WHY ARE AFRICAN PROGRESSIVE CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS SILENT ON THE GENOCIDE IN PALESTINE?
Everywhere in the world´s largest cities there are massive rallies by ordinary people either opposing their government´s position on the massacre of civilians in Gaza or just standing in Solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Parliaments all around the world are a theatre for robust debates about Israel, Gaza and Palestine with a majority of government standing behind Palestine and condemning the Israeli government for the genocide in Gaza.
The protests all over the world are organised by students, trade unions, civil society, progressive political parties, NGO´s and church bodies. Think of any major city in the World from Athens to Rome from New York to Midrand people are standing up for the people of Palestine.
Yet, quite astonishingly, Africans, the biggest beneficiaries of global solidarity against colonialism, are silent. It is not governments that are organising these solidarity marches all over the world. It is ordinary people, sometimes in conflict with the positions of their governments.
The ANC rally in support of Palestine
Yet it would be difficult to recall any city where marches are being held in support of Palestine in the continent save for a few here and there. In Africa progressive trade unions, civil society, churches, political parties and students are not doing what they demand of the world when they face problems.
Only in South Africa, Senegal, Egypt, Libya and Kenya where ordinary people stood up to support the Palestinians with the majority of us mourning in silent murmurs. This lack of empathy for a colonised people who have suffered the same dispossession Africans know better of is telling of how weak and fractured progressive civil society is in the continent. We have told the world that only solidarity is important when we demand it.
It was Thabo Mbeki who a few years ago decried the dearth of progressive Pan Africanist movements that could galvanise African support for progressive causes. Mbeki wondered what happened to the Pan African students associations, Pan African progressive church groups, pan African trade union solidarity. Their absence can be felt now. It is in such moments that we remember Mbeki´s concerns.
An EFF rally in Pretoria to support Palestine
It is painful seeing the complicity of our governments in the murder of Palestinian women and children but it is even more tragic when we ordinary people cannot stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine. Credit must be given to South Africa though for their unequivocal support for Palestine and showing the world we too are a people of conscience. Sadly, in the region, no one has emulated the example of South Africa´s civil society. From the land to the sea, Palestine will be free.