The Congress of South African Trade Unions celebrates one of the iconic days in our national calendar, the birthday of one of this country’s most beloved revolutionaries President Nelson Mandela. This is a day where the entire world reflects and recommits to the values of Ubuntu.
This is about preserving the legacy that Madiba left us; the legacy of courage, compassion, justice and reconciliation. On this day, we reiterate our commitment and support to the struggle of Palestinians to gain their freedom.
Madiba spent his entire life fighting the same colonialism, oppression and injustice that the people of Palestine are subjected to. He was a solid supporter and an outspoken advocate for Palestinian human rights and self-determination. He refused to be cowered and intimidated by the Zionists sympathisers but was instead unwavering and unequivocal in his support for the struggles of Palestinians.
Addressing the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, in 1997, he said: “But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
We call on our government to honour Madiba by continuing to act decisively against the Israeli regime. They should remember that Madiba once warned that; “The temptation is to speak in muffled tones about an issue such as the right of the people of Palestine … yet we would be less than human if we did so”. As a country, we need to dig deep in our history and our set of principles and remember that we are not descended from fearful men.
All of us have the challenge to emulate and learn from Madiba, who never wavered in his pursuit of justice for the oppressed and vulnerable. Mandela Day reminds us of our responsibility to fight all forms of injustice like racism, religious and political persecution, human trafficking, child slavery, poverty etc.
Walking in his footsteps, COSATU together with its Alliance partners will be running a campaign of writing letters to the Palestinian political prisoners currently in Israeli jails, particularly focusing on child and youth political prisoners. We invite supporters of the Palestinian struggle to join this campaign and make a difference by spreading the word.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794
ng love, hope, strength and pledging solidarity through handwritten words.