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Indonesian Publishers Association pulls out of Frankfurt Book Fair

The Indonesian Publishers Association (Ikapi) is the latest body to pull out of this week’s Frankfurt Book Fair in protest at statements made by Juergen Boos, president of the Frankfurt Boook Fair. 


Its chairman, Arys Hilman Nugraha, said: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.”


Meanwhile, in a new statement, Boos said: “We are sad to see that some exhibitors from the Arab region withdrew their participation in this year’s fair. To dispel false reports and misunderstandings that may have arisen in the past days: millions of innocent people in Israel and in Palestine are affected by this war, and our sympathy goes out to all of them. We truly hope that ways can be found to bring them out of this violence.


“Frankfurter Buchmesse stands for the peaceful encounter of people from all over the world. With people from more than 100 countries coming together in Frankfurt every year, the book fair has always been about humanity and its focus has always been on peaceful and democratic discourse.”