Issue #59 (October 1986)
Editor's Note: The following was submitted as a letter, but we feel it deserves status as an article. For late subscribers, it responds to "Boeru, Britu, and the Press" in Issue #56. That article argued that the present South African government treats its black citizens better than most contemporary black governments and, if ousted, would probably be replaced by a regime that treated them worse. In Issues 57 and 58 we printed an exchange of letters on this subject between Roy Shaw and Reza, who now takes up the gauntlet once more.
[quoteright]Let us concentrate first on the "Britu" as an example. Throughout the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries their meddling had reached many far- flung regions of the world. Some familiar locations included Egypt, India, China, Japan, Burma, the Americas and so on from Africa to the Pacific Islands to (more recently) the Middle East. This is not to say that they were alone involved in oppressive and antagonizing activity with less militarily developed and subsequently less powerful peoples than themselves. But in view of their prior achievements, let us focus on them alone for the sake of argument. Once again the "Britu," having found another interesting plot of land, discover that it is unfortunately populated with burdensome, inferior races that have no use for the wealth that lies beneath and around them, as was the case with the Zulus' strategically important region, the Arabs', Egyptians', and Iranians' oil and priceless historical artifacts, the Pretorians' literal mountain of minerals, precious metals, gems and ores, and the Chineses' poppies.
I do not see any reason why these people should be allowed to remain in Pretoria any longer. Have we not learned enough from history? Must we wait until South Africa is stripped of all its value before they surrender it? Civil disputes within nations have existed for thousands of years. This absolutely does not say that they should be ignored. However, should the "Britu" remain, the international implications could be enormous. We would then have unconsciously condoned international interference and would therefore set the stage for another Soviet Afghanistan, American Vietnam, French Algeria, or a Japanese Indonesia (have we forgotten the last two yet?). In our case, we simply must not allow one nation's "tribe" to subjugate another's with such impunity. Civil problems are nasty to say the least, but, as in Mr Shaw's example, I cannot possibly imagine any Iranian or Nicaraguan who would rather be ruled by an oppressive foreign power, than an equally oppressive national one, although granted it would be easier to define the enemy in the former case (though they may not necessarily be as easy to oust).
We all have a moral responsibility as educated people to listen to the cries of those living under subjective black tribes as well as others around the world, despite the news media's dangerous obsession with maintaining public interest (and ratings) through selective editing and undue emphasis. It is perhaps as George Orwell warned, and is in Mr Shaw's words "damn sad." Reporting the truth is a continuously unglamorous job and newspeople must be further reminded of that fact, yet also of its incredible importance. The best we can do is attempt to apply our own political pressure and educate others about the situation as best we can. At least we can say we tried. We may also act to help prevent a corrupt black administration takeover, unlike the irresponsibility with the Iran situation that yielded an unexpected Khomeini regime which would prove far more dangerous to its people and the rest of the world than the Shah could ever have dreamt of being. And be- sides, not all black governments are totalitarian.
As for Mr Shaw's slavery question ["Did the Boeru and Britu tribes engage in slave trade to the extent the black tribes engaged in slave trade?], I feel that slavery is a relative term. An enslaved human being is in physical chains; an enslaved nation is a herd of rounded cattle that yearns for the political chain to be broken that binds million of black people in their very own homeland. If I remember Shakespeare: "'Tis he alone that suffers most/ Who suffers in the mind." Apart from being bought or sold, how much more rights do black Pretorians have now than stereotypical slaves? I should think that their suffering be more in that they see before them the decay of their nation and that their suffering cannot be visibly seen, felt and understood by typical television viewers thousands of miles away. True emotions and feelings simply do not diffuse as well through a television screen as do physical and callous acts of violence and brutality.
We spent time, money, and incredible effort exhorting the Statue of Liberty and its concept on that July 4 weekend. Let us not forget how much it means to others as well as ourselves.