OVER the next few weeks, activists on our campus and indeed on campuses around the world will rally together to commemorate Israeli Apartheid Week 2014 (IAW). Much has been said about this week of global activism, however, very little has been said about how you, an ordinary citizen, fit into this global picture. Why should you care about people on the other side of the world?
IAW is an annual series of events aimed at educating people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid state.
It will take place in over 250 cities around the world and has been endorsed by hundreds of organisations.[pullquote]”If you were asking why get involved, maybe you should rather be asking why not?”[/pullquote]
This week is crucial in raising awareness and providing information about Zionism, the Palestinian struggle for liberation and, more importantly for us, how their struggle has distinct parallels with ours as South Africans.
You may be wondering what exactly we mean when we say “Israeli Apartheid”.
In the most basic terms, this refers to the deliberate policy of racial or ethnic segregation perpetuated by the state of Israel. Under this system, millions of Palestinians live in conditions which are very similar to that of apartheid South Africa.
No right of free speech, arrest and imprisonment without trial or charge, torture and no right to vote for the government which controls their lives are but a few of the conditions that govern the day-to-day lives of Palestinians.
It is unnecessary to reiterate the long history of oppression which apartheid brought to the people of our country. What is important, however, is highlighting the fact that during our struggle, people around the world mobilised against apartheid South Africa.
Today, more than an opportunity, it becomes our duty to do our part for a people who continue to struggle against Israeli apartheid.
Apartheid is unacceptable – regardless of where you’re from.
We aren’t saying that you should stand on a picket line in the Gaza Strip, but we are asking that you consider the plight of the Palestinian people whilst you enjoy your freedoms. IAW, and indeed the Palestinian solidarity movement, is becoming increasingly fashionable; this is your chance to get involved in a global campaign, to use your Wits experience and contribute to something way beyond Jorrisen street and Empire road.
If you were asking why get involved, maybe you should rather be asking why not?
Pearl Pillay is a former SRC member, she is currently studying towards her masters in politics.