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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 29, No. 13. 1966.

Verwoerd's death: wrong but just

Verwoerd's death: wrong but just

The Conventional Tributes paid to Verwoerd's "honesty," "sincerity," etc., strike me as nauseating. One might have said the same about Hitler (whom the Doctor greatly admired), who was certainly sincere in his attempt to exterminate the Jews. We should remember that Verwoerd was the chief architect of a fundamentally evil system. All that can be said on his behalf was that he was more anxious to apply the system logically than most of his followers; his failure to do so infinitely increased the suffering of his victims. But he must be held responsible for Sharpeville. His regime inflicted unspeakable cruelties on thousands of South Africans, white, black, and coloured;

It kept them in prison without trial while their families starved; it condoned tortures, beatings, and judicial murder; it did its best to wreck South Africa's free press and the rule of law; and covered all these activities with a repulsive veneer of humbug, derived from the debased form of Christianity in which Verwoerd believed. That he was knifed to death in the parliament he had debauched seems entirely appropriate. Violence is wrong, even when inflicted on those who rule by it. But too many tyrants die in their beds; and many of us, if we are honest, will admit some satisfaction that, for once, natural justice has been done.