By Al Qalam Reporter
The human rights and Palestine solidarity organization, BDS-South Africa, has joined fellow Palestinian solidarity activists from across the globe in expressing its condolences on the passing this week of world-renowned physicist, Professor Stephen Hawking.
In a statement, BDS-South Africa spokesperson Kwara Kekana said: “We remember Hawking not only for the brilliance of his scientific mind and achievements but also as an impassioned campaigner who lent his voice to various causes for justice – including the Palestinian struggle against Israeli Apartheid.”
In January 2009, during Israel’s invasion of the Palestinian Gaza Strip, in which more 1000 Palestinians were killed, Hawking said: “A people under occupation will continue to resist in any way it can…the situation [in Palestine] is like that in South Africa before 1990, that cannot continue.”
In 2013, Hawking withdrew from an Israeli conference stating that, based on advice from Palestinian academics, he had decided to respect the BDS academic boycott of Israel.
In 2016, through a public video message, Hawking congratulated Hanan al-Hroub, a Palestinian woman who won the Global Teacher Prize. “From one teacher to another, you are inspiration to people everywhere.” he said.
Last year in 2017 Hawking used his Facebook page to support scientists in Palestine, calling for his followers to donate funds to a Palestinian Advanced Physics School.
“Stephen Hawking, may we continue where you left, in creating a better more peaceful and just world. As we continue to pledge our solidarity with the Palestinians and all other oppressed peoples, we will carry with us your wise words: ‘Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do. It matters that you don’t give up.’
Commenting on Hawking’s advice, Kekana said: “We will not give up, for the sake of the Palestinians, for your sake, and for the sake of a better world.
From South Africa, Hamba Kahle, dearest comrade Hawking!”