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PACBI-An Open Letter from Gaza to Julio Iglesias: Dont Entertain Apartheid Again!

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PSCABI & PYAIA | 13 September 2011

An Open Letter from Gaza to Julio Iglesias: Dont Entertain Apartheid Again!

Besieged Gaza,

Occupied Palestine

Dear Julio Iglesias,

We, youth and students of the Gaza Ghetto, entrenched and surrounded by Israeli Gunships, Snipers, Jeeps, F16s and Merkava tanks at every turn, are saddened to see that once again, you will entertain an apartheid regime, and ignore the horrors Israel is inflicting on us.

This is not the first time an oppressed group has called on you to heed calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions of apartheid.

Those in the South African apartheid liberation struggle described you then as one to, “have chosen to make profit in a land of exploitation and misery instead of taking a stand on principle and foregoing blood money.”[1]

You performed twice in the infamous Sun City of South Africa in 1983 and 1984. Your claims to have had “a child with a colored woman" and to "sing duet with Diana Ross who is colored"[2] were unacceptable excuses and no similar excuses will see us Palestinians forget your turning your back on our call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of apartheid Israel. By performing in Israel you directly contravene the 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) [3], that has been heeded by international artists and writers such as Elvis Costello, the Pixies, Carlos Santana, Annie Lennox, Gorillaz, John Berger, Adrienne Rich, Massive Attack, Faithless, Gill Scot-Heron, Devendra Banart, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Meg Ryan, Arundati Roy and many others, who have put equality, anti-racism and the will of the oppressed against the appearance money and adulation. Adulation from, in this case, many young people who have served in the Israeli Occupation Forces that occupy and control us and our land, bomb our villages and destroy or steal our houses, olive groves and—more importantly—our human dignity.

You must be aware of the fact that we will not be able to attend your performance, because of the checkpoints, control of our movement, restrictions on our education, our job prospects and the growth of our towns and villages. Why? Because we are the undesired 'ethnic group’ for the region so far as Israel is concerned. Does this not ring a bell of South African Apartheid? It does for Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Ronnie Kassrils and many other anti-apartheid heroes. Desmond Tutu has called this worse than apartheid and described the possibility of the Cape Town Opera performing there as 'unconscionable”!’[4] Some courageous British academics and intellectuals went as far as describing Gaza as “the Guernica” of our time.

Since its founding on the ruins of Palestinian refugees in 1948 Israel has violated more United Nations Resolutions than any other member state. As was successfully directed at the South African regime, the cultural boycott is a vital mechanism to hold Israel to account for crimes that have for so long been granted immunity by the International Community.

If you do not connect with the racism and suffering Israel’s treatment of us involves, perhaps you can relate to the fact that so many of the victims are children. Over half of the population of the Gaza Strip are children, many cannot remember life outside of this 4 year illegal and medieval blockade. The music you grew up with and raised your own children around is a luxury still out of our reach as Israel’s air, land and sea blockade of our borders has meant for years musical instruments were banned from entry to Gaza, along with toys, workbooks, pasta and chocolate.[5] 

Hundreds of children were killed in the bombing of our population areas in Gaza during the 3 week campaign in the winter of 2008-2009, that left over 1400 civilians killed. In the West Bank and East Jerusalem the systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestinian children and their families homes continues unabated. According to the United Nations between January and July this year, Israeli forces made 700 Palestinian children homeless including 152 from the West Bank in April alone.[6]
A recent child to lose his life is 13-year-old Haitham Ahmed Marouf who succumbed to injuries received in an Israeli drone strike on Beit Lahia, Northern Gaza, while farming with his father. He died on the morning of Monday, August 29, having clung to life for 8 days. The shrapnel had shredded the left side of the boy’s body from his shoulder to his thigh and had destroyed his left leg completely. His father could still not comment days afterwards. He and thousands of other victims’ families you will be turning your back on if you agree to perform in Israel.[7]

We ask you, as someone famous for saying, “Humility is not an imaginary thing” to show your humility now, to us Palestinians who have for far too long suffered at the hands of Israeli occupation and apartheid.

If you adhere to the boycott principles, we will remember you fondly as someone who stood on the right side of history when we reach our goals, goals of equal rights, cherished by the world but deprived from us.

Don’t turn your back on “the Guernica of our time!”


[1] Aftonbladet, Sweden, (10/12/84)

Posted on 15-09-2011

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