Bart Luirink

From Sharpeville to Gaza

According to Kallie Kriel ‘Apartheid was not a crime against humanity.’ The leader of Afriforum, a South African white interest group, made this statement last week in a radio interview. Just days before that, he had raised the alarm about a ‘genocide’ against ‘his’ people at Donald Trump’s White House.

Reliable statistics tell us that an overwhelming majority of crime victims in South Africa are black. Asked why he had said that Apartheid had not been a crime against humanity, Kriel said ‘that not enough blacks had been killed’ in that evil era.

This means his logic is that when some whites are victims of crime it is ‘genocide’, but when blacks were systematically deported, detained, abducted and murdered it was ‘not a crime’. He completely ignores the current high numbers of black victims of crime and poverty.

When talking about the targeting of black bodies, we must include lighter brown shades as well. Fifty-five Palestinians died this week under the gun fire of Israel’s security forces; almost as many as were massacred during the peaceful protests against Apartheid in Sharpeville in March 1960. ‘Sharpeville’ was the moment when the world woke up to the carnage caused by Apartheid in South Africa and international solidarity movements with the liberation struggle in South Africa were formed. If history repeats itself this week in bloodshed, it should also do that in activism.