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Answer to Desmond Tutu

Answer to Desmond Tutu
on his article in Haaretz
My plea to the people of Israel : Liberate yourselves by liberating Palestine - OpinionIsrael News - Haaretz Israeli News source

Dear Mr Tutu
As an African personality who is famous for your participation in the liberation of South Africa from appartheid, your words on the Israeli-Palestinian situation carry a worldwide resonnance.
This is why as African Jews, we felt compelled to be part of the conversation which you started.
Let us be direct. You mention the fact that there was never such a vast mobilization
of public protest in history as the one addressing the recent conflict in the Gaza strip.
In your opinion this is a great victory in global moral awakening. You are very proud of your pareticipation in this movement, and insist on calling for a greater commitment to boycotting and sanctionning the Israeli economy.
With all due respect Mr Tutu, in our humble opinion you are precisely expressing the formulation of the problem, the reason we see no true global moral awakening.
For us the problem is that this global mobilization precisely demonstrates and perpetuates the total lack of concern, of public and political outrage when it comes to genocides perpetrated on African soil.
Between 6 and 10 million Congolese have been killed in wars for profit in the last two decades. Why do these millions of Africans not deserve at least the same attention, the same calls for boycott and divestment than the ones in the popular over mediatized Israeli- Palestinian conflict ? Why don’t world famous politicians, most movie stars, left wing or right wing pundits of the world, seem to even lift an eye brow towards these horrors that have no religious or political motives, other than total greed ?
Do we have to wait for movies such as "Blood Diamonds" to give a hint to the public about the subhuman treatment Africans go through for petty luxury items in the so-called ’civilized’, and self-titled First World ?
Our heroes are Emporor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, who decried the injustice done in your native South Africa wen both you and the late Mr Nelson Mandela were still youths, as well as King Mohammed V of Morocco. They both signed their names on the independance of 50 African nations from colonial powers, to the risk of their very lives. Their message was that as long as the world sees no problem in the differentiation between people’s plight for human dignity because of race issues, there will be no peace in the world.
Your own struggle for liberation from appartheid in South Africa would have never seen the day without the participation of these two humanitarian historical luminaries.
They also understood the central character of the Middle Eastern conflict in the global conversation. But not to the price of ignoring Africa and put it on the back burner to the point of making the Middle East situation the determining standard of global morality.
The difference must be made, between conflicts where nation states or religious affiliations are in confrontations openly representing their sides, and the ignored genocides in the name of plunder. If we do not make this distinction what we have is a total and unequivocal moral failure.
The responsability of this failure lies squarely in the hands of those who are supposed to be the voices, the messengers of moral awakening for justice and human dignity.
Mr Tutu, you know very well that no streets in London, Washington, Lahore, Rio, or even Johannesburg or Durban will be filled with tens of thousands decrying the close to 10 milliuon Congolese who were killed by wars for profit. This is not going to happen in your days, when the only conflict with victims of interest capable of mobilizing world attention is the Israeli- Palestinian debate for dual recognition.
We are appalled, to say the least, by the self serving attitudes of most of the Jewish and Muslim organizations who, along with self righteous pundits, constantly fan the flames of attention toward one corner of the world to the detriment of the rest.
As Jews who are from Africa we are not proud of the members of the Jewish faith who have not awakened to this simple reality. We feel that African Muslims, African Christians and African members of other faiths should understand that the undue focus on the Middle East conflict does not serve the interests of peace in the Middle East, and only exacerbates the lack of advancement in basic human rights on the African continent.
Do you want to open people’s eyes on Africa, or are you satisfied with being among those who ask to look elsewhere for what really matters ?

Guershon Nduwa

African Jews President



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