Long Roads to Freedom

Palestine and the South African precedent. Ronnie Kasrils spoke at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow on March 20, 2009 — an Eden Springs-free venue — at a lecture organized by Pulsemedia.org and Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

– During the years of apartheid rule in South Africa, Ronnie Kasrils was a leader in the banned ANC and its military wing Umkonto we Sizwe
– Hunted by the security police, he was described by them as ‘armed and dangerous’
– Kasrils served as a government minister in post-Apartheid South Africa until 2008
– Today Kasrils is an activist in the Palestine Solidarity Committee, South Africa
– The Palestine Solidarity Committee in South Africa has won dock workers there to a policy of boycotting all Israeli ships that dock in South African ports
In quotes:

“I will state clearly, without exaggeration, that any South African, whether involved in the freedom struggle, or motivated by basic human decency, who visits the Occupied Palestinian Territories are shocked to the core at the situation they encounter and agree with Archbishop Tutu’s comment that what the Palestinians are experiencing is far worse than what happened in South Africa, where the Sharpeville massacre of 69 civilians in 1960 became international symbol of apartheid cruelty.”

“With that moral advantage, on the basis of a just liberation struggle, we learnt the secret of Vietnam’s victory and strategies according to what we termed our Four Pillars of Struggle:
Political mass struggle; reinforced by armed struggle; clandestine underground struggle; and international solidarity.”

“But unquestioningly, what helped tip the balance, in Vietnam and South Africa, was the force and power of international solidarity action. It took some 30 years but the worldwide Anti-Apartheid Movements campaigns – launched in London in 1959 – for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – not only provided international activists with a practical role, but became an incalculable factor in (a) isolating and weakening the apartheid regime (b) inspiring the struggling people (c) undermining the resolve of those states that supported and benefited from relations with apartheid South Africa, (d) generated a change of attitude amongst the South African white public generally, and political, business, professional, academic, religious and sporting associations in particular. Boycott made them feel the pinch in their pocket and their polecat status everywhere – whether on the sporting fields, at academic or business conventions, in the world of theatre and the arts they were totally shunned like biblical lepers. There was literally no place to hide from universal condemnation backed by decisive and relentless action which in time became more and more creative.”

Author: Idrees Ahmad

I am a Lecturer in Digital Journalism at the University of Stirling and a former research fellow at the University of Denver’s Center for Middle East Studies. I am the author of The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War (Edinburgh University Press, 2014). I write for The Observer, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Al Jazeera, Dissent, The National, VICE News, Huffington Post, In These Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, Die Tageszeitung (TAZ), Adbusters, Guernica, London Review of Books (Blog), The New Arab, Bella Caledonia, Asia Times, IPS News, Medium, Political Insight, The Drouth, Canadian Dimension, Tanqeed, Variant, etc. I have appeared as an on-air analyst on Al Jazeera, the BBC, TRT World, RAI TV, Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon, Alternative Radio with David Barsamian and several Pacifica Radio channels.

One thought on “Long Roads to Freedom”

  1. Though i recommend listening to the whole talk more than once , if you are in a rush then his excellent precise and concise extraction of the non-symbiosis relationship between zionism and Judaism is explained from 48-52 minutes , namely that zionism is a political doctrine whose rightful criticism is not anti-semetic at all.If anything Zionism is the last anti-semetic philosophy that enjoys official approval in this age.

    The very important section on the 4 Pillars of Struggle is from 54 minutes onwards.Including the very important element directly relating to us outside Palestine in that we must show solidarity and not LECTURE to the People struggling on the ground.Especially those lectures that ask them to embrace an export of a failed revolution ideology.

    Also the questions and answers segment contains an oft-stated fundamental divergence from the South African and Palestinian experience in that the Boycott of South Africa was called by the ANC themselves , whilst Fatah have not called one and through the concession of the Oslo Accords may never be in a position to do so.

    This means we have to adopt a partisan position of accepting that the Palestinian People have rejected fatah/PLO and in order to support them we have to support the Civil Society Boycott call over and above the official western supported PA apparatus.

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