The case against boycotting the Jaipur Literature Festival

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The campaigners against Vedanta at the Jaipur literature festival in Southbank, London, this weekend undermined their cause by trying to shrink space for conversation and debate: Salil Tripathi 

I do not believe in cultural boycotts. They often penalize the very constituency that needs allies in their struggle for change, and often it can be a liberal community in an authoritarian society. Targeted economic sanctions and divestment campaigns chosen strategically are a different matter. I recall that a few years ago, British writers were debating whether to boycott the Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka because of the horrendous human rights record of the Rajapaksa government. I was on the board of English PEN then, and some authors asked us what they should do; our suggestion was that they should go if they wished to, but to use the platform to raise cases of missing Sri Lankan journalists and call for investigation and prosecution of cases where journalists and writers were being murdered.

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Author: Zafar Anjum

I am a writer based in Singapore.

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