Shun Hate Speech, UN Tells Leaders after US Shootings


The first African American woman to win a Nobel Prize for Literature, Toni Morrison, has died today, August 6 after a brief illness.

The news was disclosed by her publisher, Knopf. She was 88 years old.

The author reportedly died peacefully, surrounded by loved ones. Born Chloe Ardella Wofford, Morrison was best known for her critically acclaimed and best-selling 1987 novel Beloved, which won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the American Book Award of the same year.

Her other classic novels include Jazz (1992) and Paradise (1997); the three books make up a trilogy. Shortly after the last of them was published, Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming the first black woman of any nationalit­y to be so honoured. In 1998, The novel Beloved was adapted into a film of the same title starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover.

Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. In 1996, the National Endowment for the Humanities selected her for the Jefferson Lecture, the US federal government’s highest honor for achievemen­t in the humanities.

She was honored with the 1996 National Book Foundation’s Medal of Distinguis­hed Contributi­on to American Letters. Morrison wrote the libretto for a new opera, Margaret Garner, first performed in 2005.

On May 29, 2012, President Barack Obama presented Morrison with the Presidenti­al Medal of Freedom. In 2016, she received the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievemen­t in American Fiction.

Sonny Mehta, the chairman and Editor-in-chief of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, in a statement said, “I Authoritie­s around the world must avoid encouragin­g hate speech against minorities including migrants and homosexual­s, the UN Human Rights office said on Tuesday, after the latest mass shootings in the US.

Even former United States President, Barack Obama, has condemned language that feeds hatred and normalises racism.

US Democrats accused can think of few writers in American letters who wrote with more humanity or with more love for language than Toni.”

“Her narratives and mesmerizin­g prose have made an indelible mark on our culture. Her novels command and demand our attention,” Mehta said. “They are canonical works, and more importantl­y, they are President Donald Trump of stoking racial divisions after the weekend killing of 32 people in Texas and Ohio, but he responded with a condemnati­on of “racism, bigotry and white supremacy”.

UN rights spokesman, Rupert Colville, welcomed Trump’s remarks, though he also said the High Commission­er for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, backs stricter gun controls. books that remain beloved by readers.”

Meanwhile, former US President, Barack Obama, yesterday paid tribute to Morrison.

“Her writing was a beautiful, meaningful challenge to our conscience and our moral imaginatio­n. What a gift to breathe the same air as her, if only for a while,” he wrote on Twitter.

“We unequivoca­lly condemn racism, xenophobia and intoleranc­e in all their forms, including white supremacy,’’ he said.

“And we call for states in general, including the U.S., to take positive steps to eradicate discrimina­tion.’’

Asked whether Bachelet’s office believed Trump’s “antimigran­t rhetoric” may have contribute­d, the spokesman told reporters all authoritie­s should avoid negative stereotype­s that foment discrimina­tion or violence.

“We are concerned that these types of messages, not only stigmatise and dehumanise minorities migrants, refugees, women, LGBT and the socalled ‘other’, but they also leave targeted persons and communitie­s vulnerable to the risks of reprisals and attacks,’’ he said.

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