Palestinian Open Letter Wishing Arch. Desmond Tutu a Speedy Recovery
12 September 2016
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
Cc: Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation NPC
Dear Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
We at the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) -- the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society, including trade unions, political parties, popular committees and NGOs, which guides the global BDS movement for Palestinian rights -- are deeply concerned to hear of your admittance to the hospital. We would like to humbly extend our sincerest well wishes and hope that you recover soon from your illness.
As a leading international figure who stands on the side of justice, a veteran of the South African struggle against oppression and apartheid, and a prominent advocate in the 1980s for the international boycott of the apartheid regime in South Africa, you continue to be an inspiration for oppressed communities in the world in their struggles for “the full menu of rights.”
Your rich, decades-long legacy of campaigning against racism, sexism, poverty, and injustice are a key source of guidance and inspiration for global struggles against various forms of oppression.
Palestinians recognize and treasure your principled and courageous support for our inalienable rights under international law and specifically for the Palestinian-led BDS movement as the most effective nonviolent form of solidarity with our struggle for self-determination.
We in the global BDS movement shall continue to cherish and learn from the gems of advice that you have generously extended to us, in private and in public, over the last decade.
You once told us, “Defeat is first and foremost a state of mind. I have no doubt that despite its well-oiled repression, Israel will not beat BDS or slow its marvelous growth, mainly because you never let them occupy your minds.”
We shall never forget your support for so many student-led divestment campaigns on major US campuses against companies that profit from Israel’s colonial crimes against our people.
We cannot forget your characterization and condemnation of Israel as an apartheid regime. We shall always be guided in our human rights campaigning by your fearless call for taking Israel’s regime of oppression “off the pedestal” on which it was placed by complicit western regimes.
We shall always remember as well your support for the academic boycott of Israeli universities because, as you have rightly argued, they are an “intimate part of the Israeli regime, by active choice” and are deeply involved in planning, implementing and justifying Israel’s occupation and apartheid.
You have often cited the following words of your comrade in struggle, the South African leader Nelson Mandela, excerpted from a 1997 speech he had given in solidarity with the people of Palestine:
“We can easily be enticed to read reconciliation and fairness as meaning parity between justice and injustice. Having achieved our own freedom, we can fall into the trap of washing our hands of difficulties that others face. Yet we would be less than human if we did so. It behooves all South Africans, themselves erstwhile beneficiaries of generous international support, to stand up and be counted among those contributing actively to the [Palestinian] cause of freedom and justice.”
Arch, as you like us to call you, you have certainly “stood up” and have been “counted” among the most principled voices supporting our cause for freedom, justice and equality. For that, we are profoundly indebted to you.
Warmest regards and well wishes,
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC)