Hon­our Madiba by sup­port­ing Pales­tine

The Mercury - - METRO -

“NEL­SON Man­dela was not only the sym­bol of the great South African strug­gle against apartheid – he was a global sym­bol of free­dom, rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and jus­tice.” – Dr Mustafa Bargh­outhi, De­cem­ber 14, 2013.

The Pales­tinian strug­gle has of­ten been linked to black South Africans’ fight against the coun­try’s hated white racist gov­ern­ment, which ruled the coun­try un­til 1994.

One of the most com­mon char­ac­ter­is­tics of the Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion has been its su­prem­a­cist and vi­o­lent ten­den­cies. Pales­tini­ans drew in­spi­ra­tion from Man­dela’s ef­forts to bring down the apartheid regime that ruth­lessly re­pressed black South Africans for 46 years. Even after Man­dela be­came pres­i­dent of South Africa he con­tin­ued to speak out for Pales­tinian rights.

In 1997, in a speech on the In­ter­na­tional Day of Sol­i­dar­ity with the Pales­tinian Peo­ple, Man­dela spoke in sup­port of the Pales­tinian strug­gle, say­ing it was im­por­tant for South Africans “to add our own voice to the uni­ver­sal call for Pales­tinian self-de­ter­mi­na­tion and state­hood” be­cause “we know too well that our free­dom is in­com­plete with­out the free­dom of the Pales­tini­ans; with­out the res­o­lu­tion of con­flicts in East Ti­mor, Su­dan and other parts of the world”.

For this stance, Man­dela re­mains a hugely pop­u­lar fig­ure in Pales­tine.

South African apartheid may be over, but apartheid is still alive in Is­rael to­day. And the best way to hon­our Man­dela is to take a stand in sup­port of the Pales­tinian strug­gle against Is­raeli apartheid and oc­cu­pa­tion.

SAIF SOOFIE Sher­wood

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