Apartheid leader: Whites showed courage


sanctus
#1
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- South Africa's last apartheid president, F.W. de Klerk, has urged black people to recognize the sacrifices made by whites in embracing all-race democracy and the courage they showed in ceding power.

De Klerk was responding on Sunday to comments by anti-apartheid icon Desmond Tutu who said this week that 10 years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was formed, white South Africans did not fully appreciate the sacrifices made by black victims in forgiving past wrongs.

Writing in a Sunday newspaper, De Klerk repeated his apology to the victims of apartheid and said white-rule was "morally indefensible," but denied his government was a "criminal regime" and said whites made sacrifices too.

"Would it not be appropriate for black South Africans also to give more recognition to the contribution whites have made to the new South Africa?" he wrote in the Sunday Independent.

"It required considerable courage for ... whites ... to overcome their reasonable fears and put their trust in their erstwhile enemies."

De Klerk said that Afrikaners -- the white descendents of Dutch and French settlers -- had sacrificed centuries of struggle for self-determination to help create a democratic South Africa.

De Klerk, who turned 70 last month, shocked the world in February 1990 by announcing the release of apartheid resistance hero Nelson Mandela from 27 years as a political prisoner, putting South Africa on an historic path to all-race elections in 1994.

He fought bitter battles with Mandela in the run-up to the poll but the pair shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Price and Mandela paid tribute to his former foe last month for steering the country from the brink of a bloody racial war.

South Africa is often hailed as a model of forgiveness thanks in part to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where those who confessed publicly to apartheid crimes were granted amnesty. But Tutu said this week black victims were let down by the government's failure to bring many perpetrators to justice.

De Klerk, the last president of the National Party that instituted apartheid, retired from politics in 1997.

Copyright 2006 Reuters.
 
tracy
#2
They should be congratulated for ceding power they should never have had in the first place? You wouldn't praise a thief for returning something he stole would you?
 
Zzarchov
#3
Well, I don't think we want to get too much into the history of the thing. But yes, you should.

Alot of white people suffered alot of damage at the hands of their fellow whites for lobbying for the end of aparthied. It was in the end them who ended aparatheid too by eroding the power base of the aparathied. Otherwise aparathied would have ended in a bloody and violent war which would probably still be going on.

And it is disturbing how alot of black villains from the aparathied (ones who worked with aparathied as the equivalent of prison wardens, living in luxury and supressing violently blacks under their "care") are getting heroes funerals, while White equality activists are being written out of history.

It would be like Israel giving Stella Goldschlag a heroines burial because she was Jewish and villifying Hans Scholl because he was German.
 
tracy
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by Zzarchov View Post

Well, I don't think we want to get too much into the history of the thing. But yes, you should.

Why should I exactly? If I was a black person in S. Africa and denied my basic rights as a person, why should I get up and thank those who were denying me those rights because they finally recognized they couldn't do it anymore? It isn't as though the government ceded power just because they had an epiphany and realized it was the moral thing to do, but even if they did I still don't see why that would be reason for their victims to thank them. It's like a woman thanking her husband for not beating her when he shouldn't be beating her in the first place. People are so self congratulatory nowadays.

That doesn't mean that all whites should be vilified as oppressors and all blacks seen as noble victims. They should be judged as individuals just as we all should. It's for that same reason that I don't see why they should all be congratulated for allowing the majority the rights they were entitled to as human beings all along. Basic decency should be expected and those who went above and beyond for others should of course be acknowledged.
 
Josephine
#5
While I'm sure people appreciate the white person's effort in South Africa, I can see how it would be hard for the black people to actually thank the white people.

I mean, women fought tooth and nail to get the vote...it took decades of hard work, of blood, sweat, tears, jail and abuse to get the vote, but in the end we got the vote because then men finally allowed it. I thank the women. I see what they did and I appreciate their fight for my rights. I think it's the same kind of concept at least. It would be hard to thank those that held you down for so long.
 
Machjo
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by tracy View Post

They should be congratulated for ceding power they should never have had in the first place? You wouldn't praise a thief for returning something he stole would you?

If he returned it out of his own free will due to a guilty conscience, you bet I would. It would take courage for him to go back to where he stole the thing and risk getting caught by returning it. Of course I'd be angry at him for stealing it, and might want compensation for damages. But if he was to poor to compensate, I might forgive him due to his courage.
 
Minority Observer84
#7
LOL This is funny , Thank the opressors who realized what they were doing is wrong and took action to rectify a situation that would have ended very very badly for them had they not . The bantu are the original inhabitants of south africa and they are the majority the outcome would have been as it is now regardless of weather these people ceded power or not the only diffrence was that there was a lot less blood shed and part of that blood would have been there own . Hence to thank them for saving themselves and their countrymen and their society from that is funny to me because it's like a divorced women thanking her ex-husband for actually paying his alimony .
 
Zzarchov
#8
So, wait a minute:

Someone who is born into a society, sees it is wrong and risks his life and his safety to change it: Only deserves praise if he gains something for him and his family for it?

If he changes it to be more just but stands only to lose things and give up privelage, he is a villain?


The people who crusaded for equality in South Africa did not impose or create the system, they were born into it and fought to change it because they saw it as wrong.


This isn't saying "Hey, lets praise those dead people who instituted Aparathied", this is saying "Hey those people who had no hand in its creation and sacrificed everything to end it are heroes".


A better synonym Minority Observer 84 would be :

Its like a divorced woman thanking her ex-husband's child for helping get her out of an abusive relationship and suffering because of it.
 
Palestine87
#9
From what I can see the political organization that was set up to end aparthaid that was run by Nelson Mandela and the other resistance fighters was not just a black-only party but a large multi-ethnic, multi-coloured party that grouped together communists, socialists, black people, human rights activists and (rebels) and these are the people black and white who should be given thanks. However, to the white South African politicians who ran apartheid and a majority of white South Africans who did diddly squat when apartheid was ongoing they do not deserve any thanks at all for their 'few sacrifices'.
 
tracy
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by Machjo View Post

If he returned it out of his own free will due to a guilty conscience, you bet I would. It would take courage for him to go back to where he stole the thing and risk getting caught by returning it. Of course I'd be angry at him for stealing it, and might want compensation for damages. But if he was to poor to compensate, I might forgive him due to his courage.


I'd forgive, I wouldn't congratulate. You don't deserve accolades for correcting your wrong doing. To demand it shows a lot of gall IMO.
 
tracy
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by Palestine87 View Post

From what I can see the political organization that was set up to end aparthaid that was run by Nelson Mandela and the other resistance fighters was not just a black-only party but a large multi-ethnic, multi-coloured party that grouped together communists, socialists, black people, human rights activists and (rebels) and these are the people black and white who should be given thanks. However, to the white South African politicians who ran apartheid and a majority of white South Africans who did diddly squat when apartheid was ongoing they do not deserve any thanks at all for their 'few sacrifices'.

Well said.
 
Zzarchov
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by tracy View Post

I'd forgive, I wouldn't congratulate. You don't deserve accolades for correcting your wrong doing. To demand it shows a lot of gall IMO.

That would imply you did something wrong. Being born into a corrupt system is not wrong, especially when you dedicate your life to fixing it and suffer for it.
 
tracy
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by Zzarchov View Post

That would imply you did something wrong. Being born into a corrupt system is not wrong, especially when you dedicate your life to fixing it and suffer for it.

I specifically said those who did try to end it deserve praise. You don't deserve praise for simply living through the change. You don't deserve praise for being an apartheid supporter who eventually just gave up fighting for it and accepted reality. Every white person in the country doesn't deserve praise. Some do, some don't.
 

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