Purple Bandage participated in the the recent Vaal launch of theFree Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian Political Prisoners campaign headed by The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation . The Foundation’s director, Neeshan Balton, was one of the key speakers at the launch. Notable participants included Luisa Morgantini, an Italian member of European Parliament who is a leading member of the Italian Peace Movement. The launch also saw the endorsement of the campaign by the ANC, where local mayor, in his capacity as ANC member addressed the public, expressing outrage at the human rights violations present in the Marwan Barghouti case. Audiences were in awe at the motivated and passionate speech by ANC stalwartAhmed Kathrada, who in spite of frailty in age, was most vibrant in spirit.
Barghouthi, who this April marked his 12th year in an Israeli prison, is considered to be the Nelson Mandela of Palestine. He is being held by Israel after being abducted by the occupation forces on April 15, 2002. Following what international observers described as a “political show-trial”, Barghouthi was sentenced to five life sentences in prison after being convicted on five counts of murder. Barghouthi however, refused to recognise the legitimacy of the occupation court. He is one of some 800 000 Palestinian political prisoners who have been jailed by Israel since 1967.
Kathy also spoke about Palestinian political prisoners who have been jailed for over 30 years. The message is that there are so many Mandelas in Israeli jails. This is why this campaign for the freedom of Marwan Barghouthi and all Palestinian political prisoners is so important. It is noteworthy to mention that both Mandela and his Rivonia Trial co-accused, Ahmed Kathrada, spent under 30 years in jail.
The PB team then had d opportunity of a private signing of their MANDELA book by Kathy. He also expressed an interest in the PB organisation and was keen on working with the team in the future.