By Josette Madonia
Arizona Community Press | www.azcommunitypress.org
“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” -Nelson Mandela, 1997
On Tuesday, March 5th at Arizona State University’s main campus, Students for Justice in Palestine-ASU, showed the documentary film, Roadmap to Apartheid. The film, narrated by Alice Walker, shows the parallels of the struggles in Palestine with apartheid in South Africa. Some of those parallels discussed in the film are:
- that the oppressors in both cases consider themselves victims and survivors who both now use military law to rule over people,
- there are checkpoints throughout both countries used to control movements of groups of people,
- there were demolitions of homes for both the people in Palestine and the blacks in South Africa,
- groups of oppressed people in both countries were arrested and held in prison without trial (Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years in prison; there are some Palestinians that are being held for over 30 years). Since 1967, 700,000 Palestinians have been jailed. That is more political prisoners than in South Africa. Another distinction is that more than 350 children are political prisoners in Palestine.
The film noted that the Israeli West Bank barrier is twice as long as the “green line” that separates the West Bank and Gaza from the rest of Israel. This is because the wall twists throughout Palestine to create ghettos surrounded by the wall on all sides of the city. For those who want to see a side of the Israel-Palestine conflict that is not shown on television, the film is a must-see.
From the Roadmap to Apartheid website:
Read Roger Waters’ letter to fellow artists calling on them to join the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, here. Regarding the “We Shall Overcome” video:
We worked on this video with Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. It’s a tribute to the people of Gaza. In his words – “Over the new year 2009-2010, an international group of 1500 men and women from 42 nations went to Egypt to join a Freedom March to Gaza. They did this to protest the current blockade of Gaza. To protest the fact that the people of Gaza live in a virtual prison. To protest the fact that a year after the terror attack by Israeli armed forces destroyed most of their homes, hospitals, schools, and other public buildings, they have no possibility to rebuild because their borders are closed. The would be Freedom Marchers wanted to peacefully draw attention to the predicament of the Palestinian population of Gaza. The Egyptian government, (funded to the tune of $2.1 billion a year, by us, the US tax payers), would not allow the marchers to approach Gaza. How lame is that? And how predictable! I live in the USA and during this time Dec 25th 2009-Jan3rd 2010 I saw no reference to Gaza or the Freedom March or the multi national protesters gathered there. Anyway I was moved, in the circumstances, to record a new version of “We shall overcome”. It seems appropriate.”
Video of “We Shall Overcome” performed by Roger Waters: