‘How can you celebrate Diwali?’ Rupi Kaur declines White House invite for Diwali, slams Biden over Gaza crisis
‘I refuse any invitation from an institution that supports the collective punishment of a trapped civilian population- 50% of whom are children,’ Rupi Kaur said
Canadian poet Rupi Kaur, 31, has recently revealed that she rejected an invitation from the White House to attend a Diwali event. Kaur slammed the Biden administration citing US support for Israel amid the Gaza bombing. Criticising the lawmakers, Kaur said, “I'm 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.” Milk and Honey writer explained that “Diwali is the celebration of righteousness over falsehood and knowledge over ignorance.”
Who is Rupi Kaur?
Kaur is a famous Canadian poet, illustrator, photographer, and author, known for her books like- Healing Through Words, Home Body, Milk and Honey, and more. After beginning poetry in 2009, she rose to fame on Instagram. Her 2014 book Milk and Honey sold more than 2.5 million copies in 25 languages and spent 77 weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller List. She was born into a Sikh family in Punjab, India, on October 4, 1992. She immigrated to Canada with her family at the age of three. She earned a bachelor's degree in Arts at the University of Waterloo.
Why did Kaur decline White House invitation?
Drawing personal references, Kaur wrote in the statement she shared on social media, “I have always used this day to reflect on what it means to fight for freedom against oppression.” In a lengthy paragraph, The Sun and Her Flowers crooner condemned the US government citing United Nations statistics- “70% of the dead are women and children.” Explaining her stance, she highlighted Israel's attacks on Gaza. “We have seen Israel use white phosphorous bombs, which Amnesty International says must be investigated as a war crime,” Kaur said.
“We've seen footage on CNN of Israeli settlers kicking out and occupying the homes of Palestinians in the West Bank,” she continued. In a direct message to her South Asian community, she asked them to “hold this administration accountable.” She expressed, “As a Sikh woman, I will not allow my likeness to be used in whitewashing this administration's actions. I refuse any invitation from an institution that supports the collective punishment of a trapped civilian population- 50% of whom are children.” In later parts of the statement, Kaur encouraged others to “sign petitions, attend protests, and boycott.” “Call our reps and say- stop the genocide,” she concluded.
What are netizens saying?
Following her lengthy statement on social media, which has garnered 6.5 million views on X, formerly Twitter so far, netizens seem to be divided over her decision. Supporting her decision, an X user wrote, “Thank you for speaking out. need more people like you in the world.” Another said, “Thank you from Gaza.” However, some didn't agree with her reasoning as one user asked, “What difference it makes?” One more said, “Have you considered that being invited to the WH gives you a unique privilege to build bridges with people you may disagree and that diplomacy is how we bring an end to violence?”