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Martyrs gather at Castle of Good Hope to remember Palestinians on Nakba Day

Palestinian solidarity movements, campaigners, political parties, schools and members of the public gather at the Castle of Good Hope to commemorate Nakba Day. Picture:

Palestinian solidarity movements, campaigners, political parties, schools and members of the public gather at the Castle of Good Hope to commemorate Nakba Day. Picture:

Published May 16, 2022

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Cape Town - Images of murdered Al Jazeera journalist, Palestinian-American Shireen Abu Akleh, and the Palestinian flag, dominated the interior of the Castle of Good Hope courtyard at the weekend, before Nakba Day.

The Nakba (catastrophe) is commemorated on May 15. It follows the declaration of Israel and expulsion of about 750 000 Palestinians to make way for Jewish settlements.

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Solidarity movements, political parties, schools and the public gathered at the Castle grounds, on Saturday, in keffiyeh, waving the Palestinian flag.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign chairperson Martin Jansen said the venue was intentional, as the Good Hope was the centre of colonialism in South Africa, which started in the Cape and eventually encompassed the whole southern Africa region.

“This is where the colonial plans were made of oppression, exploitation, as well as the genocide of the indigenous people here in the Cape - particularly the Khoi and the San. The same process has unfolded in Palestine.

“A native people colonised by European Jews (Zionists), the land taken over and them being forced off their land, killed, and maimed. What's important to remember is that the Nakba hasn't stopped.”

Jansen slammed the ANC government for expressing outward support for Palestine, while still maintaining ties with Israel. He exhorted political parties present to adopt boycott, divestment, sanctions and legislation against Israel.

Guest speaker Fatima Haron-Masoet, the daughter of anti-apartheid activist Imam Abdullah Haron, who was killed in detention, said: “Dear brothers and sisters of Palestine, our martyrs are never defeated, nor conquered. They may kill their bodies but their mission continues to be alive.”

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Imam Haron spent 123 days in police custody. He was believed to have been killed by the apartheid police while in detention.

Fifty-three years later, the family is still searching for justice.

“Their death and memory of martyrdom should evoke moral responsibility on our collective conscience to ensure that the blood of martyrs are never spilled in vain,” Haron-Masoet said.

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Guest speaker, retired judge Siraj Desai, said regarding the death of Abu Akleh,: “I find her death and her murder most appalling, and I reject the savagery of her death. But more than that, it gives me pause to rededicate what remains of my life to the struggle of the Palestinian people and the struggle of people all over the world.”

Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli military forces on May 11, while reporting on raids in the Jenin Refugee camp.

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