Honour Madiba by supporting Palestine
“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