This article was part of a speech given by an amazing lady, who I once had the privilege to hear speak and who is my Facebook Friend. Olga Meshoe, daughter of the ACDP president Reverend Kenneth Meshoe and Dr Lydia Meshoe. Olga is a deeply committed Christian, a lawyer, consultant, youth activist and founder of DEISI (Defend, Embrace, Invest, Support Israel), I am sure to have left out some of her many achievements as a public speaker and activist.
As Jews (and non-Jews) across the world prepare to celebrate Purim tomorrow and Thursday, here is an extract from my speech at the South African Friends of Israel conference last week that can be sub-titled “For such a time as this”. I pray that it challenges someone out there!
“In just under 2 weeks, many across the world will be celebrating Purim. This is holiday celebrates the courage taken by Queen Esther to save a nation that faced the very real threat of annihilation.
A decree was made to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, young and old, on a specified date. Mordecai sent a message to the palace informing his cousin, Queen Esther, of the imminent destruction of the Jews, for her to go to the king and plead for the lives of her people. Esther’s initial response was to remind her uncle of the law of the land, the order of the way things worked. You only went to the king when he called for you. If you went uncalled for and he didn’t reach out his golden scepter to you, you were killed. The king hadn’t called for her in over 30 days and so she couldn’t go to the king. Mordecai did not accept Esther’s excuse but challenged her as to whether she had perhaps been placed in the palace “for such a time as this”. She did not just have an opportunity; she had an obligation to, after praying (which she did), take a bold stand and do what was ordinarily not done so that a nation could be saved.
It is for such a time as this my South African brothers and sisters (particularly my black brothers and sisters) that we are to take back the painful memories and impact of what our forefathers suffered during apartheid and from what we still bear the scars. It is for a time such as this that we are to let those who have made the legacy of apartheid their own by countless lies and propaganda, know that we will not sit down and let the legacy of our apartheid, our humiliation under it, be trivialised for their own selfish gain!
It is for such a time this my Muslim brothers and sisters, that you are to call to account those who are participating in the 3rd intifada currently taking place in the streets of Israel in the name of your religion. It is for such a time as this that you are to challenge your leaders to speak up and condemn the calls to wipe Israel off from the face of the earth and not to celebrate the deaths of the innocent.
It is for such a time as this my Christian brothers and sisters, that we are to speak up in defence of our brothers and sisters who are being massacred in their thousands in the Middle East and parts of Africa and to let the world know that they cannot kill us because of our faith. It is for such a time as this that we are to remember that we cannot separate ourselves from the people in whose history our faith is rooted; the people who gave us the Bible and the people whose God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is our God! A time such as this to come out from hiding from our identity as Christians and to boldly stand with Israel and the Jews and by them and to remind them that they are not alone.
The Lord said to His people through the prophet Isaiah – I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night. He then gives us, people who have been set as watchmen on the wall a simple instruction “keep not silent”.
Israel’s enemies are not silent – we too cannot be silent!
You and I and all those people who truly wish to see lasting peace in the Middle East are alive at a time such as this to let the world know, to let the BDS movement know, that Israel has many friends all over the world who have decided to stand up and be counted; those of us who were quiet have decided to be quiet no more and those of us who were speaking have decided to raise our voices and continue speaking.
In the words of Bridgette Gabriel “Israel is the only democracy at the front line of the defence of Western Civilisation in the Middle East. The world needs Israel as much at Israel needs the world.””
Thank you Olga and family for the work you do, to make the world a better place.