FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Truly Honoring Mandela

by CAROL MURRY

US President Barack Obama expressed his hope to meet Nelson Mandela during his 2013 trip to the Republic of South Africa. He spoke of trying to answer the call to action against apartheid issued by Nelson Mandela, after his release from 27 years imprisonment on Robben Island and said that the revolution against apartheid in South Africa inspired his own anti-apartheid activism. President Obama’s desired meeting with Nelson Mandela did not take place due to Mr. Mandela’s critical illness, but he and his family visited Mandela’s cell on Robben Island.

On the day of Nelson Mandela’s death, the US President expressed his admiration for the leadership of Mr. Mandela, a fellow Nobel Peace Prize awardee, “who cherished the ideal of democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunity”.

Many see parallels between the S African and Israeli apartheid and genocide against Palestinians in the W Bank and Gaza, but South African anti-apartheid leaders have called the Israeli-imposed apartheid worse than they experienced in South Africa, since white S Africans did not wish to eliminate black S Africans, there was no apartheid wall limiting movement and economic development, and the world has not risen up against the injustice.

It has been recognized by many that Israel could not continue to carry out an occupation of apartheid without US support. It is the US support that allows the Israeli leadership to continue to imprison and torture Palestinian youth, steal Palestinian land, demolish Palestinian homes, ration water and food to Palestinians, and bomb and rain white phosphorus on Palestinians living in Gaza as part of its occupation of Palestine – contrary to rules of international law. Many Israelis do not support these crimes against humanity in which Israel is waging war against an occupied civilian population, including its children.

On 4 December 1997, thirteen years prior to his death, President Mandela addressed the Special Emissary of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, diplomatic corps members and Palestinian and other guests on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. He added the voice of South Africa to the “universal call for Palestinian self-determination and statehood.” He acknowledged that when the UN passed the resolution inaugurating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, “it was asserting the recognition that injustice and gross human rights violations were being perpetrated in Palestine.” He stated that “we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians” and that he wished to “add our own voice to the universal call for Palestinian self-determination and statehood.”

Today, 13 years after Nelson Mandela’s address to those gathered in solidarity with the Palestinian People, Palestinians are still being displaced from their lands, adults and children imprisoned and tortured, homes demolished, ancient olive orchards and water sources destroyed as part of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Over 6.5 million Palestinian refugees worldwide are not allowed the right to return to their homes. Just as 60,000 residents of District 6 were forcibly removed by the S African apartheid regime in 1970, Israel is currently commencing forcible removal of up to 70,000 Bedouins under the Prawer-Begin Plan. Movement of Palestinian people is severely restricted, including by the 96 mile long Israeli apartheid wall that is over twice the height of the Berlin Wall and studded with sniper posts, with more walls under construction. So-called checkpoints serve to further curtail movement by Palestinians from one place to the next. Many buses and roads are segregated.

Recent reports by Israeli groups B’Tselem and Yesh Din documented severe physical violence including systematic torture and threats of sexual assault to children and to their female relations, execution if they don’t confess, solitary confinement and barring access to family and legal assistance. It has been reported that many Palestinian children have lost the will to live due to the combination of violence by the Israeli army and seeing their parents imprisoned.

During Palestinian commemorations of the death of Nelson Mandela, the so-called Israel Defense Force soldiers murdered a 14 year old Palestinian child by shooting him in the back as he stood in front of his school at Jalazoun Refugee Camp and arrested an 11 year old boy at gunpoint. They also shot 2 Palestinians in Bethleham’s Aida Refugee Camp. And Israel’s Economy Minister, Naftali Bennett has proposed annexing those parts of the West Bank under Israel’s military control. He referred to US-brokered “peace talks” as a joke as Israel prepared to build 255 new settler units near Ramallah in violation of the Geneva Conventions for occupied land.

The overriding responsibility that we all share is that this cruelty and torture and apartheid is being carried out with US complicity and support. Israel receives over $3 billion a year for military support from the United States. The US paid for Caterpillars that demolish houses and water supplies; airplanes and munitions, including the chemical weapon white phosphorus, used to attack Palestinians in violation of the Geneva Protocol; and Israel Defense Force soldiers and police seeking to arrest those who oppose these actions. Although President Obama treats Israel as a key ally, Israel is now known to have secretly tried to sell nuclear weapons to apartheid S Africa and currently refuses to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Nelson Mandela spoke out against American imperialism in committing atrocities, including the Iraq War. He considered poverty and inequality to be social evils on a par with slavery and apartheid. He spoke out against the US war on Terror as undermining the rule of law. He said that he “cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunity” and “if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

President Obama could truly honor and emulate Nelson Mandela’s great courage and leadership as well as contribute to ending these atrocities by discontinuing the $3 billion per year support by the United States to Israel that allows it to continue these crimes against humanity. He could also cease US crimes against humanity committed in the guise of a war on terror in such places as Guantanamo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He would then ensure that his legacy, like that of Nelson Mandela, would involve moral and ethical courage and would truly enable peace and justice.

Carol Murry lived and worked in rural Thailand and Swaziland; started a community health worker program on Micronesian outer islands; did leprosy research in Bhutan; directed NGOs; was University of Hawai’i faculty; and researched HIV among Pacific Island youth for UNICEF. She can be reached at: murry@hawaii.edu.

More articles by:
January 23, 2018
Carl Boggs
Doomsday Panic in Hawaii
Mark Ashwill
If I Were US Ambassador to Vietnam…
Nick Pemberton
The Inherent Whiteness of “Our Revolution”
Leeann Hall
Trump’s Gift for the Unemployed: Kicking Them Off Health Care
Dean Baker
Lessons in Economics For the NYT’s Bret Stephens: Apple and Donald Trump’s Big Tax Cut
Mitchell Zimmerman
Law, Order and the Dreamers
Ken Hannaford-Ricardi
The Kids the World Forgot
Dave Lindorff
South Korea Slips Off the US Leash
Ali Mohsin
Extrajudicial Murder of Pashtun Exposes State Brutality in Pakistan
Jessicah Pierre
Oprah is No Savior
John Carroll Md
Keeping Haiti in Perspective
Amir Khafagy
Marching Into the Arms of the Democrats
January 22, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
It’s Time to Call Economic Sanctions What They Are: War Crimes
Jim Kavanagh
Behind the Money Curtain: A Left Take on Taxes, Spending and Modern Monetary Theory
Sheldon Richman
Trump Versus the World
Mark Schuller
One Year On, Reflecting and Refining Tactics to Take Our Country Back
Winslow Wheeler
Just What Earmark “Moratorium” are They Talking About?
W. T. Whitney
José Martí, Soul of the Cuban Revolution
Uri Avnery
May Your Home Be Destroyed          
Wim Laven
Year One Report Card: Donald Trump Failing
Jill Richardson
There Are No Shithole Countries
Bob Fitrakis - Harvey Wasserman
Are the Supremes About to Give Trump a Second Term?
Laura Finley
After #MeToo and #TimesUp
Howard Lisnoff
Impressions From the Women’s March
Andy Thayer
HuffPost: “We Really LOVED Your Contributions, Now FUCK OFF!”
Weekend Edition
January 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Dr. King’s Long Assassination
David Roediger
A House is Not a Hole: (Not) Caring about What Trump Says
George Burchett
How the CIA Tried to Bribe Wilfred Burchett
Mike Whitney
Trump’s Plan B for Syria: Occupation and Intimidation
Michael Hudson – Charles Goodhart
Could/Should Jubilee Debt Cancellations be Reintroduced Today?
Marshall Auerback – Franklin C. Spinney
Boss Tweet’s Generals Already Run the Show
Andrew Levine
Remember, Democrats are Awful Too
James Bovard
Why Ruby Ridge Still Matters
Wilfred Burchett
The Bug Offensive
Brian Cloughley
Now Trump Menaces Pakistan
Ron Jacobs
Whiteness and Working Folks
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Keeper of Crazy Beats: Charlie Haden and Music as a Force of Liberation
Robert Fantina
Palestine and Israeli Recognition
Jan Oberg
The New US Syria “Strategy”, a Recipe For Continued Disaster
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
The Return of the Repressed
Mel Gurtov
Dubious Partnership: The US and Saudi Arabia
Robert Fisk
The Next Kurdish War Looms on the Horizon
Lawrence Davidson
Contextualizing Sexual Harassment
Jeff Berg
Approaching Day Zero
Karl Grossman
Disaster Island
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail