Leigh-Ann Naidoo, who is the South African delegate on the Women’s Boat to Gaza, asked her father to reflect on his 41-day hunger strike in 1981, with reference to the continuing hunger strikes of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. Derrick Naidoo says that collective action is needed to support just liberation struggles internationally.
Many of us stand by and watch as the Zionist occupation in Palestine continues violating every basic human right through their modern day fascist state, beginning to rival Hitler’s Germany. The courage and commitment of Palestinian liberation fighters’ ongoing resistance against all odds within this huge Apartheid prison called Israel is indeed an inspiration and a lesson in struggle for all revolutionaries and freedom fighters worldwide.
Revolutionaries like Bobby Sands (66-day hunger strike) have demonstrated that even under the most hopeless situations of imprisonment, the last option to resist and win is usually the hunger strike. The hunger strike by imprisoned Palestinians today brings back vivid memories of my own personal experience (41 days) of this under Section Six of the Terrorism Act in South Africa.
Continuous interrogation, solitary confinement and an accumulation of human rights abuses make the necessary ingredients for prisoners to choose a dangerous path of resistance. A choice to inflict personal damage on themselves as a political statement, sometimes a last stand for justice. Whilst the international community supports the Tokyo Declaration, a very limited agreement related to the hunger strike, more is required. We need collective action from all of us not only to expose inhumane treatment of prisoners but to support the just liberation struggles internationally.
Barbarism in the 21st century
Gaza, is now a modern day concentration camp and for many, has begun to rival similar such inhumane practices worldwide. The first known experiment in conscious human extermination through concentration camps was carried out in southern Africa. In Namibia, Snake Island represented the location where over 3, 000 women and children were dumped over time on an isolated island to die. This killing through starving people to death was only one of the steps in the process of killing thousands of Nama people by their German colonisers. The cost of these genocides was comparatively inexpensive to the modern day ones, as the prison walls in this case became the icy Atlantic Ocean.
The next hideous example of the concentration camps manifested itself during the Anglo-Boer war by English colonisers in the early 1900s. Once again, large numbers of indigenous South Africans with over 100 thousand Boers (Afrikaners) were imprisoned in concentration camps and died in their thousands, although in separate camps. The same Afrikaners who suffered such outrage decades later constructed a crime against humanity called apartheid. It appears that Jews persecuted under Nazi Germany led by Hitler who had perfected a more systematic extermination of Jews using large concentration camps and finding the most vicious and dehumanising modes of killing.
It is ironic that these hideous camps that Hitler used against Jews to exterminate millions of their families in Germany are adapted today by Israel. Zionists today even try to justify repeating similar camp atrocities against Palestinians in the 21st century. This must represent the most sophisticated form of concentration camps, judging by not only the international world’s tolerance but the ongoing military support of the USA. The shooting of children, bombings and blockades coupled with land dispossession at the same time, probably represents some of the most barbaric and inhuman actions in modern history. The most shocking aspect is that Zionist Israel continues to break every international convention with impunity with a deadly international silence being the usual response.
International solidarity action can break the blockade
This is the context that has given rise to some of the most desperate forms of resistance including suicide bombing and the recent hunger strikes. The recent hunger strike demonstrates prisoners’ valiant effort to expose Israeli occupation and its fascist type application of detention laws. While the recent hunger strike might be over the struggle continues. In my own experience, assurances given by the regime to stop my 41-day hunger strike eventually were betrayed and never honoured. This is the most probable reaction.
If Gaza is undoubtedly the weak link in the Zionist plan, then it is maximum security section of this large concentration camp called Israel.
The free movement of capital today represents the very antithesis of Palestinian’s ability to move. Egypt’s collaboration with Israel to enforce the Gaza blockade is indeed an act of betrayal. This explains why attempts to break the blockade will be met with extreme violence. This should serve to motivate collective and creative action to support the Palestinian freedom fight.
This post originally appeared in Leigh-Ann’s Facebook page and is republished with permission.