Thursday 24 February 2011

Call for a Stronger Response on Libya by South African Government

This statement was issued on 24 February 2011

Seen from Bethlehem, where I am participating in a conference with our Palestinian Christian brothers and sisters, it looks as if Colonel Gaddafi is intent on murdering his own people in a bid to outstay his welcome as their leader. Moreover, many Libyans report that he is using mercenaries from other parts of Africa to gun down civilians indiscriminately in the streets.

People of faith who uphold the belief that humanity reflects the spark of the divine, cannot watch helplessly as Libyans are killed like flies by those who are supposed to be looking after them.

We as South Africans cannot be silent in the face of these atrocities. We know that governments argue that they have to respect the sovereignty of their counterparts in other nations, but all human beings are our neighbours, regardless of artificial, colonial boundaries, and we should be showing love for our fellows and acting accordingly.

The South African government looks as if it is paralyzed, numb with fear of offending the “Brother Leader”. For the sake of humanity, in line with the principles of ubuntu, I call on them to speak out more strongly against his violations of international humanitarian law. Even the African Union has condemned Libya for using “indiscriminate and excessive use of force and lethal weapons against peaceful protesters”. Will the South African government not at least follow suit?

As I voice my deep concern about the humanitarian and political crisis in Libya, I also want to give assurance of my prayers and my condolences to the families of those who have been killed as they bury their loved ones.

+ Thabo Cape Town

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