Afrikaner

WAAROM VAL ‘N VOLK UITMEKAAR?

England und der Krieg in Südafrika Rata Langa 1899Dit is ‘n uiterste bron van kommer dat ons Afrikanervolk sy hegtheid, sy samehorigheid en veral sy eensgesindheid grootliks verloor het. Dit was een van die eerste benaderiings van die Britte in die wyle na anneksasies, om ons eensgesindheid te verbreek. Die begin van Milner se uitlating by die vredesluiting in 1902, “ It may be peace but it will be war still! Not by the means of bullets, but by other means!”, was die onderwys.

Taal as onderrigmedium was die teiken en hoewel die Afrikaner sy taal bly handhaaf het, was daar tog diegene wat gedink het dat dit verheffend was om Engels te praat, so asof ons taal agterlik was. Die aanslag was egter berekend en fel! In die media is die Afrikaner nie net deur die Engelse pers beledig nie, maar erg belaster. Om dit in perspektief te plaas sal dit goed wees dat u weer blootgestel word aan ‘n brief van wyle mnr. Jaap Marais wat hy destyds aan die engelse koningin gerig het.

Herstigte Nasionale Party

Pretoriusstraat 1043                                                                   Posbus 1888

Hatfield, Pretoria, 0083                                                              0001 Pretoria

TeL (012) 342'3410                                                       Paks. (012) 342-3417

2 November 1999

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Buckingham Palace

LONDON

ENGLAND                                   ‘                      ~

Madam

It is noted that Your Majesty will be attending the forthcoming bi-ennial meeting of heads of governments of Commonwealth countries in Durban in November this year.

As this will approximately coincide with the centenary commemoration of the start of the British war against the Boer Republics on 11 October 1899 this may afford an appropriate opportunity for dealing with its effects on this country and the Afrikaner people.

What makes the occasion of the forthcoming meeting of Commonwealth heads of governments in South Africa in November auspicious for such a move is that on the occasion of the meeting of Commonwealth heads of government in New Zealand in November 1995, the matter of an invasion of a Maori territory by Britain 150 years before was dealt with and Your Majesty signed an act of parliament which provided: “The Crown expresses its profound regret and apologizes unreservedly to the Waikatu tribe of the Maoris for the loss of lives, because of the hostilities arising from its invasion and the devastation of property and social life which resulted”, the relevant invasion having taken place in 1845, then 150 years before.

There is an unmistakable parallel between the New Zealand situation and that of South Africa. Each of the words and phrases used in the apology to the Maori people concerned is applicable to the Afrikaner people of the former republics: “invasion”, “loss of lives’7, “devastation of property and social life”. And it is irrefutable that the lives lost by the Boers and the devastation of their properties and social life were far in excess of what the Waikatu. people suffered.

Your Majesty will know that in February 1995 in anticipation of your visit to South Africa I wrote to you in this connection and said that an apology by Britain to the Afrikaners was overdue. Failing to receive a reply from you I took the matter of a British apology to the Afrikaners up with the then British Prime Minister, Mr John Major.

As a result, on 1 September 1995 the British High Commissioner’s office in Cape Town referred me to a statement by Mr Major which read as follows: “And at the (nineteenth) Century’s end right and wrong mingled on each side in the Boer wars and left a bitter legacy”, and to remarks made by Your Majesty on 20 March 1995 at a state banquet in South Africa, namely “the pain and suffering which (the Boer War) entailed for so many, especially the Afrikaner people”. It was contended that: “Both these references were intended to acknowledge the suffering endured by the Afrikaner men, women and children at the start of the century”.

Although appreciating the acknowledgement of the suffering inflicted on the Afrikaner people by the British army, it could by no means be regarded as an apology in line with that offered to the Maori tribe, particularly as Mr Major’s statement even implied that the two sides in the war should be equally treated as far as “rights and wrongs” were concerned.

This compelled me to respond and to recall the almost 28 000 lives lost in the Concentration Camps, 22 000 of which were children under 16 years of age, 30 000 farmsteads and their contents which were destroyed, and the millions of cattle, sheep, goats and horses that were wantonly killed to denude the country of all means of livelihood.

In all, the Boer people of 250 000 lost 34 116 lives (14 per cent) of which only 5 071 died on commando. But the mortality rate among women and children was 25 per cent — 34,3 per cent in the Concentration Camps before Emily Hobhouse intervened and brought some relief.

— Your Majesty will know that this way of conducting the war against the Boers was condemned as “methods _of barbarism” by no less than Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, who subsequently became Prime Minister of Britain. And Gen J C Smuts, who subsequently served in the British Cabinet in the First World War, wrote:’’The (Boer) war gradually deteriorates in an attempt to massacre the Afrikaner people”.

This is the light in which the assertion of “rights and wrongs on each side” should be seen. There is nothing on the British side remotely comparable to what the Boer nation had to endure.

This is accentuated by the fact that Lord Kitchener was recently branded as a war criminal in the town of his birth, as a result of his conduct of the war against the Boer nation. And Prof Richard Crompton of Oxford has stated that the Concentration Camps of the British army were means of “ethnic cleansing”. Whatever may be asserted about the Boer leaders, no one would dare to call any of them a war criminal, and no one could accuse the Boers of ethnic cleansing. Mr Major’s assertion of rights and wrongs on each side is evidently unsustainable, to say the least                 —

As a result of the Major government’s refusal to consider an apology to the Afrikaner people the matter was taken up with Mr Major’s successor, Mr Tony Blair. On 4 January 1999 I wrote to him and reminded him that, as was reported in June 1997: “Blair apologizes to Ireland for potato famine” (of 1845); and that in January 1998 he expressed his satisfaction with an apology by the Japanese for the treatment of British POW’s in 'WW11 Significantly, Mr Blair on this occasion remarked: “We, of course, never forget the past, even when addressing the future”, a sentiment shared by other nations and which is precisely what is at issue in this instance. t

This remark is noteworthy in the light of a letter from the British High Commissioner’s office in Cape Town on 2 February 1999, the last paragraph of which reads as follows:

“Our goal is to encourage reconciliation among all concerned, including between Briton and Afrikaaner where necessary so that we can look to the future rather than dwell on the question of apologies for deeds which were done a century and more ago. It was in that context that we in the British Government remember sadness all those died and suffered during the Anglo Boer War. But a present-day government cannot responsibility for the actions of its predecessors 100 years agon.

It will be appreciated that this statement is a contradiction of the contemporary British governments apology to the Waikatu people for an invasion of their territory in 1845, as also to the Irish for the potato famine, both more or less 150 years before. And to say "that can look to the future rather than dwell on deeds which were done a century or more ago", while Your Majesty's government apologise not only for deeds of 150 years ago, but even for "The Boston Tea Party of 225 years ago, as was done in January 1999, is not only shamelessly inconsistent, but also palpably dishonest — all in rationalisation of not dealing with the Afrikaner people as with other nations which suffered at the hands of British Imperialism.

To add to the already contradictory and confusing reasons advanced for the British refusal to apologise for the holocaust of 1900-1902 in the former Boer republics, a letter dated 1 February 1999 was received from Mr Blairs private secretary in which he stated:

"The Government sees no advantage in drawing parallels between the Boer War and events elsewhere. Each case to *ich you refer occurred in unique circumstances. The Government does not think it appropriate to compare them to events in South Africa... the Government believes that it is now appropriate to look to the future, rather than to dwell on the question of apologies for deeds a century or more ago".


In reply on 1 1 March 1999 1 pointed out-that what is at issue is not a question of advantage in drawing parallels between-different historical events, but of moral obligations in the light of historical truths and precedents set by British governments in apologising to various nations for injustices committed by British governments. That each case was unique is evident, but what is the common denominator is the fact that the British government were prepared to apologise in several instances, however divergent. But in the case of the unique war against the Boers, the British government advance all sorts of excuses, mostly irrelevant and more often contradictory.

Your Majesty will appreciate that the British refusal to apologise to the Afrikaner people for the havoc wrought on this land and the holocaust of the Concentration Camps, while apologising to other nations for lesser war crimes, is completely incomprehensible in ordinary political terms and interstate relations.

Reluctantly I and other Afrikaners are forced to seek explanations for this inconsistency on the part of the British government. And however unpleasant it may be, it must be said that there seems to be mainly four reasons for the discrepant way in which the case of the Afrikaners is being dealt with by your government.

One is apparently the idea that British guilt in the war against the Boers should not be made an issue while all efforts are presently being made to indict the Afrikaners as the cause of all injustices in South Africa in order to justify British support for a Communist-controlled Black regime which is ruining the country that was one of the most prosperous ant orderly countries under Afrikaner rule.

Another reason is probably that in line with Mr Blairs statement that the British "never forget the past" there is the wounded British vanity resulting from military defeats inflicted on British arms by Boer farmers at Majuba, Colenso, Spioenkop, Stormberg, Magersfontein and others, and that this is why no apology has been made to the Afrikaners. A further reason is that there is unquestionably an ongoing British war being carried on against Afrikaners, as is shown by the attached photostatic copy of the front page of the International Express of 23 - 29 March 1994, carrying in bold type a scurrilous attack on Afrikaners, which reads as follows: "The Boers are largely stupid. They are gross, foulmouthed and bloated with arrogance. They are probably the most unattractive breed on God's earth". This, it must be conceded, is hate speech and warmongering. And inevitably it recalls the words of Sir Alfred Milner in 1902: "The South African war continues... it is no longer war with bullets. But it is war still". And the statement by Lord Deedes that from 1948 the Foreign Office was in the vanguard of the fight against the Afrikaner government which came to power in South Africa in 1948. Apologising for injustices committed in a war which is being continued by other means is naturally illogical.

A further reason seems to be that the British government do not wish to treat Afrikaners on the same basis as for instance the Waikatu Maori tribe and the Irish nation, the insulting implication being that Afrikaners do not rank with others in qualifying for an apology and are therefore to be regarded as unworthy of an apology, as seems to be the essence of the Express' message quoted above.

It is hoped that Your Majesty will appreciate the implications of your government's position and the depth of feeling on the part of Afrikaners in this matter, and will also realise that the contradictory and confusing arguments advanced by your government for the refusal of an apology to the Afrikaners for the atrocities committed in the war against the Boers are unworthy of intelligent communication.

I  trust that Your Majesty will override the Major and the Blair government's decisions in this matter and will offer an apology to the Afrikaners on the same lines as that incorporated in the relevant New Zealand act signed by you in 1995.

Respectfully

JA MARAS

LEADER OF THE HNP OF SA 

PS. As this is a matter of public concern, I will issue this letter to the media for public information.

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