I’m continually asked for my opinion on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I have strong convictions and i’m appalled by how many people i encounter who show their racism and bias whilst being totally ignorant of facts and reality. For them, somehow, racism is to be avoided in a South African context but is OK in an international context – it isn’t! All that shows is who they really are deep down inside… and that has been particularly uncomfortable for me, on a personal level, to discover about people i like.
It is hard for me to hold my tongue but, like other international topics, i may occasionally touch lightly on them here, so as to inform you, but do my best not to let them derail Knysna Keep’s purpose which must be, most importantly, about us living locally.
The continual caring more about what happens every else in the world than what is happening in our backyards is impractical. We must be worldly informed, contributive and loving but with the realisation that having an opinion about some place faraway is easy. Having an opinion about your home town is far harder because it more easily rings hollow if it isn’t followed by action (which is why so many are silent here).
However, i encourage you to watch The Frayed Angels of Gaza, the short video above which eloquently and powerfully puts the situation into a human perspective that very much matters.
Politically, on the South African front, we all know where the ANC and EFF stand on the issue. The DA has always been muddy on it, sometimes accused of favouritism towards their alleged Jewish financiers, but Helen Zille, the leader of the Democratic Alliance, finally took a small, personal position in her latest newsletter which i’m sure many of you will be interested to read:
“I am open to other views. But until new or different facts come to light, my position is this:
On the basis of an acceptance by Hamas of Israel’s right to exist, I believe that Israel should end its occupation of all Palestinian territories based on the 1967 borders; that Jerusalem should be a shared capital of both an Israeli and Palestinian state; that Hamas should stop digging tunnels to attack Israel; that Israel should end the siege and blockade of Gaza, withdraw its settlements from the West Bank and recognize the Palestinian unity government.
And as mutual trust grows and suicide bombs cease, the West Bank barrier (referred to as an “apartheid wall” by the Palestinians; and a “security fence” by the Israelis) should come down. And ideally, as confidence returns, all Middle East refugees – including the Christians from Mosul, the Shia from Tikrit, and the Palestinians from Israel – should be able to return to their homes and live in peace and freedom.
I have a limited knowledge of the Middle East and have never been there. Based on what I have read, these are my views. Not everyone in the DA agrees with them. And many, on both sides of the conflict, do not believe it is possible.”
Never have an opinion without first placing yourself into a hypothetical: What if an opposing force were bombing the suburbs and businesses of Knysna in an attempt to kill drug dealers and bad cops. Would the intent, justified or not, make the destruction of our lives understandable?