The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) was launched in December 1985 after four years of unity talks between unions opposed to apartheid and committed to a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa. At our launch we represented less than half a million workers organised in 33 unions. We currently have more than two million workers, of whom at least 1.8 million are paid up. Even by international standards we have been among the fastest growing trade union movements in the world. Today when most trade unions are facing a decline in membership, we have continued to grow.
“(Palestinian) struggle has become a global symbol of resistance against apartheid, occupation and colonialism in our age. Their struggle is for the same cause as that heroically waged by South Africans against apartheid not so long ago.”
In Palestine there lives a peace-loving people like all of us must aspire to be, who look forward to enjoying a life of decency and dignity. These people once had a place they called their own; the land, the peace, the environment, the natural resources and all that they possessed then. It was so until the arrival of the forces of occupation, in the form of the Israeli Zionists who took all that was ever possessed by these people and turned them into perpetual slaves without land and freedom.
Due to the illegal occupation of their land, the people of Palestine struggle for their freedom and are still fighting even now. Their struggle has become a global symbol of resistance against apartheid, occupation and colonialism in our age. Their struggle is for the same cause as that heroically waged by South Africans against apartheid not so long ago. It is this light that South Africans have always and shall continue to support, with these sister peoples in the quest for justice and dignity.
COSATU fully supports all global action against the forces of apartheid occupying the land of the Palestinian people. We shall actively participate in all the activities, particularly the action taking place on Friday, March 5th in Pretoria where we call for the maximum participation of all our members to show solidarity.
We also fully support the unity demonstrated by all the progressive forces involved with the people of Palestine as they came together to constitute the Coalition for a Free Palestine, of which COSATU is a proud founder and active member. This initiative is very important in the work of building unity and taking forward the historic outcomes of the Cairo Declaration. Only through working together and showing unity will we be able to contribute to the unity of the oppressed and fighting people in Palestine.
This month will also include a series of activities dedicated to the cause of the people of Palestine, amongst them; Launch of the BDS Campaign, tour of Spain by COSATU President Sidumo Dlamini on this issue, and various other initiatives that will move the momentum forward.
According to the Los Angeles Times of January 17, 2009, Israeli TV broadcasted a father’s heartbreak by airing a frantic phone call from a Palestinian doctor living in Gaza telling how an Israeli tank had shelled his home, killing three of his daughters and injuring other family members.
This is just one incidence that indicates the tragic nature of the crisis in Palestine, where Israel has illegally apportioned for itself the divine right to bomb, imprison and even carry out bio-chemical warfare against the people of Palestine in the form of white phosphorous chemicals, all so as to enforce Israel`s illegal occupation of Palestine through arms and force while subjecting Palestinians to conditions of perpetual imprisonment in their own homes and country.
It compels one to share in the daily pains and humiliation experienced by all people under the weight of zionist imperialism. It is a call to all people of nobility and dignity to do something now in defence of humanity. Participating in the just struggles of the Palestinian people is not anti-semitism, but a call for justice and freedom. The attempt to blackmail those who call for freedom and justice in Palestine with the misused label of “anti-semites” is a desperate attempt by Zionist bullies to silence all who stand up to oppose the savage attacks against the humanity and freedom of the Palestinian people.
In all our struggles as COSATU we have always conducted ourselves with the noblest of intentions and discipline, even in the midst of extreme provocation. We refuse to be intimidated or provoked to act in a manner other than that required by our highest ideals as a progressive force of revolution. Even under extreme provocation and insults, we have maintained our cool and insisted that the freedom of the Palestinian people is just as non-negotiable as is ours. We are proud to be associated with the growing movement of people seeking paths alternative to savagery, war and racism. We shall not stop our opposition to occupation, colonialism and racism and shall continue to do so, precisely, because we are against the oppression and suffering of all people, wherever and whoever they are. We are not against Israel or any other state but we shall act in defence of Jews, Arabs, Asians, Africans, Latinos and every body who suffers humiliation dared by any body.
Our struggle is not against any particular, predetermined group, but against any act that dehumanises people and against any group or individual that perpetuates such an act.
Therefore, we stand firmly opposed to apartheid, colonialism, occupation and injustice of whatever form. We call for the world to intensify the prosecution of all who commit these crimes against humanity and we call on the world to ensure redress for victims of such savagery.
> Bongani Masuku (International Relations Secretary)
> Congress of South African Trade Unions
> 1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets
> Braamfontein, 2017
> P.O.Box 1019
> Johannesburg, 2000
> South Africa
> Tel: +27 11 339-4911/24
> Fax: +27 11 339-5080/6940
> Mobile: +27 79 499 6419
> E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org