Israeli Apartheid Week 2016 is a global campaign that aims to raise awareness of the apartheid state of Israel and the Palestinian plight for freedom and justice. As a South African, apartheid is all too familiar and unwelcome.
The history between Israel and Palestine is complex. To summarise, Israel is an apartheid state as there is (violent and destructive) displacement, Jewish-only areas, forced segregation, travel restrictions, mandatory identification, maintained illegal occupation, violence, illegal detention, segregation of resources and a wall to separate Israel, based upon race and/or religion. For useful infographics, click here.
One of my favourite artists, Banksy has created an incredibly moving video to illustrate what life is like in Gaza. I highly recommend watching this mock travel destination video. It takes art to war-torn Gaza, illustrating the harsh realities that exist for Palestinians.
People often ask me why I get involved (because lets face it, its unfortunately unusual) and the answer is always simply “why wouldn’t I?” and “how could I not?”. South Africa is a relatively new democracy and the detrimental effects of apartheid are still very visible in our society today. It is therefore astounding to me that people are able to justify and condone apartheid anywhere else in the world. The apartheid regime in South Africa was brought down in part due to sanctions, boycotts and disinvestments from the international community. This, along with the desire to bring peace and justice to the Palestinians, are the reasons that I unapologetically stand for this cause. In essence, it is a moral duty that I believe we all share.
I call on you to make a difference in the lives of the Palestinian people, by:
- finding out as much information as you can regarding the realities of life in Israel and Palestine. Use this to create awareness
- Get involved in organisations and campaigns
- Wear a keffiyeh to show your solidarity and support
Israeli Apartheid Week may have come to an end, but there is still a lot that needs to be done to raise awareness and bring an end to the repressive regime. I urge you to support the fight for freedom, justice and equality.