Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Remember Apartheid But Gaza Is Worse

I am a child of apartheid. Born into official white racism I lived most of my developmental years under its rule.

I remember thinking in the early seventies that apartheid would last longer than my life and the lives of those around me.

When television came in 1976 I sat on the floor of my grandmother's house watching the evening broadcast. I remember thinking that only white people really exisited in South Africa.

When the Soweto riots erupted there were limited pictures of white and Black policemen chasing children who were throwing stones at police vehicles. The storyline was always that the children were being led astray by Black liberation organizations.

The view of the children who started a revolution with sticks and stones was deemed an irrational act that brought the consquences of death by police or military bullets.

But even as I remember the brutality of apartheid I cannot recall anything like the War(s) on Gaza.

I don't remember that racist Pretoria ever launched missiles from the ground, sky and sea at any township anywhere during the five decades of apartheid.

It is not my intention to paint a more 'humane' face on apartheid or to downplay the trauma that came with its brand of oppressive violence. Apartheid was an abhorrent and vile system of oppression that claimed many lives, too many it is true.

Still, even the apartheid regime seemed restrained in comparison to the brutal hell that Israel has unleashed on Gaza in the period since its colonization in 1967.

What makes it worse, and different than apartheid's international infamy, is that most of the world is merely standing by and allowing the carnage to escalate.

What is the same is that the United States is once again on the wrong side of the humanitarian fence.

Those with longer memories will recall that it took a two thirds majority in Congress to veto President Reagan's pathological support of apartheid South Africa.

What was significant in the manner that Congress rose to rebuke Reagan was the popular ground support that pressed the veto. Americans from all walks of life rose up to say that they wanted no formal part of apartheid.

The era of sanctions was the right and moral thing to do. From 1986 on the apartheid regime could not count on the no-fault support from Washington.

The time for a popular movement among Americans for the same reasons in Israel is way overdue. The same is true in Britain, France, and anywhere else where the apologists for Israel empower the ongoing genocide being waged against Palestineans.

We need a strong international movement with credible political and moral leadership that says Israel cannot continue its vile oppression of Palestineans.

The need for an international consensus on sanctions against Israel has arrived!

Israeli apartheid, like South African apartheid, cannot just be allowed to exist without serious consequences.

We need to reach deep and wide and stand up for what is right and against the wrong that is Israel's genocide of Palestineans.



Dade said...

Count me in!

Ridwan said...

I hear you brother Dade!


GiGi - The Shy Giraffe said...

ridwan, thank you for sharing a piece of your life with us. i never knew what it must have felt to live and grow up in such an environment. i just cant fanthom why israel is having a free leash to do as it pleases.

hope you been well, don't play too much now.. hee hee..

Ridwan said...

Holla Gigi. Thank you my sista for your comment.

Israel will not free itself from the destruction it is causing.

There is a cycle of natural justice that commands life and no hurt goes unclaimed in consequences.

I am doing well Gigi. I hope you are doing great and that the challenges of the DC channel is keeping you engaged.

Peace to you.

Shus li said...

Hi, Ridwan

Thanks for sharing with readers what you experienced during apartheid and after. What a unique view you can offer because of that.

Sanctions against Irael is the least the rest of the world can do. Like Gigi, I don't understand why the nations of the world aren't standing up for Palestine and denouncing Israel.

Thanks again and keep writing.


Ridwan said...

Peaceful greeting sista Shushli. Thanks you for your support sista.

You and Gigi are absolutely right to wonder why so many are just standing by.

Yes, sanctions are the least we can do at both the international and national level.

Even at the individual level we can sanction Israel and refuse to buy its products or to support companies that support Israel.

You have raised this very issue on your excellent blog too.

By the way I just read yesterday that there is a Starbucks at Guantanamo!

Starbucks also refuses to take a position on Guantanamo ... I will be drinking my coffee elsewhere for sure ... not that there are Starbucks in SAfrica.

Anyway, good to hear from you sista. Best wishes to you.

Peace and struggle,