Apparently some time late last month Nelson Mandela was removed from the U.S. “terrorist” watch list. I found this out today reading an op-ed in the Daily Star. Somehow this missed my radar screen, likely because I was traveling at the time. But I think this is particularly instructive given how the western media continues to demonize Lebanese people today for celebrating their resistance fighters as heroes. Of course all sorts of racist terms have been used to describe Samir Quntar and the four Hezbollah fighters who returned home yesterday not the least of which is the term “terrorist.” No thought is given to the ways in which Lebanese and Palestinian people are constantly terrorized by Israeli Occupation Forces. This morning I awoke to an SMS news message that read: “Residents of Beirut and South Lebanon complained of an Israeli infiltration into the telephone network, delivering threatening messages.” This is the least of it.
I also think it is instructive to remind people how much the U.S. and Israel supported the apartheid regime in South Africa and enabled it in various ways sometimes for the U.S. under the guise of fighting Communism’s spread in the region. A recent article in the Independent documented a trip of South Africans to Palestine and their common feeling was:
“Even with the system of permits, even with the limits of movement to South Africa, we never had as much restriction on movement as I see for the people here,” said an ANC parliamentarian, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge of the West Bank. “There are areas in which people would live their whole lifetime without visiting because it’s impossible.”
Also of note is a friend’s recent piece in Electronic Intifada about his own experience being tortured in South Africa and comparing it to experiences in Palestine at the hands of the Israelis.
The comparisons are striking between South Africa and Palestine and just as the ANC had every right under international law to resist apartheid by any means necessary so too do the Palestinians, Lebanese, and Syrians until there are no more foreign occupation forces on one square inch of their soil.