Rima Khalaf's resignation, under pressure to suppress factual and legal findings unfavorable to Israel, will send a chilling message to other UN officials that they are better off serving those in power than in upholding any mandate to advance human rights and respect for international law.
Rima Khalaf resigned as executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia(ESCWA) after the agency was forced to retract a report stating that Israel is an "apartheid regime." Khalaf's letter of resignation to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was translated and posted by poet Lena Khalaf Tuffaha on her Facebook page.
Two recommendations from the report stand out. First, it asks that the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel. Second, the report urges that UN member states allow criminal prosecutions of Israeli officials connected with the practices of apartheid against the Palestinian people. Since most of the world's states have signed the Convention Against Apartheid, they are now obliged to act.
The racist policies of Israel constitute the internationally recognized crime of apartheid against Palestinians. As was the case for South Africa under minority white supremacist rule, it is imperative to think seriously about the nature of Israel's constitutional order and about how to deepen anti-racist alliances and solidarities across borders on behalf of the Palestinian people.
Negotiations did not produce the state of Israel. From 1917 when the Jews procured the dubious Balfour Declaration right up to independence three decades later, the Jews conducted themselves in a manner that could have made the murderers of today's ISIS and Boko Haram look like saints. So, why do some people encourage Palestinians to embrace negotiations as the way to their freedom?
March 21 is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. A notable cultural icon in the struggle against racism is Jamaican reggae artiste Peter Tosh. He was an internationalist and linked the fight of Africans against racism, settler-colonialism and apartheid in Southern Africa with the struggle of the Palestinians against Zionism and Israeli apartheid.
Black people are quickly labeled racist any time we raise our voice against white supremacy. It is racism fighting back. It is meant to silence us. We should not openly express what we feel and know. As Black people we should not own our experiences and history. No. We are instead supposed to become complicit in our oppression by attributing our suffering to everything else except white supremacy.
If Steve Biko – the iconic leader of South Africa's Black Consciousness Movement - were alive today, what would he make of the Afrophobia/xenophobia in South Africa? Would he stridently denounce it – unlike South Africa's leaders – and seek to foster a new sense of self-love in the transformed slogan: "Black is Beautiful! Be Proud of your Blackness and the Blackness of other Africans!"?
De Klerk succeeded in shaping post-apartheid South Africa in deep and fundamental ways. Every policy he spelt out in his 1990 speech has been faithfully followed by successive administrations of the ANC. This is why so many black South Africans feel that their dreams are unrealised. It also explains why there is so much confidence among white racists that their positions of power are untouchable.
Popular former President Aristide survived an assassination attempt this week against the backdrop of increased violence in the world's first black republic. The mandate of the deeply resented UN occupying force MINUSTAH ends in April and is set to be renewed. The violence is orchestrated to justify continued imperialist intervention that benefits foreigners and their local henchmen.
Hundreds of popular organizations, networks and movements of Latin America and the Caribbean launched a Week of Solidarity with Haiti, March 15-22, with a petition demanding the total withdrawal of the troops that occupy that country and closure of the UN Mission (MINUSTAH). They also want the UN to provide reparations for violations and crimes against the Haitian people.
An American manufactured helicopter attacked a vessel carrying Somalis fleeing from the war-torn state of Yemen killing 42. Somalia supports the US-backed Yemeni regime against the Houthi forces. But it is well known that Yemeni forces and their allies continue to target civilians in the war and prevent the transport of essential goods and services from reaching millions of people inside the country.
Historically, the state is a transient phenomenon. Where are the world's once great empires? Europe, with just a third of Africa's population, has produced 23 new states since the late 1980s. There is no point in insisting that the Igbo people, victims of Africa's worst – and ongoing – genocide, who want their own state, must remain a part of Nigeria.
World Poetry Day was marked on Tuesday, March 21. Throughout Africa, spoken word art is taking firm roots, especially when it explores social issues. Spoken Word artist Valentine Onyeka Ogunaka aka Brainbox from Nigeria shares his experience.
Namibia marked its 27th independence anniversary on Tuesday. Despite the government's populist rhetoric, Namibia remains a rich country with poor people. Redistribution of wealth is mainly limited to a new black elite. These are office bearers, party stalwarts and those with close ties to the state. They thrive through a policy of so-called affirmative action and black economic empowerment.
In the four years Uhuru Kenyatta has been in power, the country has accumulated huge debts that will take ages to settle. Official theft of public money stands at a third of the national budget. Kenyatta's authoritarian tendencies have seen a shrinking of democratic space. Kenya is deeply divided along ethnic lines. As the August elections approach, it is increasingly clear that a new leadership is needed.
What is the state of activism in Africa today? How effective is activism in bringing about the transformations that are needed to improve the lives of the African people? What should be done better? Pambazuka News invites articles exploring different perspectives on this theme.
CCPAU is a Pan-Africanist network of national, regional and continental African civil society organisations and citizens, which facilitates deeper engagement of African civil society organisations and citizens with regional and continental policies and programmes. CCPAU's mandate extends to ensuring that the continent has its people at its centre and not governments, and that decision-making is driven by, and accountable and accessible to African citizens.
An opportunity for activists and scholars to contribute to a series of three linked workshops in Africa. Each two-day meeting will debate current challenges and prospects for Left analysis and action. We are seeking both key speakers and offers of papers, with a plan to publish a selection in the Review of African Political Economy.
Deadlines for abstracts: . Accra meeting – June 2017 . Dar es Salaam – November 2017 . Johannesburg – January 2018.
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Henry Makori and Tidiane Kasse - Editors, Pambazuka News