknowledging this and standing with Black people. Further, our focus as Arab-American writers must include amplifying the voices of Afro-Arabs in our own communities, and keeping Black liberation at the forefront of our work, not just as writers, but community members. 

We must interrogate our own relationships to law enforcement and divest from trusting the military force that is U.S. law enforcement; we must challenge the carceral way of thinking into which we are all socialized as a result of growing up in the United States–and any other settler colonial nations. We must be accountable to how to take anti-racist action in the U.S., and how to do so in our countries of origin and their respective diasporas. This means anti-racism begins at home and must synapse into the world around us through our actions as responsible citizens of this planet. 

This guide by Rana Abdelhamid and Mafaz Al-Suwaidan is a good resource. Additionally, we encourage our community members to donate to their local bail funds and to organizations doing important work in their communities. Below is a list from which to start. 

– The RAWI Board, June 1st, 2020

Places to donate:

Informational Resources: