Friday, March 25, 2011

A Question for You

My apologies for not posting part seven of Arlene’s story sooner. I could give you a list of reasons but the truth is straight up procrastination. I wanted to write an introduction to part seven because I thought it was important to understand the powder keg that South Africa was at the time Arlene was at university. But to understand why, a short history lesson is needed. The history of this country, the tensions between its people groups and the events of the late 80’s were leading to the perfect storm of civil war. In his 1980 autobiography Asking for Trouble, journalist Donald Woods said, “To achieve the near-miracle of averting tragic civil war, the Afrikaner Nationalist leaders would have to free all political prisoners, enable the black liberation movements to participate freely and fairly in legitimate elections based on one-man-one vote, and demonstrate a willingness to abide by both. There is no evidence to suggest, however, that the grassroots Afrikaner Nationalist power-base would permit government leaders to go this far.”

But my history introduction turned into 1,600 word essay. I think this was because as I wrote about the evolution of South Africa as a country, I couldn’t help but comment on the parallels with United States history. Also, there were so many events, which led to larger events, that really shed light on why tensions were so high, not only between white and black, but between the white Afrikaners and the English. So I had a dilemma: do I outline all of this South African history or just summarize it in one paragraph? I thought I’d leave it up to my intrepid readers to decide.

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