The Ten Commandments: Educational advice, ethics and principles behind support for Palestine

Smoke rises as a building collapses after an Israeli air strike hits Al-Jalaa tower, which houses apartments and several media outlets, including the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, in Gaza City, on 15 May 2021. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Mohammed Saber)

I decided to offer advice in the form of the Ten Commandments. They’re in the Bible, the Quran and the Torah. Look at that. We’re already one step closer to unification.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

You know, I really am trying to take a break from politics purely because it is so hard and wearying to defend truth and justice against people who will just not listen. I can’t engage.

When people share horror stories about Palestine, I completely tune out and tune in to Peaches by Justin Bieber in my head instead. He gets them from Georgia by the way.

Of course I am upset by the deaths of millions of people over too long a time. Of course my heart bleeds for everyone who has lost a child, a mother, a father, a friend or entire families.

And of course, I strongly believe that the bombing of a building that housed media outlets is a hate crime against free speech and the fact that many South African publications are ignoring it and not giving it as much coverage and consideration as it deserves is absolute bullshit.

But I am going to use this week’s column as one final attempt to educate anyone who needs a few tips on how and why to support Palestine and what it means to be a person. Because after all, silence is not peace and shit happens when good people do nothing. And who doesn’t want to be a good person?

I decided to offer advice in the form of the Ten Commandments. They’re in the Bible, the Quran and the Torah. Look at that. We’re already one step closer to unification.

  • Thou shalt not have other causes other than righteous causes for the sake of your own salvation.
  • Thou shalt not make yourself a complicit or silent participant in the disorder of the world and rather mirror yourself in the likeness of heaven, which is, actually, here on Earth depending on how much good you do.
  • Thou shalt not take the name of those who use their voices for peace and justice in vain. If so, you are nothing but a guilty perpetrator who supports inequality, bigotry and injustice.
  • Thou shalt educate thineself and learn to separate religion from culture and people from politics. Thou shalt realise that this is not a hard thing to learn.
  • Thou shalt realise that supporting Palestine does not make one a terrorist, nor anti-Jewish.
  • Thou shalt be wise in the face of propaganda and divisive messaging in media as well as the whines of the general public on Facebook groups, and grow exponentially aware of the fact that a Muslim does not a terrorist make or every Jewish person a Zionist.
  • Thou shalt hold media outlets, and those responsible for holding a mirror up to society, accountable for the accurate dissemination of truth to educate the public and also call out the irony and incongruencies of a South African media environment that is always fighting for press freedom but that is a silent voice in the face of human freedoms.
  • If thou findest thineself in a position of power and influence, thou shalt not use said power to remain silent in the face of racism, oppression or xenophobia. Fear of professional and social consequences, loss of capital and abandonment by sponsors who cannot stand for the truth with you is straight-up disgusting.
  • Thou shalt realise that any kind of supremacy of one religion over another, one culture over another, one race over another or one voice over another is personal and will hurt thee too. No one is immune. Do the right thing as you would like the right thing to be done and thou shalt remember that really, there is only one right thing. It is, in fact, that simple.
  • Thou shalt remember the words of Bernice King and they are: “Inclusion does not equal equity, diversity does not equal justice, tolerance does not equal love and silence does not equal peace.”

And it’s that simple. But just for good measure, here’s an eleventh: Thou shalt not be an idiot. DM168

This irreverent respite is brought to you by author, journalist and podcast producer Haji Mohamed Dawjee.

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper which is available for free to Pick n Pay Smart Shoppers at these Pick n Pay stores.


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  • Let’s hope a copy gets to Palestine, and particularly Hamas, who rule Gaza with an iron fist. There are marvelous folk in both Gaza and Israel, many who play a social justice and campassionate role. I reckon the adage “do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ could have been offerd by Haajee Dawjee, as was given centuries ago, as an eleventh commandment, to all. This includes our RSA-hopelessness situation presently.

    • Indeed. Unification. The soft word for Israel must cease to exist. Hamas’ non-negotiable policy. Another Bible/Torah/Q’ran lesson Ms Dawjee might have invoked is “let he without sin cast the first stone”. Thou shalt not be an idiot indeed. And while MS Dawjee is not being an idiot, perhaps she can share with us who will govern this unified Palestinian state? Hamas? Netanyahu? The PA? No one in that little love triangle can stand each other. Until then, the rockets will rain down on Israel, the bombs on Gaza, and Hamas and Netanyahu will both have their way.

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