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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 23. September 24, 1969

African Rift?

African Rift?

If Niel Wright's article "The Great African Rift" was a poetic piece of work, it could have been a masterpiece. Unfortunately poetic pieces have a penchant of not tying up with facts. Reviewing both the Middle East, and Southern African confrontations, I cannot see apart from the fact of fighting, any relationship between the two.

I will first deal with Mr Wright's terminology. All Israelis are not Jews, neither are all Jews Israelis. Secondly. Africans are not Negroes. The term "Negro" exists in the fantasy of the Western mind, created for the specific reason of exploiting black men. Israel, furthermore, is not in Africa. Mr Wright, no doubt, would have found out that, if he had taken the trouble to look at a map before churning out his masterpiece.

Israelis and Africans have a lot in common, more so than either of them have with the Arabs. While Jews were being hounded and finally gassed in Europe. Africans were being lynched and degraded in a European world. The Arabs, on the other hand, were sitting conniving with their European friends.

It is true Southern African freedom fighters accept Communist help where necessary, but they also accept help from non-Communist countries like Sweden and Canada. They cannot by the very fact of accepting help, be said to be turning Communist. The problems of racism cannot be eradicated by Communism or any European ideology, as the Tartar problem has demonstrated in the Soviet Union. We refuse to become the rallying flag of European factions or to be ideogolically straight-jacketed for that matter.

Moreover, Israelis are not the darlings of Western capitalism, as Mr Wright would have us believe. Earlier this year, a gang of Frenchmen surrounded a Jewish shop in Lyons, shouting insults at the propritor—and would have lynched him had the police not intervened in time.

It is suggested Mr Wright devotes his time to the problems of his own community before displaying ignorance on events abroad. For example, how about establishing some meaningful dialogue between non-university and university youth. We would rather be given a free hand to do our own thing. We would appreciate it even more if western thing tried to devote some of their time to relevant problems in their own societies. If by our various efforts we discover a common goal, we will be happy to join hands and go forward together. At the moment, we are not sure we want the same things.