U.S. Policy on South Africa
I must take exception to your shallow editorial position on South Africa and the letters from some people stating simplistic, unrealistic and nonsensical approaches to a very difficult and serious problem.
South Africa is a country established more than 300 years ago by Europeans without expelling or conquering any existing population. It was not a situation comparable with the settlement of the United States where we moved, eliminated or otherwise dispossessed the Indians.
The black population of South Africa is solely from immigration from other areas of Africa, which are destitute, starving, corrupt or economically stagnant. They were not obliged to grant citizenship to people coming to their country to find work and a better life. This is not an uncommon situation in the world as we see in Switzerland, Italy, Germany and many others that allow people to enter the country to work but not to vote or otherwise participate in the society. It would be comparable to 8 million Mexicans coming to Los Angeles on green cards and then wanting to vote and run the city.
It is more serious in the South African situation because the 16 million blacks would totally take over the country from the rightful citizens and probably dispossess them, slaughter them or otherwise make life intolerable. This is not a racist or rash statement. One need only look and every other African state including the most recent debacle in Rhodesia to see that some form of tragedy awaits South Africans if they were to somehow follow the advice of you and some of your readers.
While no one can defend apartheid in this country we could at least recognize that the problem they face with 80% of the population black and most illiterate is far greater than the one United States faced in 1954 with only 10% black. (And most black leaders would say we haven’t solved it yet after 30 years)
It would just be nice if we in the United States could be as tolerant with our good friends like South Africa as we were with our enemies and butt out!
Marina del Rey
What is going on in South Africa under apartheid is worse than what went on in Germany under Hitler. There might as well be ovens.
The blacks are usually doomed in the concentration camps that white South African leaders affectionately call their “Homelands.” Their Homelands, to the uninitiated, are in unlivable desert dotted with shacks and graveyards where few blacks ever lived before being exiled there. It is a geography so barren they cannot grow their own food, an economy so lopsided they certainly cannot buy it. So they die. Gas chambers--no. But what’s the difference?
I am not Jewish. I am not black. I am appalled. Appalled that South African whites have gotten away with such inhumanity. Appalled also that its Doublespeak has been able to placate the free world.
Doublespeak--will it be the next language taught at Berlitz? Homeland means exile. Police and soldiers mean murderers. “Emergency Regulations” means genocide.
Does the United States speak the same language? “Constructive engagement” means “more of the same.”
Any foreign involvement or pressure on Pretoria to end apartheid and introduce a black majority government in South Africa will ultimately, as history has proved in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, result in mass white flight, inter-tribal warfare, economic hardship and eventually Communist involvement.
As a liberal Democrat, and one who has recently visited three cities in South Africa, I’m amazed at the distortions I see in almost daily newspaper articles and editorials about the unfortunate situation in that beleaguered country.
One would never know from the constant reportage of riots and legitimate protesting against the admittedly wrongful practices of the apartheid regime that there has been considerable progress in integrating the races.
One would think that the nation was entirely black against white. How many of your readers are aware of the many white newspapers who almost daily call for an end to the paranoia of the Afrikaan regime. That the current and neurotic state of emergency issued by the government has been condemned by the same kinds of intellectual forces that in this country caused an end to Vietnam and the presidency of Richard Nixon.
My point is that there are democratic forces at work in South Africa, heading toward an equitable solution. We should not presume that it is our business to impose a settlement any more than other countries forced us to pass our Civil Rights Act--100 years after the end of the Civil War.
The nation is basically democratic. If it were not so, could Bishop Desmond Tutu and other dissidents come and go freely, castigating the Pretoria government in the West, and then get on a plane to Johannesburg? Can Lech Walesa do this? Does Sakharov have such a right in Russia?