Thursday, September 10, 2009

An Open letter to Mr. Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa

By Dr. Haidar Eid - Gaza

"Dear Mr. President,

I am writing to express my dismay and disappointment with both your attendance at the national conference of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies - a racist organization by any standards - as well as the content of your speech at that forum.

I am a naturalised South African of Palestinian origin. I spent more than five years in Johannesburg, during which I earned a PhD from the University of Johannesburg and lectured at the-then Vista University in Soweto and Rand Afrikaans University in Johannesburg.

I would like to take issue with the manner in which you express your support for the two-state solution: "It is a solution that fulfils the aspirations of both parties for independent homelands through two states for two peoples, Israel and an independent, adjoining, and viable state of Palestine" (emphasis mine). Allow me, Mr. President, as a resident of Gaza, to express my shock with the fact that - only 8 months after the Gaza massacre, in which 1500 civilians, including 434 children, were brutally murdered - you still believe that there are two symmetrical sides. You even call it the "Israeli-Palestinian conflict!" Was that your belief in the 1970's and 80's; that there were "two-sides" to the South African "conflict"? Were there two equal parties, namely White and Black, with equal claim to the land and equal historical responsibility for the-then status quo? No doubt, this sounds like a bizarre interpretation of South African history and one which we Palestinians find equally astounding when applied to our history and our reality today......."

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