The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on June 3, 1985 · 11
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · 11

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Monday, June 3, 1985
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Cos Angeles Slimes Monday, June 3, 1985Part I 1 1 S. AFRICA: 'Spiral of Violence' Continued from Page 10 ernment's ability to check the violence before it becomes endemic. Alan Paton, author of "Cry the Beloved Country" and, at 82, still the liberal conscience of English South Africans, said in a lecture here last week that the escalating violence could only be checked by the elimination of apartheid and by sweeping political reforms that both ensure black rights and protect the white minority of 4.9 million. "The time is short, I know, and these times are grave," Paton told his mostly white audience, "but either we make up our minds and wills to travel the hard road ahead, or we relapse into despair, and if we relapse into despair, we ought to get out of South Africa as soon as possible." Confessing his "deepest gloom" since the 1976 Soweto riots that left at least 575 dead nationwide over a year's time. Prof. Hermann Gili-omee, a University of Cape Town political scientist, said of the present situation: "The problems all look intractable. The government seems unable to restore stability, either through massive repression or thorough reform. The police and army cannot deal with the disturbances except as firemen, putting out the worst flames but leaving the embers to smolder on." Outlawed Group Blamed The government views the violence as part of the announced strategy of the outlawed African National Congress to make the country ungovernable and to thwart the process of gradual reform in order to foment a black revolution. The growing black -versus-black violence, according to senior government officials, is due to sharp conflicts between the radicals proponents of this strategy and its more moderate opponents. Increased police and troop deployment in troubled areas, some of which now look like they are under military occupation, does not appear to have prevented the spread of violence or significantly reduced its intensity. A member of Parliament from the ruling National Party commented, "Containment is about the best we can hope for in the short run. . . . And we pray that it gives us the time we need for reforms." But tighter discipline since the fatal police shooting of at least 19 blacks March 21 at Langa, outside Uitenhage, seems to have resulted in fewer deaths as a result of police actions. Now there are massive T A '2kf -. caii your cravei agent cjt Q W 1 1 or Alaska Airlines and book r. r-i iiiiiiviiiii ill thx i i i f-1 ii ii i . course, if it's more conven to and Burbank, Long Beach or Ontario airports as well.) Then open wide and say "ah." operations with military support in which townships are cordoned off for a day while house-to-house searches are conducted for those suspected of organizing protests or for weapons. "The police strategy now seems to be calculated shows of force in townships and liberal use of tear gas if necessary, but the avoidance of conflict," said a field organizer for the United Democratic Front in Port Elizabeth. "Although their presence is still provocative, there haven't been any more Langas, thank God." 'Culture of Violence' Van Heerden, the University of South Africa criminologist, said that many of the government measures to curb unrest are probably adding to the growing "culture of violence" in the townships. "We have reverted to the old policing style where those who oppose the system are enemies," he said, criticizing the extensive deployment of armored cars, troops in helmets and camouflage uniforms and the displays of massive force as "creating a war atmosphere." Senior police officers have complained recently that their efforts to deal with unrest are hampered by the rioters' tactics, including the use of women and children as "human shields," the absence of suspected leaders from the front lines of most protests and the increased attacks on police, particularly the township homes of black policemen. The police crackdown on the United Democratic Front, the Aza-nian People's Organization and other anti-apartheid groups also appears to have failed to reduce the unrest. Sixteen of the front's top leaders will be tried shortly on treason charges, several others have been detained under South Africa's strict security laws and the front's meetings and those of 28 affiliates have been banned in 18 magisterial districts of eastern Cape province and near Johannesburg. Black community leaders say these measures have actually increased the violence because the front and its affiliates are unable to organize meetings in troubled areas to restore discipline among their members. At the same time, the government's recent political, economic and social reforms many of them going far to reduce apartheid and perhaps preparing for its eventual end have done little to assuage the anger of blacks, who dismiss them as "cosmetic changes" or "too 11 i 1 i ient you can also fly Alaska from the suburban little, too late." Sam de Beer, deputy minister of education and cooperation, said the government is putting together a package of further economic, social and educational measures that "will go a long way towards removing black grievances." But, he added, it cannot act because of the current unrest in black townships. Thus far, the fundamental black demands for full political rights have not been met by the government. President Botha has offered to discuss the issue with moderate black leaders, but he has ruled out a one-man, one-vote democracy, a federal system composed of white and black provinces or adding a chamber to represent blacks to the present tricameral Parliament. "Within the black community, the growing insistence on full political rights in a unitary state is rising all the time," Naude commented. "A politicization on the part of black youths, especially in the townships, has increased so dramatically in the past few years that they, for example, are no longer satisfied with purely educational reforms. Their target now is to obtain political power and political control. They have discovered that without that power, those education reforms make take years, even decades." Violence Taking Root This impatience brings violence, Naude said, and this new "cultural violence" is now taking root in the black ghettos and will not be easily eliminated. Mafuna, the black marketing and public opinion specialist, does not see most of the violence as organized but says that blacks increasingly regard it as "an effective tool in drawing attention to our problems (but) not overthrowing the state." "The violence is not as purposeless as it may seem, because even if it is not focused, it is one instrument that both the South African government and the world understand," Mafuna said. That leads him to believe that it may soon spread outside the black townships to white areas. "An outside world accustomed to violence won't be shocked by the burning of local (black) schools and buses, " he said, "but only by an escalation of violence focused outside the townships on white offices, factories and suburbs." And criminologist Van Heerden said: "The youths are dictating in the townships today. Violence has become a power symbol to them. When you show the quelling of a riot in Uitenhage (on television), you are showing that violence can be used to achieve something." 4 DAILY tJONSTOPS TO SEATTLE FROM LAX: LV: 7:00 am, 10:00 am, l:15pmf 6:10 pm Special unrestricted coach fare $149 one-way. Good only on flight 175. ( 1:15 pm). Fares subject to change without notice. " Silverwoods presents Bostonian, a name that has stood for uncompromising quality since 1899. And now, for a limited time only, you can take advantage of an incredible shoe offer. 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