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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 25. 3rd October 1973


page 4


Das Salient header Image of a man with a chained gun Image of chained person reacting
Image of a protester"Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun"PLA Cartoon Group, China

A Victory Against Imperialism

Last Monday, as the Portuguese Trade Mission began its money grubbing visit to New Zealand, the People's Assembly of Guinea-Bissau proclaimed the country's independence from Portugal.

The liberation movement in Guinea-Bissau began 17 years ago when six people formed the African Independence Party of Guinea and the Cape Verde Islands (PAIGC). Now the PAIGC has established its own administration, schools and hospitals in three quarters of the country.

Although they have been utterly defeated in Guinea-Bissau, and are on the defensive in Angola and Mozambique, the Portuguese colonialists refuse to grant the people the right to self-determination. As the Portuguese Prime Minister, Caetano, once put it:

"Africa is more than an area which must be exploited. Africa is for us a morally just cause and our raison d'etre as a state. Without Africa we would be a small nation; with Africa we are a big power."

The Portuguese have used napalm, defoliants, bombs and all the other modern military hardware supplied to them by NATO to smash the African people's independence struggle. But this policy of genocide has not been successful.

The PAIGC has defeated the Portuguese because it has worked among the people, defended them against repression and shown them how they could build a new society in the middle of a war. A milcar Cabral, the founder of the PAIGC who was murdered by Portuguese agents in January, once told his fellow party members:

"Always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for things in anyone's head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children." These words are an important lesson to revolutionaries all over the world.

Like the Paris Peace Agreement, which sent the Americans packing from Vietnam, the PAIGC's declaration of independence is a great victory in the world struggle against imperialism.

Already 12 countries have recognised the Republic of Guinea-Bissau — Algeria, the People's Republic of China, Guinea, Mauritannia, Morocco, Rumania, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania, Togo, Upper Volta and Yugoslavia. Other countries, including the Soviet Union and the Eastern European states, arc expected to follow shortly. The PAIGC told the Auckland Apartheid Information Centre in a recent letter that 40 countries had promised to recognise Guinea-Bissau. If Mr Kirk is genuine in his statements supporting "the legitimate wishes of the people (of Portuguese Africa) to have a choice in their own affairs and shape their own future," the New Zealand Government should follow suit.

Peter Franks

Do We Need These 'Diplomats'?

Last Sunday, September 30, Herr Philip of the South African Consulate burst into print in the 'Sunday Times' with a full page advertisement headed: "Should the Black peoples of South Africa rule themselves? The South African Government answered 'Yes', years ago." The text of the ad boasted "Today 6 of the Black nations living in South Africa already have local self government in their historic homelands".

It goes on to say that the land area, the population, the annual budget, and the per capita income of the Transkei (Xhosa nation) and Kwa Zulu (Zulu nation) arc greater than some random countries named. Or arc they so random? The land areas and populations are bigger than the Bahamas, Bahrain, etc. and richer than Burundi, Guinea, etc. — in fact a selection of countries designed to distort the true picture about as far as it could be distorted.

If anyone still doubts that the white South African rulers are fascists, that Vorster and his henchmen supported the Nazis in World War II (they were actually jailed for it at the time), then Herr Philip's propagandising in New Zealand surely proves it. Philip must have learned his tactics from Goebbels, who based his on the theory that the bigger the lies you tell, the more people will believe them.

Docs Philip's latest advertisement compare the budget or the percapita income of the blacks to the whites in Southern Africa? Of course not. Have his figures about land areas and populations any relevance to living standards in the countries compared? Does the bit about the South African Black nations having self-government actually mean anything, e.g. are they independent of the cruel white-imposed pass laws and similarly fascistic legislation? Not likely.

The "Sunday Times" advert is the work of a desperate man. Thanks to the efforts of the anti-apartheid movement and the Labour Government's opposition to apartheid, Philip is now finding people are increasingly sceptical of his propaganda. Lately he has given up trying to rebut UN and other statistics which illustrate the miserable life of non-whites in South Africa. He is now given to saying that because things are moving so quickly in South Africa, all statistics arc out of date!

While Philip still wins the prize as number one ratbag in the diplomatic corps in Wellington, he is very closely followed by the Malaysian High Commissioner, Mr Jack De Silva. They arc similar in their politics and the arrogant way in which they have interfered in New Zealand's internal politics. Like Philip, De Silva is an experienced diplomat who has come to New Zealand with a sinister purpose — to ruthlessly weed out any Malaysian students who are the least bit critical of the Malaysian Government.

De Silva claims to have been a communist sympathiser in his youth. That admission means he is either a renegade or a long established agent of the Malaysian security service. In either case no New Zealander or Malaysian student can trust him.

To date De Silva has been unsuccessful in his attempts to bully Malaysian students. His charges of "communist propaganda" against the Otago Chinese Language Club have been effectively rubbished by that group. The Students Associations and a few academics with guts like Victoria's I.D. Campbell have exposed his cries about "communist subversion" as direct intimidation of Malaysian students in New Zealand. And the Labour Government has refused to co-operate in his witch-hunt.

Newspaper reports from Kuala Lumpur indicate that the Malaysian Government is supporting De Silva's campaign. So it is clear that the Malaysian High Commission's efforts to make all Malaysian students toe the government line will continue. For this reason NZUSA and its constitutent students associations must continue to ensure that Malaysian and other overseas students enjoy the same rights of free speech as local students.

Salient has been accused by De Silva and his friends of being "anti-Malaysian". In fact our only crime has been to print a few articles explaining the reality of life in Malaysia, and scores of letters from Malaysian students of all points of view. De Silva's real objection is that we have allowed Malaysian students the right of free speech, a right they do not enjoy in their own country.

NZUSA has recently made protests to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about Philip's advertisements and De Silva's hysterical mouthings. Because they have flagrantly violated accepted diplomatic practice by interfering in New Zealand's internal affairs, Philip and De Silva deserve to be booted out of New Zealand. This country has enough grubby little right-wingers without these two reminders of the Third Reich swelling their numbers.

—Roger Steele & Peter Franks

Swan Song ~ Till Next Year

Drawing of a priest holding a compass

This is the twenty-fifth and last issue of Salient for 1973. For the past few weeks I've been trying to write an analysis of Salient's performance this year and of our readers' reactions, both as a worthwhile exercise in itself and to give some pointers for next year.

But its impossible to analyse the effect of this year's Salient. The reactions we receive are diverse. Some people grumble about the paper, but few have told us why. And everybody still grabs their copy off the piles, and reads substantial parts of it. One tangible reaction we do get is the letters, which are overwhelming, and the many positive responses we have had, often from unexpected sources, have been very gratifying.

We like to believe that we're open to criticism, so if you have restrained yourself this year in the hope that the revolutionary tide will ebb, then be warned that it may not. Salient next year will be continuing the line it has developed during 1973, so if you have criticisms or suggestions it will be no use to anybody to keep them to yourself.

Of course a very useful way to criticise is to suggest areas of interest that we should be covering, even if you don't write articles yourself. I hope that our readers do spend a minute or two in the coming holidays thinking about the content and direction of Salient, and what they can suggest or do to alter it.

A couple of areas that we have delved into and that we'd like to go further in, are course criticism within the university, and specialised reporting beyond it. We would like to help students make whatever attacks they think are appropriate on departments they feel need shaking up. Beyond the university one area we have begun reporting is the courts. But we have been hampered by a shortage of staff. If we could get a few concerned, responsible people to spend one or two mornings a week on the reporters' bench in court we could extend what has become one of our most worthwhile and effective preoccupations.

There are many more areas that any or all of our readers could get involved with — too many to enumerate here. These holidays, look back over the pages of Salient 1973, have a bit of a think about the future, and maybe start to do something about it.

— R. W. Steele