After a solid week of being dead, asleep, nearly dead, and then dead again, you may think that the death of the world's favourite terrorist came as no surprise to anyone? Well, the ANC Youth Leage (ANCYL) would prove you wrong. They are shocked by his death.
Their total obliviousness to current affairs reflects the level of intelligence and ignorance that you should continue to expect from the ANCYL.
Take a deep breath, then try read their hilarious press release.
ANCYL PAYS TRIBUTE TO YASSER ARAFAT 11 November 2004
The ANC Youth League is deeply shocked and saddened by the news of the passing of a great icon of liberation, a stalwart and a true leader who stood by his people at the worst of times and suffered with them. The world will never know anyone else like him (please God - Ed). Yasser Arafat has become the embodiment of human sacrifice, resilience and liberation.
As we dip our banners and fly our flags in half mast in honour of a man who became one with his people, we cry with the people of Palestine, and for this one moment in time, we have become one with the Palestinians.
Our tears will wash the path you have prepared for your people, while your blood will nourish the trees that will line the road to freedom for the peace-loving people of Palestine.
We draw inspiration from a man whose life and personal ambitions ceased to exist outside those of his people. Indeed, he became Palestine, and represented everything the people of Palestine aspired for. As a young lion his roars reverberated across continents and his leadership earned him enormous respect worldwide. We salute a commander, a patriot and a footsoldier who led from the front and tackled the enemy toe-to-toe on the battlefield in a fight to preserve the dignity of his people and reclaim what is rightfully theirs, their land.
It was through his unflinching leadership that the world took note of the cause of the people of Palestine and their fight against illegal dispossession of their land. The creation of the state of Israel in Palestine and the continued subjugation of the Palestinians represents the worst form of dispossession known to mankind. The children of Palestine continue to be humiliated, degraded, dispossessed, murdered, treated as third class citizens in their own land. They had ceased to be a nation in the eyes of the imperial forces led by Britain, France and America, but apiece of property to be shared and divided. Yasser Arafat's life was dedicated to restoring the dignity of his people that was stolen from them on that fateful day in 1922.
As we bare our souls and cry for the immense loss we have all suffered, we must strengthen our resolve to pick up his spear and advance in the battle to liberate Palestine from tyranny and subjugation and never fall victim to the hypocrisy of the world superpowers.
The world has failed Yasser Arafat and the people of Palestine. It is a grave injustice that he passed on before he could hold in his arms a Palestinian child born to peace and freedom.
The Sharon regime must be isolated by the world and the military junta at its head be put in his place, the rubbish bin of history. Similarly, the time has run out for American mediation in the Middle East peace process. Bush has demonstrated time and again that he can never be trusted in this process. People of Palestine deserve to be free citizens of the world like the rest of us. We therefore have an obligation to ensure that they are liberated from the bondages of oppression and racism. Their struggle is our struggle.
We salute a man who has taught us the value of freedom and to him and Palestinian people, we say ALUTA CONTINUA.
Your struggle lives on!
I'm thinking that the youths at the ANCYL failed to pick up on their unintentional humour when they call Arafat the "embodiment of human sacrifice".
Of course, if a tribute is written in favour of the terrorist, it has to be created in broad generalities, evading all facts lest the truth creep in. For a factual account of Arafat, see this Honest Reporting account of his life or this tale of his destruction at CAMERA. For more on his drawn out death in France, read this Daniel Pipes review.
(Hate Tip: Vaz Lube)
COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions ) and the SA NGO coalition (SANGOCO) have issued two press releases detailing their emphatic opposition to the visit of Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to South Africa.
COSATU display their open bias, stating their call for a political settlement that protects the rights of the Palestinians without mentioning the protection of Israeli rights.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions supports the call for a protest tomorrow, 20 October, against the visit of Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to South Africa and the signing of the Protection of Investments Agreement between South Africa and Israel.
Ehud Olmert, who is also the minister of trade and industry, is the deputy leader of a government which has murdered thousands of Palestinian civilians, assassinated their leaders and destroyed farms, orchards and infrastructure.
The federation reaffirms its full support for the right of the Palestine people to sovereignty and independence, demands the immediate withdrawal of all Israeli state forces from the Palestinian territories and calls for a political settlement of the conflict that fully protects the national rights of the people of Palestine.
The SANGOCO go further, calling Ehud Olmert a hate monger.
The visit of a hate monger like Olmert is not in the best interests of the people of Israel and Palestine. We urge all our members to show their displeasure at the visit and meeting by joining in the protests organised by local Palestian Solidarity Organisations. The lessons from our struggles against Apartheid is there for all to learn from: racists and hate-mongers must be made pariahs internationally. Then, they will experience and learn the vital lesson that negotiating with the people's leaders about a "just peace for all" in the region is preferable to the senseless killings and mayhem.
Vaz notes that COSATU have been in the news recently, calling for censorship in the media. COSATU member Phutas Tseki said "Parliament should review the absolute freedom the media has and some restrictions should be imposed," he told gathered delegates and MPs."
Read more about the Olmert protests here and here.
On Sunday I attended the SAJBD Gauteng Council Biennial conference, where one of the guest speakers, Mr Andre Zaaiman, addressed the sizzling topic of South Africa’s stance toward Israel.
Andre Zaaiman is a member of the Presidential Support Unit (PSU), which advises the Presidency and South African Government on international conflict areas. He has recognised competencies in the fields of strategy, learning and cognition as well as national security issues; with extensive field experience in Africa and the Middle East.
Refuting all accusations of South African bias toward the Palestinians, Mr Zaaiman detailed the three critical keys to South Africa’s foreign policy in general.
AFP reports claims by the German daily Die Welt newspaper that Syria tested chemical weapons on civilians in Darfur in June and that dozens of people were killed.
The story needs time to develop before it can be given much credibility. At the moment the paper has cited 'unnamed western security sources'. I expect the story will soon be strongly denied.
The German daily Die Welt newspaper, in an advance release of its Wednesday edition, citing unnamed western security sources, said that injuries apparently caused by chemical arms were found on the bodies of the victims.
It said that witnesses quoted by an Arabic news website called ILAF in an article on August 2 had said that several frozen bodies arrived suddenly at the "Al-Fashr Hospital" in the Sudanese capital Khartoum in June.
Die Welt said the sources had indicated that the weapons tests were undertaken following a military exercise between Syria and Sudan.
Syrian officers were reported to have met in May with Sudanese military leaders in a Khartoum suburb to discuss the possibility of improving cooperation between their armies.
According to Die Welt, the Syrians had suggested close cooperation on developing chemical weapons, and it was proposed that the arms be tested on the rebel SPLA, the Sudan People's Liberation Army, in the south.
But given that the rebels were involved in peace talks, the newspaper continued, the Sudanese government proposed testing the arms on people in Darfur.
Israeli officials meeting with SA officials in Pretoria on Tuesday said that they sense a "dramatic change" in SA's attitude to Israel.
South Africa has a tremendous influence of the people of Palestine and taking a more neutral stance on this conflict could help pave the road towards peace.
Mbeki invited Likud leaders to meet with current and former members of the South African government who participated in negotiations that ended close to half a century of white minority rule in 1994.
Ratzon is heading a nine-member delegation that includes Likud's director-general, Arik Barami. They arrived in South Africa last week and have held a number of private meetings, including talks with the country's main opposition Democratic Alliance. Ratzon said his delegation would be disussing improving relations between Jerusalem and Pretoria. "South Africa wants to upgrade relations," he said. Ratzon said the Likud delegation intends raising a few subjects, namely the state of Israel as the state of the Jewish nation, the Likud Party and the Israeli political map, conflict between Israelis and Arabs, the historical and political view from Israel, Likud's place in the political process and Israel's relationship with Africa and South Africa past and present.
The South African delegation includes former foreign affairs minister Pik Botha, former constitutional development minister Roelf Meyer, former South African Defense Force general Chris Theron, Minister of Safety and Security Charles Nqakula, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Defense Mosiuoa Lekota, and Intelligence Minister Ronny Kasrils. Kasrils, of Jewish descent, is known for his strong stance against Israel, and is the author of a petition called "not in my name" – a petition signed by some (Just 300-Ed) South African Jews condemning Israel's actions against Palestinian violence. Kasrils said inviting the delegation "is part of our strategic approach in terms of outreach. We may have been viewed suspiciously by Likud. But we hope to create enough momentum to find a resolution as South Africa did."
Israel is in a position where they have no choice but to accept invitations to South Africa for hypocritical talks. After all, lets not forget that SA presented an argument supporting the Palestinians' challenge to the security barrier earlier this year in the International Court of Justice. Just last week SA hosted the Non-Aligned Movement conference which, in its 'Declaration on Palestine', called not only for a boycott of Israeli goods made in the Palestinian territories, but also a ban on allowing settlers to visit NAM countries as tourists.
UPDATE at 08:28 on 08/09
Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein speaking with John Robbie (who praised God for sending Hurricane Frances to Florida) this morning said that he has noticed a very slight change of tone in SA's attitude with Israel. So as I suspected, the earlier reports of a dramatic change were incorrect.
Business Day reports that SA Foreign Minister Nkosazana DIamini- Zuma has rejected claims by a former Israeli ambassador that SA had snubbed his country when it sent an official, instead of a minister, to Jerusalem.
"There is no change in our policy insofar as the Middle East is concerned." Alon Uel, a former Israeli ambassador to SA, was quoted in an AFP report on Tuesday as saying that the visit to his country by Ayanda Ntsaluba, the director-general of the foreign affairs department, was in effect a snub.
Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad was touring the Middle East at the time, but did not visit Israel.
"The visit to Jerusalem of the ministry`s director-general should be seen as an additional sign of the deterioration in diplomatic relations," Uel said.
Pahad was due to meet officials in Iran and Syria, Israel`s arch enemies, over the next few days. He is also due in Egypt and Jordan.
"SA regularly sends us messages expressing its discontent over our policies in the (Palestinian) territories. It is sending us a mere functionary while its deputy chief diplomat goes to four other countries in the Middle East," Uel said. ` SA has been a vocal critic of Israel`s West Bank security barrier, and was one of the countries that gave evidence on behalf of the Palestinians at a landmark world court hearing earlier this year.
What worried me most is what Dlamini Zuma said in response to the snub allegation. She said the visit by Ntsaluba, and not Pahad, "is not an expression of particular support to Israel as opposed to the Palestinians".
No-one was accusing her of giving particular support to Israel! Of course sending the official instead of the minister is not an expression of particular support to Israel! Zuma's confusion is far more worrying to me than the actual snubbing of Israel. This is the type of disoriented comment we should continue to expect from our FM.
The IDF Ketziot prison recently received some unexpected vsistors.
Some South African papers have picked up the story.
JERUSALEM — Seven refugees from Sudan's war-torn Darfur region are being held in an Israeli prison after a marathon trek which took them across Egypt before they were picked up in the southern Negev desert, the Jerusalem Post reported yesterday. The Sudanese inmates said they were delighted to have made it to Israel, despite their detention in the military run Ketziot prison. "We are happy that we got here. "Israel is a free country and we hope that we will be able to stay," one of the seven told the English-language daily. AFP
You are a Black Muslim refugee from Darfur. You need help desperately. You are surrounded by many African countries who share commonalities based on ethnicity as well as on religion. Where do you run to in order to be treated in a humane and civil manner? Israel.
The two local papers that have reported the story are This Day and the Citizen. It is interesting to compare the two headlines used.
This Day - Israel arrests Sudan refugees
The Citizen - Darfur refugees trek to Israeli jail
I wonder why This Day went for a headline which depicts Israel as an aggressive force arresting poor refugees. Yes Israel arrested them, which is what she is required to do when people illegally cross the border with Egypt. The main point of note in the story is not that Israel arrested the refugees - it is that they chose to trek all the way to Israel.
Five of the prisoners arrived in Israel close to two months ago, and another two were brought to the jail last week. The seven say they fled their homes fearing for their lives after civil war and a humanitarian crisis struck their homeland.
"We ran away since we were afraid we would get killed," said Aaron, one of the prisoners.
Aaron, in his late twenties, said that his sister and two of his brothers were gunned down by terrorists shortly before his village was demolished. Together with four of his friends, he set out in search of a place of sanctuary, eventually arriving in Israel. "We are happy that we got here," another of the prisoners added. "Israel is a free country and we hope that we will be able to stay."
Read the whole story. The incident is very complicated because Sudan is an enemy of Israel and Israel does not grant political asylum to citizens of an enemy country. Of course they can't go back to Sudan - the best solution may be moving them to Egypt because they entered Egypt prior to entering Israel - and according to international refugee accords Egypt is thus the first country of asylum.
Personally, I hope that Israel grants them asylum, but that could be a dangerous precedent to set.
CAIRO - Sudan said on Sunday that leaders of a rebel group in its western Darfur region were making regular visits to Israel and ties with the Jewish state had caused a split in rebel ranks.
A rebel spokesman denied any link with Israel and said the charge was an attempt to stir up Muslim public opinion.
Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail told reporters in Cairo some leaders of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) had split from the group two days ago over ties between its leadership and Israel.
One of the two Darfur rebel groups responds.
"There is no relationship between the movement and Israel and I have no knowledge of any intention that there should be a relationship. It is lies on the part of the government," JEM Secretary-General Bahar Idriss Abu Garda told Reuters.
"The government is striving to mislead Arab and Islamic public opinion," he said.
Israel has rejected these crazy accusations. But would it be THAT BAD if Israel were offering aid to people facing ethnic cleansing and mass murder? (See the Head Heeb on this.)
One wouldn't necessarily imagine a Jewish Israeli professor and a Moslem African vegetable farmer striking up a friendship. But Prof. Dov Pasternak, from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has formed a unique partnership and a special personal relationship with Issaka Dandakoye from Niamey, Niger.
For the past five years, Pasternak has been busy in Niger - in the sub-Saharan area of Africa called the Sahel - developing a horticultural production system called the African Market Garden (AMG) for farmers with small parcels of land.
Known throughout the land affectionately as 'Professor Dov', the former head of the university's Institute for Agriculture and Biology developed the system based mainly on vegetables with a few fruit trees placed in the field. It is irrigated with a gravity (low-pressure) drip irrigation system, with field size is limited to about 500 square meters.
For more information on Israel helping to combat desertification in Africa visit MASHAV - the Israeli Center for International Cooperation.