BLACK NIGHT 1971 Bangladesh

By Monirul Alam

The black night of March 25, 1971 when the Pakistani occupation forces kicked off one of the worst genocides in history that led to a nine-month war for the independence of Bangladesh in 1971.
On this black night in the nation?s history, the Pakistani military rulers launched ?Operation Searchlight?, killing some thousand people in that night?s crackdown alone.?As part of the operation, tanks rolled out of Dhaka cantonment and a sleeping city woke up to the rattles of gunfire as the Pakistan army attacked the halls at Dhaka University, the then East Pakistan Rifles (now Border Guard Bangladesh) headquarters and Rajarbagh Police Lines, killing the several thousand unarmed Bengalis on the single night. The planned and designated centres of offensive operations under that plan were Dhaka, Khulna, Chittagong, Comilla, Jessore, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Saidpur and Sylhet? areas, where West Pakistani army units were concentrated. Continue reading “BLACK NIGHT 1971 Bangladesh”

Bangladesh?s Unfinished War

The Daily Beast

by??

A Muslim country fights to remain secular.

A campaign of violence by Bangladesh?s main Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, has left 74 people dead since February 28. They are protesting the death sentence handed down against senior Jamaat leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee by the International Crimes Tribunal, set up by the ruling Awami League.

More than four decades after independence, protesters in Bangladesh are demanding that leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami political party, as well as others, finally be punished for war crimes. Puppets of the alleged war criminals dangle from nooses in Shahbagh Square in Dhaka. ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World
More than four decades after independence, protesters in Bangladesh are demanding that leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami political party, as well as others, finally be punished for war crimes. Puppets of the alleged war criminals dangle from nooses in Shahbagh Square in Dhaka. ? Shahidul Alam/Drik/Majority World

Continue reading “Bangladesh?s Unfinished War”

Shahbag Square ? why we Pakistanis don?t know and don?t care

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

Published: February 15, 2013

The writer retired as professor of physics from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad

Shahbag Square ? where?s that? Abdul Kader Mullah ? who?s he?
A bunch of university students in Islamabad, with whom I was informally conversing yesterday, hadn?t heard of either. Of course, they knew of Tahrir Square and Afzal Guru?s recent execution. But they showed little interest upon learning that Shahbag Square was in Dhaka and that, as we spoke, the city was seething with protest. Between 100,000 to 500,000 Bengalis had converged to Shahbag to sing patriotic songs, recite poems and read out episodes from Bangladesh?s history of the Liberation War. At the centre of the protesters? demands was Abdul Kader Mullah?s fate.
On February 5, the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) found Mullah guilty in five out of the six charges against him. Known as Mirpurer Koshai (Butcher of Mirpur) because of his atrocities against citizens in the Mirpur area of Dhaka, he was charged with beheading a poet, raping an 11-year-old girl and murdering 344 people. The ICT sentenced Mullah, presently assistant secretary general of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, to life in prison. For the protesters in Shahbag Square, this isn?t enough ? they want Mullah hanged. On the other side, the Jamaat-e-Islami protested violently and also took out demonstrations. But its efforts to influence global opinion foundered in spite of a well-funded effort. Continue reading “Shahbag Square ? why we Pakistanis don?t know and don?t care”

When Everything You Know Is Not True

Miko Peled Debunking Jewish Myths

“If Anybody here, came hoping to hear a balanced presentation, then they are going to be sorely disappointed. I say this, because a lot of the things that you are about to hear to night are difficult to hear.”
?Miko Peled is a peace activist who dares to say in public what others still choose to deny. He has credibility, so when he debunks myths that Jews around the world hold with blind loyalty, people listen. Miko was born in Jerusalem in 1961 into a well known Zionist family. His grandfather, Dr. Avraham Katsnelson was a Zionist leader and signer on the Israeli Declaration of Independence. His father, Matti Peled was a young officer in the war of 1948 and a general in the war of 1967 when Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights and the Sinai.
Miko Peled, author of The General?s Son, whose father was the renowned Israeli general Matti Peled, speaking in Seattle, October 1, 2012.
Video Posted October 13, 2012

Related piece on use of images by Israeli government for disinformation in Satish Sharma’s blog Rotigraphy
extract:?The art of the past no longer exists as it once did. It’s authority is lost. In its place there is a language of images. What matters now is who uses that language for what purpose.” ~ John Berger

The image supplies little in itself. What counts is its use and the power to fix a particular interpretation of the events, objects or people depicted. Some people, and especially some institutions, have much more clout in this process than others do.” ~ Steve Edwards

Archiving 1971

Date & Time: 12 February, 2012 from 11am to 1pm
Venue: Jatiya Press Club, Dhaka (Conference Room)
The programme will also be online live at www.drik.tv
History, at least in its initial form is generally written by the victor. But who is the victor in a war? How does one value a memory? What purpose does an artifact serve? Each archive is unique; its character shaped on those who set it up, and those who use it. From a photographer?s perspective, the war of 1971 was unique in other ways too. The events leading up to it were documented almost entirely by local photographers. They were themselves caught up in the struggles they were recording. It was not a story that international media neither knew nor was interested in. As such, the immediate aftermath of the crackdown on the 25th March was hardly recorded. For local photographers it was much too dangerous to be out there with a camera. Many of the foreign journalists were locked up in Hotel Intercontinental in Dhaka. It was only the few who managed to sneak out, or film through hotel windows that had tangible records of that fateful night. Others, who recorded those moments, were amateurs who took phenomenal risks in preserving the only visual records of the atrocities. Missing are the subtle nuanced observations. Ordinary people, trying to survive. The euphoria and hope of an expectant nation being replaced overnight by the terror of living under occupation, was a transformation that went unrecorded.
Continue reading “Archiving 1971”

Bangladesh war: The article that changed history


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By Mark Dummett BBC News

On 13 June 1971, an article in the UK’s Sunday Times exposed the brutality of Pakistan’s suppression of the Bangladeshi uprising. It forced the reporter’s family into hiding and changed history.

Abdul Bari had run out of luck. Like thousands of other people in East Bengal, he had made the mistake – the fatal mistake – of running within sight of a Pakistani patrol. He was 24 years old, a slight man surrounded by soldiers. He was trembling because he was about to be shot.
So starts one of the most influential pieces of South Asian journalism of the past half century.
Written by Anthony Mascarenhas, a Pakistani reporter, and printed in the UK’s Sunday Times, it exposed for the first time the scale of the Pakistan army’s brutal campaign to suppress its breakaway eastern province in 1971.
Nobody knows exactly how many people were killed, but certainly a huge number of people lost their lives. Independent researchers think that between 300,000 and 500,000 died. The Bangladesh government puts the figure at three million. Continue reading “Bangladesh war: The article that changed history”

Subcontinental drift

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By Salil Tripathi

Does the controversial book about Bangladesh?s war of liberation uncover new truths, or simply reverse old biases?

It is an article of faith in Bangladesh that three million people died in its war of independence in 1971. At that time, the population of the former East Pakistan (which became Bangladesh) was about 70 million people, which means nearly 4% of the population died in the war. The killings took place between 25 March, when Pakistani forces launched?Operation Searchlight, and mid-December, when Dhaka fell to the invading Indian Army and the Mukti Bahini forces (who was aiding whom depends on which narrative you read? India?s or Bangladesh?s). As per Bangladesh?s understanding of its history, the nation was a victim of genocide. Killing three million people over 267 days amounts to nearly 11,000 deaths a day. That would make it one of the most lethal conflicts of all time.
One of the most brutal conflicts in recent years has been in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the International Rescue Committee reported that 5.4 million people died between 1998 and 2008. A more thorough Canadian analysis now concludes that the actual figure is about half. At 5.4 million deaths, the daily death toll would be around 1,500; at 2.7 million, around 750. Was the 1971 war up to 15 times more lethal than the Congolese conflict?
A history of violence: A scene from the bloody conflicts of the 1971 Bangladesh war. Photo: Getty Images
A history of violence: A scene from the bloody conflicts of the 1971 Bangladesh war. Photo: Getty Images
It is an uncomfortable question. Many Bangladeshis feel that raising such a doubt undermines their suffering and belittles their identity. But a thorough, unbiased study, going as far as facts can take the analysis, would be an important contribution to our understanding of the subcontinent?s recent history.
Continue reading “Subcontinental drift”

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY AND THE FREEDOM FLOTILLA MASSACRE

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Editorial, The Electronic Intifada, 31 May 2010
Early this morning under the cover of darkness Israeli?soldiers stormed the lead ship of the six-vessel Freedom?Flotilla aid convoy in international waters and killed and?injured dozens of civilians aboard. All the ships were?violently seized by Israeli forces, but hours after the?attack fate of the passengers aboard the other ships?remained unknown.
The Mavi Marmara was carrying around 600 activists when?Israeli warships flanked it from all sides as soldiers?descended from helicopters onto the ship’s deck. Reports?from people on board the ship backed up by live video?feeds broadcast on Turkish TV show that Israeli forces?used live ammunition against the civilian passengers, some?of whom resisted the attack with sticks and other items.
The Freedom Flotilla was organized by a coalition of?groups that sought to break the Israeli-led siege on the?Gaza Strip that began in 2007. Together, the flotilla?carried 700 civilian activists from around 50 countries?and over 10,000 tons of aid including food, medicines,?medical equipment, reconstruction materials and equipment,?as well as various other necessities arbitrarily banned by Israel.
As of 6:00pm Jerusalem time most media were still?reporting that up to 20 people had been killed, and many?more injured. However, Israel was still withholding the?exact numbers and names of the dead and injured.?Passengers aboard the ships who had been posting Twitter?updates on the Flotilla’s progress had not been heard from?since before the attack and efforts to contact passengers?by satellite phone were unsuccessful. The Arabic- and
English-language networks of Al-Jazeera lost contact with?their half dozen staff traveling with the flotilla.
News of the massacre on board the Freedom Flotilla began?to emerge around dawn in the eastern Mediterranean first?on the live feed from the ship, social media, Turkish?television, and Al-Jazeera. Israeli media were placed?under strict military censorship, and reported primarily?from foreign sources. However, by the morning the?Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli soldiers who?boarded the flotilla in international waters were fired?upon by passengers. Quoting anonymous military sources,?the Jerusalem Post claimed that the flotilla passengers?had set-up a “well planned lynch.”
(“IDF: Soldiers were?met by well-planned lynch in boat raid”)?The Israeli daily Haaretz also reported that the Israeli?soldiers were “attacked” when trying to board the?flotilla. (“At least 10 activists killed in Israel Navy?clashes onboard Gaza aid flotilla”)?This narrative of passengers “attacking” the Israeli?soldiers was quickly adopted by the Associated Press and?carried across mainstream media sources in the United?States, including the Washington Post. (“Israeli army:?More than 10 killed on Gaza flotilla”)?Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon stated in a?Monday morning press conference that the Israeli military?was acting in “self-defense.” He claimed that “At least?two guns were found” and that the “incident” was still?ongoing. Ayalon also claimed that the Flotilla organizers?were “well-known” and were supported by and had?connections to “international terrorist organizations.”
It is unclear how anyone could credibly adopt an Israeli?narrative of “self-defense” when Israel had carried out an?unprovoked armed assault on civilian ships in?international waters. Surely any right of self-defense?would belong to the passengers on the ship. Nevertheless,?the Freedom Flotilla organizers had clearly and loudly?proclaimed their ships to be unarmed civilian vessels on a?humanitarian mission.
The Israeli media strategy appeared to be to maintain?censorship of the facts such as the number of dead and?injured, the names of the victims and on which ships the?injuries occurred, while aggressively putting out its?version of events which is based on a dual strategy of?implausibly claiming “self-defense” while demonizing the?Freedom Flotilla passengers and intimating that they?deserved what they got.
As news spread around the world, foreign governments began?to react. Greece and Turkey, which had many citizens?aboard the Flotilla, immediately recalled their?ambassadors from Tel Aviv. Spain strongly condemned the?attack. France’s foreign minister Bernard Kouchner?expressed “profound shock.” The European Union’s foreign?minister Catherine Ashton called for an “enquiry.”
What should be clear is this: no one can claim to be?surprised by what the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights?correctly termed a “hideous crime.” Israel had been openly?threatening a violent attack on the Flotilla for days, but?complacency, complicity and inaction, specifically from?Western and Arab governments once more sent the message?that Israel could act with total impunity.
There is no doubt that Israel’s massacre of 1,400 people,?mostly civilians, in Gaza in December 2008/January 2009?was a wake up call for international civil society to?begin to adopt boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS)?against Israel similar to those applied to apartheid-era?South Africa.?Yet governments largely have remained complacent and?complicit in Israel’s ongoing violence and oppression?against Palestinians and increasingly international?humanitarian workers and solidarity activists, not only in?Gaza, but throughout historic Palestine. We can only?imagine that had former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi?Livni indeed been arrested for war crimes in Gaza when a?judge in London issued a warrant for her arrest, had the?international community begun to implement the?recommendations of the UN-commissioned Goldstone Report,?had there been a much firmer response to Israel’s?assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai, it would not?have dared to act with such brazenness.
As protest and solidarity actions begin in Palestine and?across the world, this is the message they must carry:?enough impunity, enough complicity, enough Israeli?massacres and apartheid. Justice now.

Israeli troops kill flotilla activists

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At least 16 dead as Israeli troops storm Gaza aid flotilla

Israeli commandoes have stormed a flotilla of ships carrying activists and aid supplies to the blockaded Palestinian enclave of Gaza, killing as many as as 16 of those on board.

By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent and Matthew Kalman in Jerusalem
Published: 7:21AM BST 31 May 2010
Fighting broke out between the activists and the masked Israeli troops, who rappelled on to deck from helicopters before dawn.
A spokesman for the flotilla, Greta Berlin, said she had been told that ten people had been killed and dozens wounded, accusing Israeli troops of indiscriminately shooting at “unarmed civilians”. But an Israeli radio station said that between 14 and 16 were dead in a continuing operation.

“How could the Israeli military attack civilians like this?” Ms Berlin said. “Do they think that because they can attack Palestinians indiscriminately they can attack anyone?
“We have two other boats. This is not going to stop us.”
The Israeli government’s handling of the confrontation was under intense international pressure even as it continued. The Israeli ambassador to Turkey, the base of one of the human rights organisation which organised the flotilla, was summoned by the foreign ministry in Ankara, as the Israeli consulate in Istanbul came under attack.
One Israeli minister issued immediate words of regret. “The images are certainly not pleasant. I can only voice regret at all the fatalities,” Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, the trade and industry minister, told army radio.
But he added that the commandoes had been attacked with batons and activists had sought to take their weapons off them.
Israeli military sources said four of its men had been injured, one stabbed, and that they had been shot at.
“The flotilla’s participants were not innocent and used violence against the soldiers. They were waiting for the forces’ arrival,” they were quoted by a news website as saying.
The flotilla had set sail on Sunday from northern, or Turkish, Cyprus.
Six boats were led by the Mavi Marmara, which carried 600 activists from around the world, including Mairead Corrigan Maguire, the Northern Ireland peace protester who won a Nobel Prize in 1976.
It came under almost immediate monitoring from Israeli drones and the navy, with two vessels flanking it in international waters. The flotilla, which had been warned that it would not be allowed to reach Gaza, attempted to slow and change course, hoping to prevent a confrontation until daylight, when the Israeli military action could be better filmed.
But in the early hours of this morning local time commandoes boarded from helicopters.
The activists were not carrying guns, but television footage shown by al-Jazeera and Turkish television channels show hand-to-hand fighting, with activists wearing life-jackets striking commandoes with sticks.

The Israeli army said its troops were assaulted with axes and knives.
The television footage did not show firing but shots could be heard in the background. One man was shown lying unconscious on the deck, while another man was helped away.
A woman wearing hijab, the Muslim headscarf, was seen carrying a stretcher covered in blood.
The al-Jazeera broadcast stopped with a voice shouting in Hebrew: “Everyone shut up”.
Israel imposed its blockade on Gaza after the strip was taken over by the militant group Hamas in 2007. It has allowed some food and medical supplies through, but has prevented large-scale rebuilding following the bombardment and invasion of 2008-9.
The flotilla is the latest in a series of attempts by activists to break through the blockade. The boats were carrying food and building supplies.
Activists said at least two of the other boats, one Greek and one Turkish, had been boarded from Israeli naval vessels. Activists said two of the other boats in the flotilla were American-flagged.
The confrontation took place in international waters 80 miles off the Gaza coast.
It was attacked by the head of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh.
“We call on the Secretary-General of the U.N., Ban Ki-moon, to shoulder his responsibilities to protect the safety of the solidarity groups who were on board these ships and to secure their way to Gaza,” he said.
Turkish television meanwhile showed hundreds of protesters trying to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul. The incident will be particularly damaging for Israel’s relations with what had been seen as its closest ally in the Muslim world.

“By targeting civilians, Israel has once again shown its disregard for human life and peaceful initiatives,” a Turkish foreign ministry statement said. “We strongly condemn these inhumane practices of Israel.

“This deplorable incident, which took place in open seas and constitutes a fragrant breach of international law, may lead to irreparable consequences in our bilateral relations.”

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AN OPEN LETTER TO MR. JACOB ZUMA

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HAIDAR EID ? AN OPEN LETTER TO MR. JACOB ZUMA, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA
10 September, 2009 ??Palestine Chronicle

People in Johannesburg March in Solidarity with Palestine

Dear Mr. President,
I am writing to express my dismay and disappointment with both your attendance at the national conference of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies ? a racist organization by any standards ? as well as the content of your speech at that forum.
I am a naturalised South African of Palestinian origin. I spent more than five years in? Johannesburg, during which I earned a PhD from the University of Johannesburg and lectured at the-then Vista University in Soweto and Rand Afrikaans University in Johannesburg.
I would like to take issue with the manner in which you express your support for the two-state solution: ?It is a solution that fulfils the aspirations of both parties for independent homelands through two states for two peoples, Israel and an independent, adjoining, and viable state of Palestine? (emphasis mine). Allow me, Mr. President, as a resident of Gaza, to express my shock with the fact that ? only 8 months after the Gaza massacre, in which 1500 civilians, including 434 children, were brutally murdered ? you still believe that there are two symmetrical sides. You even call it the ?Israeli-Palestinian conflict!? Was that your belief in the 1970?s and 80?s; that there were ?two-sides? to the South African ?conflict?? Were there two equal parties, namely White and Black, with equal claim to the land and equal historical responsibility for the-then status quo? No doubt, this sounds like a bizarre interpretation of South African history?and one which we Palestinians find equally astounding when applied to our history and our reality today.
Mr. President, these words of yours are even more disturbing, given your own involvement in the commendable struggle against the brutal, anti-human apartheid system and the notion of ?independent homelands? which were based on the separation of human beings. Your struggle as Black South Africans, was morally superior to apartheid because it was inclusive where apartheid focused on separation; it was embracing where apartheid focused on division; it was life-affirming where apartheid was violent and murderous.
The South African anti-apartheid goal, adopted by anti-apartheid activists all around the world was unequivocal: the end of the racist system and ideology of apartheid. There could be no toenadering (rapprochement) with apartheid ideologues; no creation of homelands and puppet leaders: the system had to be dismantled in its entirety. Many South Africans supported by a sustained global anti-apartheid campaign, sacrificed their lives to bring down the Bantustansan euphemistically, called independent homelands by the apartheid regime.? Mr. President, Steve Biko, Oliver Tambo, Chris Hani, the Mxenges, the Slovosac to mention but a few anti-apartheid heroes must have listened to the speech to the JBD and wondered what happened to the universal values and human rights espoused by the ANC.
Comrade Jacob (if I may),
I would like to brief you on the nature of the powerful party, i.e. Israel ? with whom your post-apartheid government still, amazingly, maintains exceptional diplomatic and economic ties.
Unlike the new post-apartheid South Africa, which you helped to create, in the State of Israel all human beings are NOT equal. There are fundamental artificially created and selectively rewarded? a level of of citizens in the state. Israel defines itself as a Jewish State. It, therefore, creates a bizarre distinction between ?nationality? and ?citizenship.? Almost 22% of the citizens of Israel are Palestinians who are excluded from such a definition. Israel thus, by definition is NOT the state of its citizens, but rather that of ?The Jewish People?, most of whom, like the members of JBD whom you were addressing, have no birthright connection to it. The question which begs an answer is what the status of those Palestinian citizens in a Jewish state is? The answer is, as every single ? to use a word you must abhor ?non-white? South African knows: Racism.
The delegates at the national conference of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, Jewish, but at the same time, South African citizens ?enjoy full rights? in Israel, rights that apartheid Israel denies to us, the indigenous people of this land. They also call us ?Israeli Arabs?,? ?Jerusalem residents?, ?Arabs of the territories?, not to mention the refugees living in the Diaspora, whose mere mention always spoils any party, and whose right to return and compensation is sanctioned by International Law (UNGA resolution 194).
Israeli nationality, therefore, is non-existent. Instead, there is ?Jewish Nationality?. To make such a bizarre term comprehensible, think of ?White Nationality? as opposed to South African. In your speech before the JBD, you state very eloquently that ?(m)uch as we are conscious of who we are culturally and otherwise, it must not take away the national identity, as we should be South Africans first?.
The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crimes of Apartheid, Article 2, Part 3, clearly defines apartheid as:
?[a]ny legislative measures and other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country and the deliberate creation of conditions preventing the full development of such a group or groups, in particular by denying to members of a racial group or groups basic human rights and freedoms, including the right to work? the right to education, the right to leave and return to their country the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of movement and residence.?
This definition, in its entirety, clearly applies not only to the Palestinian people residing in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but also those living in Israel itself. This is precisely the reason that the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Territories, a fellow South African, John Dugard, concluded that ?the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid appears to be violated by many practices?.
If you were born to Palestinian parents living in Israel ? a fate you have been spared, Mr. President ? you too would be denied the rights of? ?Jewish Nationality? and been forced to submit to institutionalized inferiority or choose to resist it.
Furthermore, ICSPCA (quoted above), Article 2, Part 4, makes it crystal clear that:
?[t]he term ?the crime of apartheid?,? shall apply to ?any measures including legislative measure, designed to divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate measures and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups The expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group or groups or to members thereof..?
Comrade Jacob, the word apartheid never appears once in your speech before the JBD! A listener would never know that you were speaking to an audience who actively support apartheid in another country.
Did you know that racist laws used to forbid Black property ownership in white areas in apartheid South Africa are in force in apartheid Israel? Indigenous Palestinian citizens of Israel are not only prohibited from living on land owned by ?Jewish institutions?, ?but are also not allowed by force of ?law? to reside in any areas designated ?Jewish? either.
I, myself, Mr. President, a resident of Gaza, like so many Palestinians, have legal title to my parents? land in Israel, but have no ?legal? right to it because my parents? property, like that? of millions of other Palestinians?, was taken away from us and given over to Jewish ownership. The facts are that Jews owned only 7% of Palestine before 1948; today 93% is considered ?state land? and can only be owned by Jews or Israel.
This is only one example, Comrade Jacob, of the nature of the state your government deems ?democratic?and ?friendly? despite its past strategic ties with apartheid SA. In your presidential campaign, you were quoted singing ?kill the Boer!? And yet, in your speech, you ?unequivocally? condemn ?all forms of violence from whatever quarter?, particularly where civilians are targeted!
I fail to understand this contradiction. Is this a reflection of the difference between comrade Jacob and President Zuma? Do you, as president, think that Palestinians have no right to resist their occupation and dispossession? You even equate our resistance with the War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity committed by the Israeli Occupation forces in the West Bank and, in particular, in Gaza.
Is it too much, comrade Jacob, for us, representatives of Palestinian Civil Society organizations to ask your government to sever all diplomatic ties with apartheid? Israel, and endorses not to say lead the growing global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel? Is that really too much to ask a democratic post-apartheid South Africa for?
Is this the embodiment of Fanon?s prophecy about the ?Pitfalls of National (Racial?) Consciousness??? Is it because the Black Middle class which your government represents and which has taken power from the White Middle class is underdeveloped? Fanon, whom you? must have read while on the run from the apartheid police, says that this national middle class ?has practically no economic power, and in any case it is in no way commensurate with the bourgeoisie of the mother country which it hopes to replace.? Is this why you are prepared to kowtow to the South African Jewish community which ?has been called one of the most tightly-knit in the world, overwhelmingly united in its support for Israel??
Your government, Mr. President, turns a blind eye to the war crimes of its own citizens against Palestinians. The South African war criminal David Benjamin was allowed to freely move around South Africa and share his tactics of support and defence for the? Israeli Occupation Forces in its recent onslaught against the Gaza Strip with impunity. There are seventy other South Africans that are known to have links with the destruction of the Israeli Occupation Forces who enjoy the same impunity. It is left to individuals and civil society organizations in South Africa to take action against these criminals that should rightly be the task of the government.
Your post-apartheid government, Mr. President, unashamedly, supports the two-state solution: one for Palestinians (Muslim and Christians), and one for Jews. In other words, you support the re-birth of Bantustans, albeit in the Middle East this time. The two-state solution is a racist solution, comrade Jacob. If you did not accept it for yourselves in South Africa, why force it on Palestinians instead of supporting us as we demand the right to our homeland every single inch of it?
Mr. President,
A politics based on narrow-minded, selfish pragmatism was rejected by all anti-apartheid forces, locally and internationally during the years of the anti-apartheid struggle. What was promoted, instead, was adherence to universal principles of equality and dignity.
I truly hope you will reconsider. I know that it is my constitutional right as a citizen of the New South Africa ? which I am proud of ? to address you directly. I do so to express my deep disagreement and dissatisfaction with your government?s Middle East policy and its continued support for the apartheid policies of the Israeli government, given that this support undermines and actively harms the Palestinian struggle for liberation and self-determination.
Sincerely,
Professor Haidar Eid
Gaza, Palestine
– Dr. Haidar Eid is Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. Dr. Eid is a founding member of the One Democratic State Group (ODSG) and a member of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

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