‘The Triple Evils of economic exploitation, racism and militarism are forms of violence that exist in a vicious cycle. They are interrelated (and), all-inclusive…’’
Martin Luther King 1967
Today July 18th we mark the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.
In 2018 the world marks anniversaries of three inter-linked movements that spanned the 20th and into the 21st century.
Civil Rights, Anti-Apartheid and Palestine Freedom Struggles
Mandela Centenary 1918-2018
Palestine Nakba -‘Catastrophe’ 1948.
MLK Assassination 1968
All three struggles faced King’s ‘triple evils’: racism and far right organising; bearing the brunt of a massive security and military establishment; economic exploitation. But the power of effective domestic and international solidarity economic, academic, cultural and sporting boycotts is also a critical part of their shared story.
In 1948, the same year as the Palestinian Nakba which saw zionist militia ethnically cleanse more 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland and destroy more than 500 palestinian villages, South africa formally adopted the apartheid regime.
“Apartheid was an extension of the colonial project to dispossess
people of their land. That is exactly what has happened in Israel and the occupied
territories; the use of force and the law to take the land. That is what apartheid
and Israel have in common.’’
Ronnie Kasrils, the Jewish South African cabinet minister and former ANC guerrilla, Jerusalem, February 2009.
“Expelling people from their homes is a war crime. As well as preventing them from returning. Israel didn’t just commit a war crime in 1948 but continues to commit one to this day.’’
Salman Abu Sitta, Author of Atlas of Palestine 1948
MANDELA, the ANC & the PLO
June 1961 Letter From Underground, Nelson Mandela wrote:
“The histories of our two peoples, Palestinian and South African, correspond in such painful and poignant ways, that I intensely feel myself being at home amongst compatriots’’
“We identify with the PLO, because just like ourselves they are fighting for the right of self determination.”
“Yesterday’s South African township dwellers can tell you about today’s life in the Occupied Territories… More than an emergency is needed to get to a hospital; less than a crime earns a trip to jail… If apartheid ended, so can the occupation. But the moral force and international pressure will have to be just as determined. The current divestment effort is the first, though certainly not the only, necessary move in that direction.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
CIVIL RIGHTS FREEDOM RIDERS INSPIRE THE PALESTINIAN MOVEMENT
MARTIN LUTHER KING & MANDELA
In 1955, at the age of 25, young Memphis pastor Martin Luther King was asked to become the churches lead on the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It took more than a year, but it was successful in its aim to desegregate the buses. Economic boycotts were to become a critical tool in King’s strategy – right up to the end. In his final ‘mountaintop’ speech, the night before he was murdered, he was calling for the boycott of Coca-Cola.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr City Temple London 7th December 1964
Clearly there is much in Mississippi and Alabama to remind the South Africans of their own country… great leaders, like Nelson Mandela and Robert Sobukwe, are among the many hundreds wasting away in Robben Island prison… It is in this situation, with the great mass of South Africans denied their humanity, their dignity, denied opportunity, denied all human rights; it is in this situation, with many of the bravest and best South Africans serving long years in prison, with some already executed; in this situation we in America and Britain have a unique responsibility, for it is we, through our investments, through our governments’ failure to act decisively, who are guilty of bolstering up the South African tyranny…. If the United Kingdom and the United States decided tomorrow morning not to buy South African goods, not to buy South African gold, to put an embargo on oil, if our investors and capitalists would withdraw their support for that racial tyranny that we find there, then apartheid would be brought to an end. Then the majority of South Africans of all races could at last build the shared society they desire.
BOYCOTT DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS
This movement is led by Palestinian civil society and inspired by the South African apartheid movement and boycott effort. It calls for BDS until Israel complies with international law with regard to occupation of land, discrimination against Palestinians and refugees right of return. Ending Israeli apartheid is at its heart.
In 2012, Mandela’s party, the African National Congress (ANC) which is also the ruling party of South Africa, formally endorsed and adopted as part of its official policy, the Palestinian call for Boycott,Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
The BDS Movement in the USA is growing year on year as well as across Europe
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
’Only through hardship, sacrifice, and militant action can freedom be won…’’
It’s time to MAKE APARTHEID HISTORY – Once and For All.
Find out more
Read Solidarity, People Power and 10 years of BDS
Read 10 things you should know about BDS