Rejecting a Diwali party invitation from the Biden administration over its handling of the Israel-Hamas war, Indo-Canadian poet Rupi Kaur says she will not an event hosted by Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday.
“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,” she posted on her social media accounts, NBC News reported.
“I refuse any invitation from an institution that supports the collective punishment of a trapped civilian population.”
As a Sikh woman, the “Milk and Honey” author said the holiday, known as ‘Bandi Chhor Divas’ in the Sikh faith, makes her reflect on “what it means to fight for freedom against oppression.”
Bandi Chhor Divas which falls on Diwali is a Sikh celebration that commemorates the day the sixth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Hargobind released 52 Hindu Kings from Gwalior Fort, who had been imprisoned by Mughal Emperor Jahangir for several months.
Kaur implored other South Asians in the US to follow her example and hold the Biden administration accountable in the wake of Gaza’s civilian death toll, which has now passed 10,000.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who is hosting the Diwali event on Wednesday, did not immediately respond to NBC’s request for comment.
“As a community, we cannot remain silent or agreeable just to get a seat at the table. It comes at too high a cost to human life,” Kaur said. “The privilege we lose from speaking up is nothing compared to what Palestinians lose each day because this administration rejects a ceasefire.”
Kaur, 31, called on her followers to sign petitions, join boycotts and attend protests in support of a cease-fire.
“When a government’s actions dehumanize people anywhere in the world, it is our moral imperative to call for justice,” she wrote.