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Media Centre  |  COSATU Speeches

COSATU Deputy President, Zingiswa Losi address at Freedom Park, Tshwane on the 8th March, 2016 marking the Israeli Apartheid Week

10 March 2016

How symbolically ironic that we are at Freedom Park today, the 8th March which is International Women’s day. We salute all women for their glorious role in our liberation struggle and that of other peoples anywhere in the world. We wish to dedicate this day to the gallant fighting Palestinian women as a fitting tribute to their glorious struggle against apartheid and colonialism. It is a struggle that all women in the world must feel as their own. In this regard, we need a painful reminder why we are here and for what reason are we gathered here tonight.

About 22 years ago, our common struggles as the people of South Africa and all our dear friends the world over, decisively ended something that the UN correctly described as a crime against humanity, that is the shame of apartheid and colonialism on our shores.

This was a system based on the most bizarre and backward forms of racism, discrimination and colonial aggression. It dehumanises people with such savage cruelty that no person ever again, must have to endure or go through that which we went through in our beloved country.

Unfortunately, we are gathered here today in 2016 to still feel and share in the pains of this horrendous and evil system, which is still alive to date elsewhere in the world. We are gathered to commemorate and reflect on the crimes committed against fellow human beings by this shameful and tragic system called apartheid in Palestine by Israel.

The people of Palestine are crying out loud for our solidarity, not charity. They want our support and practical commitment to a cause we don’t need invitation to, because it is our cause too. Why should we always be reminded that we have not completed the mission for which we waged heroic struggles against, together with the rest of the progressive humanity? In Palestinian jails, children and women are being tortured for demanding what rightfully belongs to them.

Let me briefly extract from the wise words of our dear leader and former President, Nelson Mandela, “Our struggle is incomplete without the liberation of the Palestinians”, this he said clearly that we know it too well ourselves. We regard the suffering of the Palestinian people as our own suffering and pain too.

How dare we claim to be free when apartheid and colonialism still live and ravage the lives of millions of people in the Middle east and the world in general as a result of a regional bully called Israel? How dare we remain so calm as if all has become normal, when the horror is unfolding right in front of our own eyes?

The world multilateral system, particularly the UN, which has become a foreign policy desk of the US and its surrogates in the EU, must be ashamed to condone and allow such barbarism to unfold in front of us, whilst claiming to be the defenders and champions of human dignity. The US has vetoed and literally blocked, bullied and forced the whole world to condone and celebrate the savagery of Israel with such unbelievable impunity.

The US funds Israel to massacre more and more Palestinians, it funds Egypt to block and obliterate the fighting forces of the Palestinian people. It funds all the stooges of imperialism in the Middle east to enforce the agenda of apartheid and colonialism against the people of Palestine. So much for a world of democracy and freedom, that we are told they leading all of us towards.

In South Africa, we won over apartheid because the rest of the world stood by us, when those who support Israel today stood firmly against us, funding apartheid and its mercenary forces till its death end.

We are proud to stand tall with our Cuban comrades, those who refused to be bullied against our cause. They shed Cuban blood on African soil in defence of our dignity and that of all Africans, epitomised by the great victory at Cuito Cuanavale in Angola.

Addressing the 7th Congress of the SACP, 1st April, 1989 former ANC President Oliver Tambo said, “to paraphrase Cde Fidel Castro: After Cuito Cuanavale, the history of Africa will have to be written anew”. How far are we determined to back up our words of solidarity with others? What price are we prepared to pay for others, if others paid the blood of fellow country men and women, to express their profound and practical understanding and commitment of what solidarity means.

True, to their profound and outstanding internationalism, the Cubans have no Israeli embassy in their country or any tie with that racist regime. What other way to show your seriousness that apartheid, occupation and colonialism are evils we must fight with all the energies at our disposal? How else can we be viewed in serious light than to send a clear message to all friends and supporters of apartheid the world over, that it is a crime against humanity.

It was bad for South Africans and it is bad for Palestinians. How dare we associate with such people who openly enact racist laws everyday, to keep out and legalise the killing and discrimination against the Palestinian people. New settlements are being built everyday in land belonging to the Palestinian people and they being kicked out daily to make way for settlers, a mission well funded by the captains of global power.

We also condemn the British government and few other European governments for legalising their support for apartheid and colonialism in Israel, by outlawing legitimate activities of the Global BDS movement, aimed at peacefully pressurising Israel to end apartheid and occupation. In the same way that those who supported apartheid in South Africa failed and so did their global supporters, those who support apartheid in Israel will fail.

We stand ready and determined to do all it takes to ensure the total obliteration of racism, apartheid and colonialism anywhere in the world. As we express our disappointment with some few trade union elements that stand in support of apartheid in Israel, as they did in the case of South Africa, we are inspired by the ever growing BDS movement in the belly of the beast, that is in the United States itself.

The Zionist lobby is desperate and funding all sorts of forces that spread and promotes the apartheid state of Israel, but they will be defeated by the mighty wave and Tsunami of global forces for a free and democratic Palestine. We shall be counted amongst those who steadfastly stood when money and bullying was against the truth, we still stand and will forever stand with our brothers and sisters in Palestine. We feel your pains and sufferings and shall never forsake you for whatever short term comforts and false hoods.

We call on our government to be more decisive and end all trade and whatever remains of the dealings with the apartheid state of Israel. We call on the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to stop funding controversial projects that sustain the apartheid state of Israel and its surrogates. Our campaign against Woolworths and all who support and nurture the apartheid economy must be intensified

Finally, we call on all those who say they stand for international law to stop pandering to opportunism and their imperialist funders. The South African Litigation Centre and the whole media in our country fought against Al Bashir being In South Africa for having committed crimes against humanity, but a war criminal in the form of Shimon Peres former President of the apartheid state of Israel was here, freely and proudly defending his unacceptable crimes against the Palestinian people, and the SALC and their likes, were conspicuous by their silence. The media never said a thing about his true record and facts. What international law is that?

May the BDS movement grow from strength to strength and may all forces against human dignity be made to feel that the truth must and shall triumph

Bongani Masuku (International Relations Secretary)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street
Braamfontein

Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct 010 219-1337
Fax: +27 11 339-5080
Mobile: +27 79 499 6419
E-Mail: bongani@cosatu.org.za

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