Originally posted by KazetNagorra
In the end it did not appear that Mandela's use of violence decades before the end of apartheid did much to end it. I'm no expert on South African history but I am still not convinced it was "necessary" in any real sense. Likewise (for example), the abolition of most sexist and anti-gay laws in the West after WW2 did not require violence.
I would pos ...[text shortened]... from the Israeli government, an independent Palestinian state would have been founded long ago.
KazetNagorra shows his abysmal understanding of history as well as his extreme
'double standards' toward the usage of violence. And KazetNagorra keeps showing
his total lack of comprehension of the brutal realities of racist oppression.
Bad as legalized bigotry against LGBT people was (or still is in some places), it was
less brutal than Western imperialism's routine racist oppression of non-white peoples.
A gay person could avoid the worst of bigotry by staying in the closet (uncomfortable,
yes, but often fairly safe), but a black person could not conceal being black and thus
evade the impact of racism.
South Africa's apartheid system was maintained only through institutional violence.
The apartheid regime was responsible for killing many more non-white people than
the ANC was responsible (in its modest scale of armed struggle) for killing white civilians.
But KazetNagorra apparently prefers to blame only the anti-apartheid side for violence.
And it's absurd for KazetNagorra to argue, if he does, that apartheid could have ended
*only* through the peaceful working for change *within* the apartheid system itself.
That was initially attempted (including by some liberal whites) and found to be futile.
Indeed, the pro-apartheid intelligence and security forces targeted the most promising
non-violent anti-apartheid activists for torture or murder. There was no realistic possibility
of, say, a South African Martin Luther King being able to lead hundreds of thousands
of people in marching peacefully against apartheid. The security forces would have
eliminated him before then, and South Africa's propaganda would have loudly branded
him as a 'Communist agitator' or 'terrorist', thus drawing support from the USA.
(Until the early 1990s. the CIA reportedly classified Nelson Mandela as a 'Communist terrorist'.)
Donald Woods, a liberal white journalist, was shocked when South African security forces
did something resulting in his young daughters getting badly burned. He had expected
the apartheid regime to employ such violent measures against only non-white critics
of apartheid. As a well-connected white man, he expected that he and his family
would be immune from such violence. So he reluctantly came to the conclusion
(which his black friends in the ANC had reached much earlier) that the struggle
against apartheid could not be won solely through non-violent means.
To be realistic, apartheid was supported by the overwhelming majority of white South Africans
(though few of them were honest enough to admit it after apartheid came to an end).
Even a few token cosmetic 'reforms' to apartheid encountered fierce opposition.
The apartheid regime showed (as at Sharpeville) that it was ready to use overwhelming
lethal force against unarmed protesters. Apartheid did not come to an end because
most white South Africans had their moral consciences suddenly awakened. It came
to an end because enough white South Africans became afraid enough of their long
term future--of their prosperity and survival--if they kept having to fight an endless war
against the non-white majority, amidst increasing international isolation. Near the end
of apartheid, Israel was South Africa's only ally. Even the USA (which long had supported
the apartheid regime in all but name) had begun agreeing to economic sanctions against
South Africa. In short, white South Africans reluctantly agreed to abolish apartheid
because they became afraid enough of what continuing apartheid would do to their futures.
For most white South Africans, it was a matter of calculated self-interest, nothing more or less.
I could write a book about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, so what follows must be
extremely abridged and very oversimplified. But I have noticed that almost none
of the writers in this forum knows much at all about the history. I suppose that I
should begin by emphasizing the fact that there's been much more Israeli violence
against Palestinian civilians than Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians, but
many Westerners typically make one-sided condemnations of the Palestinians.
KazetNagorra shows his extreme ignorance of the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
There was not "a snowball's chance in Hell" that a triumphalist Israel--backed by practically
unconditional US support--would even have considered seriously negotiating with the
Palestinians about anything, let alone an independent Palestinian state, shortly after
the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Golda Meir had explicitly denied that the Palestinian people
even existed, so Israel had no one that it needed to talk to. The Palestinians were
supposedly no more than some shiftless refugees with no political rights, no sense
of national identity, and no legal or moral claims against Israel and Zionism.
For decades, the US government's official policy was to deny there was a separate
Palestinian people. The US government long refused to meet with or recognize
anyone (such as the PLO) claiming to represent the Palestinian people who did not
belong to an Arab government recognized by the USA. When one examines the record
of the 1970s-1980s, the USA spent much time attempting to find *a non-Palestinian*
(such as Jordan's King Hussein or Egypt's Sadat) who would *represent the Palestinians*
and be acceptable to Israel (which held a de facto veto over the 'peace process' ).
Whether most Palestinians would feel genuinely 'represented' by a US-appointed
foreign (non-Palestinian) politician was not something that gave much concern to
the US government. It seems that the US government expected that enough Arab client
state arm-twisting could compel the Palestinians to accept an appointed figurehead.
In reality, shortly after the 1967 war, the Palestinian people were faced with their
impending political extinction. None of the major players then took the Palestinians
seriously at all. So when they took up arms, *at first* the Palestinians were fighting,
not yet for the dream of an independent state, but simply *to show the world that a
Palestinian people did exist*. Golda Meir was wrong. The Palestinians did exist,
and they were determined to keep fighting and dying until the rest of the world began
to pay attention to them. Their enemies (Israel and even some Arab regimes)
would not succeed in the *silent* elimination of the Palestinian people from history.
If that was to be their fate-succumbing to overwhelming ruthless superior force--at
least the Palestinians would go out with a bang, so to speak, and give their enemies
a reason to remember them. Indeed, until about the time of the ill-fated Oslo Accords
(which Edward Said eloquently denounced as a 'Palestinian Versailles' ), the PLO's
main objective was simply to gain international recognition, to convince the world that
the 'Palestinian people' was not going to go away quietly. It's said that Arafat once,
thinking of the fate of 'Indians' herded onto reservations in the USA, said that it would
be better for the Palestinians to resist to the death rather than suffer a similar tragic fate.
When I joined RHP, there was no Palestinian flag for members to use. I created the
initiative that, with the help of other members, was responsible for changing that here.
I also know that for a long time, the US media (or major parts of it) censored the display
of the Palestinian flag because they regarded it as a 'terrorist symbol'. Yes, the PLO
and Hamas have not yet succeeded--against overwhelming odds--in creating a truly
independent viable Palestinian state. But Palestinian resistance has succeeded in
keeping the Palestinian cause not only alive, but gaining increasing international support
almost everywhere outside the USA, which remains extremely biased in favor of Israel.
Most people now apparently recognize some of the moral force on the Palestinian side.
And that's quite an achievement in the face of the well-financed, well-oiled Israeli propaganda machine.
KazetNagorra should stick to his field of physics; he shows abysmal comprehension of history.