Hail South Africa


Where I live, winter has been unusually severe so far. Temperatures have dropped to 24 below zero (centigrade), and dog walkers like me have had to wade in knee-deep snow.

Yet, South Africa’s powerful response to the Israeli genocide and in defence of innocent Palestinian civilians, has warmed every last one of my frozen bones. That precisely South Africa should have undertaken this brave course is all the more moving, since it was from South Africa we first heard of the terrible concept, and the term to describe it, “apartheid”.

Although I fear that the USA will manage to somehow paralyse the work of the International Court of Justice, South Africa has mounted a tremendously important and – we are told – singularly well-prepared case.

On it hinges no less than the very reputation of international law. If USA and Israel prevail, there will no longer be such a thing as “international law”, which will have been replaced by the Mediaeval principle that the victor takes all, including honour. The British historian Mary Beard maintains, for instance, that Julius Caesar committed genocide against the Gauls, a crime for which he has never been accused, naturally, since it was not defined as a crime in his day. If Israel and the USA get away with their attempted extermination of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, the very concept “genocide” will have been turned to dust.

I hasten to add that the USA is technically as responsible for genocide, according to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide as Israel, cf, Article III (e):

The following acts shall be punishable:
(a) Genocide;
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide.

The stand held by the US and Israel has nothing to do with “defence” of race, religion or ethnicity. I confess I fail to understand how the two nations defend their preposterous actions otherwise than by equally preposterous deliberate fabrications.

I have just read a heartbreaking French biographical novel about the painter Charlotte Solomon who was gassed – i.e. murdered – by the Nazis in 1943, as part of – yes – a genocide. What the Israelis are now doing in Gaza is murdering Palestinian Charlottes – painters, poets, housewives, adorable children, health workers en mass. EN MASS! Forgive me for not resisting the temptation to capitalise. I am, after all, only human. I cannot watch this carnage without reacting as a human. Mind you the killing, the murdering, the massacring is far worse than the daily death tolls reveal: The number of those who will die of unattended injuries, starvation and diseases, not to mention under collapsed buildings, will, in coming months maybe even approach the numbers of persons killed by bombs and bullets.

The Israeli actions are horrific! If they are not judged and found heinous by the court – I fear that in future, people who are,after all, “only human” will find that killing anyone arbitrarily, everywhere, is a perfectly legitimate course of action for anyone with a grudge.

President Biden: Are you not a Catholic? Do you not think God will judge you for the course you are taking?


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