Our hearts have – for the past few months – been broken by the state of affairs in Palestine and Israel. With every new development, our despondence has met the world’s collective grief, and no doubt, the growing agony of the people of Palestine, both at home and in other parts of the world.
As South Africans, we know all too well what it means to be disenfranchised, dispossessed of our property, enslaved, and brutally maimed as a systemic practice over many generations.
As Queer people of faith, we know how the sacred texts that underpin religion have been distorted and misconstrued to justify and even endorse hate and violence.
Both of these circumstances begin to paint the picture of what we believe to be a genocide inflicted on the people of the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank.
The late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu – one of our country’s foremost theologians – said of the Israel-Palestine conflict “We are opposed to the injustice of the illegal occupation of Palestine. We are opposed to the indiscriminate killing in Gaza. We are opposed to the indignity meted out to Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks. We are opposed to violence perpetrated by all parties. But we are not opposed to Jewish people.” Added to this, the Arch offered that “a world in which mutual dignity and respect reign requires a mindset shift. A mindset shift that recognizes that attempting to perpetuate the current status quo is to damn future generations to violence and insecurity. A mindset shift that stops regarding legitimate criticism of a state’s policies as an attack on Judaism. A mindset shift that begins at home and ripples out across communities and nations and regions – to the Diaspora scattered across the world we share. The only world we share”. Albeit almost ten years later, this statement from the Arch rings true, and the pursuit of a free Palestine should be a global imperative.
We stand in solidarity with faith leaders in the region who are working for peace and justice, whose witness and advocacy may be forgotten, or even erased. It was the prophet Amos who said we should let righteousness flow like a river. As discerning people of faith, we join the resounding call for an immediate ceasefire and the allowing of humanitarian aid into Palestine. We remain confident that a Holy Land free of bigotry, conflict and discrimination is not only fair and just; but also prudent for such a time as this; and we look forward to the re-building and repair of this community by all who are moved by the ideal of a world that is inclusive and free of hate.
About Inclusive and Affirming Ministries
IAM works towards the full recognition, celebration, and participation of LGBTIQ+ people in Africa; and to be an alternative religious voice that raises awareness about the detrimental effects that religious fundamentalism can have on the lives of LGBTIQ+ people.
Contact us at email@example.com, and visit our website here.