Namibia

THE MAIL

To the Editors of The Crimson:

Ms. Schwartz's Dec. 16 article, "Cycles of Oblivion," like most of the articles in the West that deal with Namibia, tends to distort rather than present the truth. Ms. Schwartz seems confused about the legitimacy of the name Namibia. This territory has been called Namibia by the Namibians for centuries. Let us not forget that the Germans, who used to cut off the hands of local villagers, only controlled the territory for 50 years. After their defeat in World War I, they left not only a legacy of maiming, but the illegitimate name of South-West Africa as well. This bogus conflict over nomenclature would be as if the Germans had changed the name of France to "Southwest-Germany" after World War II; the French would still call their land France, and it is doubtful that Ms. Schwartz or anyone else would dispute the validity of their claim.

In her introspective personal account, Ms. Schwartz neglected to include any mention of the human lives lost every day that the "moderate" Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) remains in power, in direct violation of international law. Ms. Schwartz, 9500 safe miles from Windhoek, can only lament the "death of dreams," but the people of Namibia are living in a situation that can only be described as an all too real, all too hellish nightmare. According to a briefing paper put out by the International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa. "The infant mortality rate for Whites was 21.6 per 1000, 145 per 1000 for Coloreds and 163 for Africans."

The report goes on to state that "of the 16 dentists in the territory, none practiced in the homelands. The ratio was one dentist per 63,000 patients." The list goes on. These statistics do not even indicate the damage done to human life by the war, which, in itself is worth an entire series of articles. But suffice it to say that 80,000 refugees fled Namibia to live in Angola.

Clearly there is a need for change. Yet Ms. Schwartz, like so many Westerners, seems unwilling to recognize the validity of legitimate resistance movements against colonial powers in Africa. She refers to SWAPO as "nationalist," "far-left" and "terrorists," but the U.N., and the rest of the world, for that matter, recognizes it as the only legitimate representatives of the Namibian people. More importantly, SWAPO enjoys wide support in Namibia, and most experts agree that it would win if an internationally supervised plebiscite were to be held. The organization is multi-racial, and its membership encompasses all of Namibia's ethnic groups. These people are obviously not wanton terrorists and are as legitimate as the French resistance during World War II, the Afghan freedom fighters, or Solidarity.

Perhaps because of her personal involvement in the situation. Ms. Schwartz is unable to see clearly the true function of the Turnhalle Alliance. It is completely irrelevant to the Namibian situation whether or not Clemens Kapuuo won the Schwartz family over.

It has often been said that many dictators were pleasant in person, and this may be true of puppets like Kapuuo as well, but that has nothing to do with their public positions. According to a 1981 IDAF report. "Fearing a SWAPO victory in the event of U.N.-controlled and supervised elections, the South African government sought to strengthen the DTA whose policies it had helped to create."

The DTA only gave the appearance of something new. In reality, South Africa was at it again and Kapuuo was just their latest instrument of domination in Namibia, a cosmetic change in a situation where passes are still required by Blacks. They still cannot (even if they had the money) own land in the best areas of their own country.

One last point worth our attention is the notion of "working within the system." This implies that the system is worth working in. In Namibia, or in South Africa, this is clearly not the case. Would Ms. Schwartz have urged the early American patriots to work within the system, or the laborers in Poland or even the Jews in Nazi Germany to "work within the system?"

Unlike Schwartz, we thank God that little has been heard of the Turnhalle constitution, which was soundly rejected by the Namibians. The Namibian destiny is closely linked to that of South Africa: only when the South African question is resolved can any order be brought out of the chaos in the region. And we feel that the South African question will be resolved when the illegal minority regime is driven into the sea. Alan L. Jackson '84   Abuer A. Mason '85   Frederick C. Moten '85