Kernow Damo
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Violence at Funerals is nothing new. Israel isn't alone in this.

May 14, 2022

The horrific scenes of Shireen Abu Akleh's funeral being attacked by authorities has happened elsewhere too. It really bothered me when I saw those images of Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral. In my last video I mentioned how it never occurred to me that a funeral would ever be targeted by anyone, let alone the authorities. Surely respect for the dead is a universal thing, but then I didn’t grow up in a war zone or a place of deep civil unrest. I’m white with all the privilege that comes with that, such things were not broadcast or covered in the news when I was growing up and actually Western awareness has probably only come about since the advent of social media. How many of us who might’ve been watching news in the 80’s or 90’s for instance would expect to be told a Palestinian-American journalist has been killed by Israeli forces? Simply wouldn’t have been considered newsworthy here. Anyway it bothered me, so I wanted to look at whether funerals being attacked by the authorities is something with historical precedent and it is. As much as Israel resents being referred to as an apartheid state, which of course it absolutely is, there’s AP footage from South Africa on YouTube that I’d found, certainly more graphic than the scenes we’ve seen at Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral. In 1994, in the township of Bekkersdal, police opened fire on the funeral of an Inkatha Freedom Party member, resulting in 2 people being killed and several more injured. Now of course South Africa was subject to global sanctions for years, BDS was used to great effect there, yet where the world seemed perfectly happy to impose sanctions on white supremacists, it seems we all shy away when another nation, behaving in much the same way, plays the racism card, plays the ‘look at how our people been abused historically’ card to excuse the fact they are abusing people today, in the here and now. It's not unique to apartheid either, nor is attacks on funerals unique to the authorities, thought the two do go hand in hand. Look at Northern Ireland police presences at funerals during The Troubles and the unrest that sparked, look at the Taliban attacking funerals, there are other examples too. I can’t think of a much lower target to attack than a bunch of mourners, but it isn’t anything new.

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