Pambazuka News has a list of protests across African against the War on Gaza though I have to say it is somewhat sickening to see Sudanese people amongst the protesters given the “crimes against humanity”committed by their own leaders – would have been far more meaningful if they had also protested against the genocide in Darfur. We cannot be selective about injustices. Tajudeen Abdul Raheem develops this idea in his article “Saying no to the Israeli massacre” referring to the global protests taking place since the beginning of the war and in particular the one in London last Saturday which I also took part in.
This is a massacre perpetrated by the mighty, merciless Israeli army, a force armed and actively supported by the US and NATO with the supine collaboration of Arab leaders, including the so-called moderate Palestinian leadership under the main Fatah organisation from its Bantustan enclaves in the West Bank.
There were initial fears that the cold would deter many from turning up for the march, but so deep is the outrage of many that they poured out in their thousands in all the major cities of Britain to call for an immediate ceasefire and end to the blockade.
Tajudeen goes on to explain the importance of these and other demonstrations against injustices are not necessarily that they will bring immediate change or end the war. Rather they need to be seen in their cumulative impact – for example protests against the South African apartheid regime AND as an expression of solidarity at the injustice taking place.
It is not enough for us to just look on and say to ourselves that what is going on is bad and simply change the channel. You can join the protest or organise one wherever you may be, write letters to newspapers and make use of feedback sessions in the media. You can also boycott Israeli goods in the shops like Jaffa oranges. Even if our governments, much like their Arab counterparts, are too compromised and cowardly to stand up to Israel, what about you and me?
There are many Africans who are confused about the Israel—Palestine conflict, believing it to be purely a case of Islam vs Judaism or Arab vs Jew. As a people who have known slavery, colonialism, and apartheid, how can we be so complacent about the right of others to a life of dignity and sovereignty over their own affairs?
Avi Shlaim – For some historical and recent context that is clearly forgotten or missing in most of the analysis on this war.
[There will be another protest march this Saturday 10th [starting in Hyde Park] Last week, there were between 20,000 and 30,000 drawn from a cross section of people from across the country. Also nightly protests outside the Israeli embassy which have included Jewish anti-Zionist groups and Rabbis from Neturei Karta