Tuesday, July 6, 2010

First International Nelson Mandela Day Celebrating Nelson Mandela's Birthday: Leader in the struggle against Apartheid

On November 10, 2009, the United Nations' General Assembly announced July 18, Nelson Mandela's birthday, as "International Nelson Mandela Day", an international day of activism. This is an international day of humanitarian action that is inspired by the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. The United Nations' declaration calls each and every person in the world to realize his ability to change the world with action.

Inspired by the UN's declaration we have decided, a group of activists, academics, and musicians, to organize an event to mark International Nelson Mandela Day. The event is not affiliated with any organization, and we are committed only to Nelson Mandela's vision and legacy. All organizers and participants are volunteers. The event is a part of world wide International Mandela Day events.

The event will take place in Vox Club in south Tel Aviv, Yagea Kapayim 2, on Saturday, July 17, 2010, at 7 pm. Performances will include System Ali, Arab-Jewish hip hop ensemble from Jaffa; the rapper Kalkidan; the Afro-beat ensemble The Ambassadors (Ivory Coast/Nigeria/Brazil/Israel); the roots reggae band Zvuloon Dub System; Samira Saraya (Spoken Word) and Nadav Haber (Sax). In addition, the activists Hananya Vanda, Yael Ben Yefet, Matan Kaminer, and Rawia Abu Rabia will speak, and the artist David Reeb and video art artist Yayehe S. Mehari will display their work.

The separation between Ethiopian, white, Sephardic, and Ashkenazi students in schools, the racist selection in night clubs, the appropriation of Bedouin land in the Negev, the racist campaign against migrant workers, the non-settlement of the status of asylum seekers and their children, the house demolitions in Arab towns, the separation wall and the occupation, the siege on Gaza, the thousands of security prisoners, police brutality against Arabs and blacks, the settlement in East Jerusalem, the de-legitimatization campaign of human rights organizations – are all different faces of the racist apartheid policy in Israel. From this understanding, we ask to build bridges between different communities in Israel who struggle everyday against racism and apartheid, and to call together: no to racism, no to apartheid, yes to equality, yes to democracy.

In hard times like these, when bad winds of racism and hatred blow in Israel, the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and the life of Nelson Mandela, are an inspiration and a beacon of hope. The Mandela Day event asks to bring together different voices of protest, and to connect between those who want to see a different society in Israel: a tolerant society, that respects the other, that protects human rights, a society in which the dreams of children in different colors, from different cultures and religions, can be realized.

Mandela said that to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. Your freedom and mine, he said, cannot be separated; no one's free until everyone's free. Like South Africa, also in Israel, justice, peace, freedom and reconciliation are possible.

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For more information or to set interviews with the organizers and/or the participants, please call Adana Zohdo, 054-441-6227, Basma Fahoum, 052-649-0449, or Nirit Ben-Ari, 054-792-3082, or email: nelsonmandeladay@gmail.com. Visit us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=132506123440102&ref=mf

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