“You do not become a “dissident” just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society.” – Vaclav Havel; excerpt from “Power of the Powerless”
In May 2015, I wrote “Apartheid: A Policy of Good Neighborliness” in defense of Allister Sparks, anti-apartheid journalist and author; and also to educate people about Hendrik Verwoerd, who was the architect of apartheid in South Africa. I was responding to an article on enca.com, that still falsely claims that Sparks “expressed his admiration”(their words, not his) for Hendrik Verwoerd in a speech. The original article included a video of his speech, which I watched several times to hear for myself what he said, but when I went to look at the article again recently, they took down the video and had edited the article.
Allister Sparks passed away on 19 September 2016, and because my post about him is the highest viewed here and people are still clicking on the link to the enca.com article, I am speaking up for him once again.
Here is a snippet from The Washington Post obituary, celebrating his courage and dedication to end apartheid. Rest in peace Allister.
[…]”Mr. Sparks wrote most recently for The Post in 2004, on the 10th anniversary of [Nelson] Mandela’s swearing-in as his country’s first black president.
“It was the most stirring moment of my life,” Mr. Sparks wrote. “For more than 40 years as a journalist in South Africa, I had written about the pain and injustices that apartheid inflicted on people. I had been harassed and threatened by a white regime that regarded me as a traitor for doing this, and here at last was a kind of vindication or triumph.
“It is a terrible thing to feel alienated from one’s own people,” he continued. “. . . I could not identify with the land of my birth because it stood for things I abhorred; I felt no sense of patriotism when I heard my national anthem or saw my national flag. But on that day in 1994, as I stood before a new flag, listening to a new anthem, watching a new president being sworn in, I felt, yes, my very first twinge of national pride.”