Several years ago I wrote about the need for having a finger on the pulse of humanity. About how important it was to be able to empathise with suffering. With those in pain. I stand by that. So while my views on Palestine aren't quite aligned to mass Slumou hysteria the minute the topic is raised, it was with deepening dread, steadily mounting horror that I followed the tweets out of Gaza, tweeting and retweeting into the wee hours of the morning. Sleep evaded me. All I could focus on was the terror of Gaza as bombs rained down while politicians played their dirty games in plush offices.
As politicians paraded in designer suits, the swaddled remains of babies and young children were clutched to keening hearts before being laid to rest in sandy graves. The images out of Gaza were harrowing. And still politicians played their games waiting for the right moment to make the right gesture to ensure maximum effect, even as the death toll climbed. By the fourth day I’d reached a point where I could take no more. I was overwhelmed by the suffering. Despair settled. Hot and heavy. Social media, the immediacy of it all horrified me. What kind of world was it, I wondered, where such wanton murder could continue unchecked - even when there was an audience?
Tomorrow Benoni will host a rally in support of Gaza. I shall attend. Maybe I will feel less impotent if I do. The provincial secretary of the ANC will be present. It is, after all, election time and the Muslim vote is important (not to mention, moneyed).
The question I will be dying to ask is: Aside from making all the right noises when and where the ANC is expected to do so, why has our ANC government until now, not severed all trade relations with Israel? Annual trade between Israel and South Africa totalled $500 million USD as of 2003. I'm sure today, that figure must be much higher. One has merely to browse the fruit section of your local Woolies or Spar.
To quote wiki : Since the end of apartheid, South Africa's new government has been cold towards Israel and critical of Israel's policies towards Palestinians, but has nevertheless ignored calls from pro-Palestinian South African groups to sever relations between the two countries.
Also have a lookie here
See, the ANC have convinced us all that a vote for the DA will unleash pro Zionist sentiment in SA akin to the kind displayed by Jan Smuts whose government granted de facto recognition of Israel as a state a mere nine days after its Declaration of Independence in 1948. Muslim comrades within our communities have been very sure to drive the message home: The DA is Zionist/Jewish funded. Refuting that claim or even confirming it has been nigh impossible. Even Google doesn't know the answer. For now, bottom line: A vote or the DA = suffering for Muslims. Or so they claim.
So come elections, the conscientious Muslim will place his X next to the face of Zuma (please God, let it not be!), effectively endorsing hundreds of millions being stolen from state coffers cos he prefers the devil he knows to the one he doesn't.
And at the next pro Palestine rally, he’ll shake hands with ANC leaders, thank them for coming (as though any man needs to be thanked for speaking out against injustice). Trade relations between SA an Israel will be stronger than ever. And through it all Palestinian suffering will continue unabated.
vive le résistance!