In the West Bank city of Ramallah sits a six-metre-tall bronze statue of Nelson Mandela, donated by the South African city of Johannesburg in 2016. A reminder of the long-standing bond and kinship that the laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize shared with the Palestinian people.
“Although South Africa was liberated from senseless violence and oppression, he was able to recognize that our freedom will only be complete when the Palestinian people are free,” said Siyabulela Mandela, the great-grandfather -son of Nelson Mandela.
Young Mandela, an independent consultant on human rights, peace and conflict resolution, spoke with National World CupFarah Nasser in Toronto where he was interviewed on stage at the annual Journalists for Human Rights gala.
“I think he would be very, very disappointed,” he said, “by today’s leaders and the decisions they are making to the extent of what is happening now.”
Mandela said his great-grandfather, South Africa’s first black president, was considered idealistic because he believed there was a solution to apartheid in his country and people would view that as a miracle if it happened – and it did.
“The world looked at us and marveled at us as a miracle. This is not a miracle, it is two conflicting parties realizing that violence will never resolve the conflict. They should find other ways to resolve this conflict,” he said.
Nelson Mandela died in 2013, when Siyabulela was in his twenties. His great-grandfather’s fight for justice inspired him to complete his doctorate in psychology in international relations and conflict management at Nelson Mandela University in South Africa.
“One of the worrying issues is that the values that we hold dear as members of society and now the values that our ancestors fought for, the values that they were imprisoned for – are under threat,” he said. -he declares.
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Mandela criticizes world leaders for not pushing for a ceasefire.
“If you talk about ceasefire, you are looked at with questionable judgment and how this is happening in a world that is supposed to be democratic, free and fair,” he said.
South Africa recalled its Israeli diplomats last week to assess its relations with that country as civilian casualties mount in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
South Africa has long sided with the Palestinians, comparing their plight to that of South Africa before the end of apartheid in 1994.
“Israel’s 55 years of occupation of Palestine are apartheid,” said Michael Lynk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, “a political regime that intentionally gives the prioritization of the fundamental political, legal and social rights of one group over another in the same context. space on the basis of racial, national and ethnic identity.
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Over the years, Israeli governments have rejected criticism that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, despite security challenges.
Israel’s Western allies have also renounced this label. In July, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring that Israel is not a “racist or apartheid state.”
Mandela says it is clear what is happening and his family has experienced it firsthand.
“The signs indicate that every step, from land dispossession to systemic violence, to continued occupation and continued senseless violence, to the genocides that are occurring, shows the effect of the exact characteristics of the apartheid regime. was in South Africa,” Mandela said.
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A group of several U.N. special rapporteurs said Thursday there was “evidence of growing incitement to genocide” against the Palestinian people in what it called “grave violations” by Israel.
Israel has previously said the allegations of genocide were deplorable and that its actions targeted militants from the Hamas group that rules Gaza, not civilians. Israel accuses Hamas of hiding behind civilians and setting up command centers under hospitals, which Hamas denies.
“We must criticize Hamas for its senseless violence against civilians. This should be considered a war crime. And the same in the same vein. What Israel is doing, the senseless violence against a civilian, should also be called a war crime. It should also be legal as a crime against humanity,” Mandela said.
— With files from Reuters
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