Ian Smith's passing at age 88 on November 20 merited a few mentions in the mainstream press. Unsurprisingly, much of what was written about the man and his attempt to save his country from internationalist meddling during the 1970s portrayed him as a racist scoundrel. As with most of what passes for reporting in the mainstream media, these reports were scurrilous oversimplifications.
Conservatives have long railed at the communist/liberal-left axis that has formed the most visible base of the worldwide attack on South Africa: the Soviet Union, Cuba, Libya, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe; the United Nations, the World Council of Churches, the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus, Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young, and the whole network of professional civil rights/human rights radicals that grew out of the 1960s antiwar movement; and, of course, the literati and glitterati of the national press, academe, and Hollywood.
A full-page advertisement appeared in the January 28, 1987 issue of the Washington Times with a picture of Oliver Tambo, leader of the South African Marxist terrorist group known as the African National Congress (ANC), standing next to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Next to it was a composite photograph of Tambo standing next to U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz. The headlines of the ad, which was sponsored by a coalition of conservative groups, asked: "Which Bothers You More?"
On the same day, a group of demonstrators affiliated with the Coalition Against ANC Terrorism staged a demonstration in front of the U.S. State Department. The demonstrators, many of them Black, wore tires around their necks as a reminder of the ANC's tactic of burning innocent South African Blacks to death with the technique of necklacing. The protesters even staged a simulated necklacing incident, which was so realistic that two fire trucks were dispatched to the scene.
The issue of South Africa is of concern to everyone, not just South Africans. Indeed, according to former British Foreign Secretary David Owen, it is over this issue "that the world faces its greatest challenge." Faced with such a challenge, it is time for all concerned Americans to penetrate the haze of myths and misconceptions that has been deliberately created.
Unless we wish to see a repetition of the recent tragedies of Iran, Nicaragua, and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) — where U.S. foreign policy decisions resulted in the replacement of friendly governments with anti-American, pro-Soviet regimes — we must seek out the truth by raising pertinent questions and obtaining factual answers. In light of the Free World's hostility toward South Africa, a good place to begin is by raising a very fundamental and simple question.
The scene is a gloomy shanty somewhere in Soweto, the sprawling black township on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Standing around the room are a group of young black radicals known as "comrades," and hanging ominously on the walls are some old tires. The air is hot and heavy, the atmosphere solemn. The "People's Court" is in session.
Someone issues an order, and the accused party is roughly hauled in. Like his accusers and judges, the accused is black. Unlike the others in the room, however, he is not a dedicated participant in the Marxist revolution sweeping through the black townships in South Africa. For that reason he is now on "trial."
The "defendant" is charged with the crime of collaborating with "the system" and with the police. The comrades, acting as prosecutor, judge, and jury, do not worry about such legal niceties as proof and the rights of the accused. The trial is short and to the point. The verdict is foreordained: guilty. As is the sentence: death by "necklace."