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South Africa Touches the Better Angels of Our Nature

International Court of Justice hearing on Palestine. Credit: ICJ

The International Court of Justice scheduled a hearing on the 56-year-long administration by Israel of the Palestinian lands of the West Bank and Gaza. There had been a sort of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the world, as to the responsibility for bringing stability to the area. However, once the ICJ dared to pose the question, so many countries have found their tongues that the hearing has been scheduled to span the whole week.

Today, South Africa had its turn, and its Ambassador to the Netherlands Vusi Madonsela spoke at The Hague with a special authority. He invoked South Africa’s “special obligation, both to its own people and the international community to identify, call out and bring to an immediate end “the egregious and offensive practices of apartheid.…” Measured in terms of lands confiscated, illegal settlements spreading and two separate legal systems for two categories of peoples, the Palestinians and the Israelis, he found Israel to have carried out “an even more extreme form of the apartheid that was institutionalized against Black people in my country.” He said: “We as South Africans sense, see, hear and feel to our core” this reality. “Israel’s apartheid must end.”

South Africa, in ending apartheid, notably did not wreak vengeance upon white racists. Nelson Mandela understood when he left prison that vengeance would only keep him carrying that prison with him. Today, there is no ending apartheid in Israel, the deeply entrenched “master/slave” dynamic, from the Nazi period to the current day, as victim and oppressor, short of the commitment to the conquering, the greening of the deserts of the region. The peoples of the region must objectively share in the mission of developing their region, with desalination of seawater, plentiful affordable energy from nuclear plants, massive irrigation projects to reclaim the potential fertility of the land, and all the educational and cultural benefits that weld a grounded optimism in the populations.

This starts not with a truce, a ceasefire, an “I can’t stand it any longer” action. It actually starts with something very ugly—or actually confronting and addressing something very ugly, the actual disaster scene before us in Gaza, starting with a million Gazan children at various levels of malnutrition and starvation. Over 90% of children under five in Gaza are in severe food poverty and are affected by infectious diseases. In the last two weeks, around 70% have experienced diarrhea—not easy to manage in a baby, toddler or young child. Weeks and months of looking away, of hoping reality would not catch up, have created quite a mess.

The logistics required for the requisite mobilization of food, clean water, medicine, and shelter are extraordinary—but, at the end of the day, so much more rewarding than the sustained rage of warfare (that is, if one can call operations such as the reduction of the Warsaw Ghetto “warfare"). Such an emergency mobilization, it turns out, is just the first step in the series of mobilizations required for the “Oasis Plan” for the region

South Africa is uniquely qualified to bring a solidly grounded sense of morality back to our civilization, and one hopes they carry out that mission properly. Today, as with their actions of the last several months, bears witness that there is consistency in this new way of acting by a nation.

The “Oasis Plan” is the fruit of another political prisoner, Lyndon LaRouche, who also left his prison, not with vengeance, not carrying around a prison with him, but with a deeply-honed scientific genius for extensive and transformative economic projects that are capable, as Abraham Lincoln put it, to speak to the better angels of our nature.

Lincoln’s more complete thought, addressing a nation deeply divided, is an appropriate prelude to the study of the necessary actions before us:

“The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”