18 September 2015
Open Shuhada Street supports the planned demonstration outside the Pharrell Williams concert on the 21st of September. The demonstration forms part of the current boycott campaign against Woolworths.
As an organisation that campaigns against human rights abuses in Israel and Palestine, we lend our support to the consumer boycott of Woolworths. As it stands, Woolworths stocks produce originating either within Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This runs counter to the call for boycott issued by Palestinian civil society. More importantly, it runs counter to Woolworth's own widely touted ethical mandate.
Woolworth's has brought down Pharrel Williams, a high profile American celebrity, to draw attention away from the boycott campaign that aims to pressure Israel into recognising the rights of Palestinians guaranteed under international law.
Pharrell himself has refused to engage with South Africa civil society. This is unfortunate considering his perceived track record of supporting human rights. In response to a number of Iranian youths being arrested for filming a music video of his smash hit 'Happy' whilst being unveiled, he issued the following statement:"It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness"
We would hope Pharell will extend the same empathy to Palestinian children. Last year the Israeli military killed 1,492 civilians of which 551 were children. This does not include the thousands injured and maimed during the bombing. Furthermore, approximately 700 Palestinian children under the age of 18 from the Illegally Occupied West Bank are prosecuted every year through Israeli military courts after being arrested, interrogated and detained by the Israeli army. Since 2000, more than 8,000 Palestinian children have been detained, all of this is of course illegal under international law.There denial of happiness is something Pharell too should feel deeply saddened about.
We urge our membership and the general public to join us on Monday 21 September at GrandWest to make it clear: Pharell, please stop #‎Singing4Apartheid.
Bruce Baigrie

082 452 3783