Wednesday, November 1, 2006

it's come to this

Botha, the face of apartheid, is dead

Mail Foreign Desk Last updated at 12:46pm on 1st November 2006

South Africa's last hardline apartheid ruler died last night at the age of 90. PW Botha led the country for 11 years, first as prime minister and then as president, until he stepped down in 1989.
His death, at the Western Cape home he shared with his second wife Barbara, puts paid to any hope that he might stand trial for human rights abuses committed during his leadership.

Botha had refused to testify before the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission which was set up to investigate human rights abuses and force perpetrators to account for their actions. His ill health saved him from prosecution for non-cooperation.
However in a surprising twist, Nelson Mandela paid tribute to the former South African Preident who is remembered for doggedly refusing to release Mandela from prison for battling white rule.
"While to many Mr Botha will remain a symbol of apartheid, we also remember him for the steps he took to pave the way towards the eventual peacefully negotiated settlement in our country," Mandela said today.

Nicknamed 'The Great Crocodile', Mr Both was an abrasive and controversial figure. In his last interview, he dismissed the idea of a 'rainbow nation' in which all races could exist in harmony. He described the ANC-led government's policy of affirmative action to help disadvantaged blacks as a 'bad form of apartheid'.
A farmer's son from the Afrikaaner heartland of the Orange Free State, Botha first became active in politics in 1936 as an organiser for the National Party, aged 19. He won a seat in parliament in 1948.

As defence minister from 1966 to 1978 he managed to get round the international arms embargo and oversaw a massive increase in the defence budget.When he became prime minister in 1978 he embarked on a number of reforms, including bringing an end to the ban on inter-racial relationships. These limited measures were, however, seen merely as an attempt to assuage hostile world opinion and retain the white minority's monopoly on power. For many South Africans Botha will be remembered more for his brutal suppression of political opposition.

Human rights groups estimate that up to 30,000 people were held without trial during the repeated states of emergency he ordered between 1986 and 1989. He was ousted as National Party leader by FW de Klerk in September 1989. De Klerk went on to release ANC leader Nelson Mandela, who became South Africa's next - and first black - ruler.
my first reaction: *singing* ding, dong, the witch is dead/the wicked witch is deaaaaad!
second reaction: i really shouldn't rejoice, outwardly or otherwise, in ANYONE's death, should i.
third reaction: whatever. his time had come. and what's this bullshit "about the steps he took to pave the way towards the eventual peacefully negotiated settlement in [South Africa]"?? perhaps mandela is privy to information that i am not. cuz that smells like bullshit to me.
fourth and final reaction: why do these guys (mobutu, milosevic, botha) always die of natural causes before i get my chance to haul them into court for gross human rights violations!!??

Currently listening : Groove Theory

By Groove Theory