Re­sponse to Dan Diker

Inner City Gazette - - News -

Is Dan Diker ask­ing South Africans to for­get our own lib­er­a­tion strug­gle? In his piece on May 18, Diker jus­ti­fies Is­raeli vi­o­lence against un­armed Pales­tinian protesters us­ing the “ter­ror­ism” claim.

When 69 protesters were killed in Sharpeville, the apartheid se­cu­rity forces claimed that they were PAC ter­ror­ists.

Po­lice said that they were act­ing in self-de­fence when they shot them in cold blood.

In 1976, the apartheid gov­ern­ment claimed that our lib­er­a­tion move­ments were us­ing chil­dren as hu­man shields in Soweto. Now, we hear the same pro­pa­ganda from Dan Diker.

When Diker dis­misses Ha­mas as a ter­ror­ist group, it re­minds us South Africans of the ways in which we were de­monised by the apartheid gov­ern­ment’s pro­pa­gan­dists. We re­mem­ber the apartheid regime’s well-funded me­dia cam­paigns waged against us through­out the world that aimed to iso­late and falsely la­bel the ANC, PAC and the Black Con­scious­ness Move­ment as “ter­ror­ists”.

We re­mem­ber how the apartheid gov­ern­ment called on the world to deny our lead­ers en­try. Govern­ments in North Amer­ica, Eu­rope, and else­where - in­clud­ing Is­rael - heeded that call and placed our lib­er­a­tion move­ments on their ter­ror­ism black­lists, and closed their doors to our lead­ers. Dur­ing that time, it was the Pales­tini­ans who sup­ported our strug­gle against apartheid. Some of those who helped vil­ify our lib­er­a­tion move­ments are now ar­gu­ing that the val­ues and strate­gies of Ha­mas are the op­po­site of South African lib­er­a­tion move­ments. This is false. Like our lib­er­a­tion move­ments, Ha­mas was formed as a re­sponse to po­lit­i­cal op­pres­sion.

Both move­ments adopted the lib­er­a­tion of their peo­ple and land through a com­pre­hen­sive strug­gle: in­ter­nal up­ris­ings, a sanc­tions cam­paign to iso­late an apartheid regime, and armed re­sis­tance.

The right to re­sist was uni­ver­sally cel­e­brated and ab­so­lute for us South Africans in our strug­gle, so it can­not be ques­tion­able for Pales­tini­ans.

Apartheid Is­rael con­tin­ues to bru­talise Pales­tini­ans in the oc­cu­pied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Gaza is an open air prison whose pop­u­la­tion is col­lec­tively, and bru­tally, pun­ished for choos­ing Ha­mas as its rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Sub­mit or fight. These were the two choices fac­ing South Africans dur­ing our strug­gle against apartheid. Like us, Pales­tini­ans have also cho­sen to fight, and refuse to sub­mit to Is­raeli apartheid.

In Gaza, the world is wit­ness­ing an apartheid regime killing peace­ful protesters. The world did not ig­nore Sharpeville, and South Africa can­not ig­nore Is­rael’s apartheid against the Pales­tini­ans.

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