After immersing myself in all things Israel/Palestine for the past few
years, and working hard for some modicum of justice to be dealt to Palestinians
who have suffered so much only to be denied even recognition of their suffering,
I have tried to imagine what post-apartheid
First the good news: the willful ignorance of people refusing to see the oppression against Palestinians is eroding. Zionists are working overtime to make the oppression appear to be a kinder and more tolerable injustice, which I believe accounts for the gaining influence of organizations like J-Street. But those organizations' insistence on holding on to the main core tenet of the oppression, an ethnically pure state, means that people will sooner or later see through the bankrupt philosophy.
The plight of Palestinians and historical facts, rather than myths, are making their way into main stream discussion. From high school classes, to churches and grocery stores, in media, film, poetry, and literature, the Palestinian side of the story is finally being told.
An example of this reversal from myth to historical fact is found in
the work of Waziyatawin, a Dakota scholar and activist. In an earlier book, What does justice look like 1 she uses Herzl's
Jewish state as a model for how justice can be brought to indigenous Americans:
just as Jews returned to the land from which they were expelled, so should the
Native Americans return to their lands.
She has since renounced that model after learning about the ethnic
cleansing of Palestinians and she participated in a Women of Color delegation
It is no longer heresy to talk about any other solution than the (what has always been considered "reasonable") two-state solution. The one-state solution, a secular democratic state of all its citizens, each with equal rights and responsibilities, is no longer such a wild and crazy idea. In large part, the acceptance of this democratic idea into the discussion is due to international solidarity activism, mainly the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement (and I must give a shout out to an organization in which I am involved, Minnesota Break the Bonds Campaign).
I believe that it is a matter of time, and not a long time, that the
At the end of apartheid, international Palestinian solidarity activists will have to bow out. We're not asked to do more than to use economic and moral pressure to help bring about the end of this oppressive regime. I have no skills that could be useful to a new government or state. My past involvement in this issue gives me no credibility. My work is done.
So what will this new state look like? Does post-apartheid
My optimism ends at the certainty that there will be a post-apartheid
Less than 10 years after the adoption of the new South African Constitution, the democratic government of South Africa, led by Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress, was confidently declared a success.2 The 1996 Constitution took precedence over parliament (i.e. the legislators were sworn to uphold the Constitution, not their offices), federal and provincial/local governance was worked out, individual rights were given precedence over nationalities' rights, and systems of working with traditional group leadership were identified.
But by 2008, Johann Rossouw described the increasing xenophobic and
racist violence in
The post-Mandela South African government has shown characteristics of many post-colonial African governments: corruption, censorship of the press4, government cronies amassing immense wealth at the expense of the majority of the poverty stricken population, neglecting to provide services and infrastructure for those people. Much of this anti-democratic governance may be attributed to economic policies forced upon the new country by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)5, a new colonialism. This leads to statements by impoverished and unemployed residents of slums, that things were better under apartheid when, for some, at least there were jobs6.
Michelle Alexander's extremely disturbing book The New Jim
Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness 7,
describes systems of race-based control in the
Because this system appears to target only law-breakers, rather than
people of a certain race, most people in the