Archive for the ‘Apartheid’ Category

Present crisis, past ghosts – Mail & Guardian

As the nation is sucked into national crisis after national crisis, the small everyday suffering of ordinary people in their pursuit of justice and equality remain forgotten. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

The inquest into the death of Ahmed Timol, an anti apartheid activist, which began at the South Gauteng High Court reveals old wounds. Timol was the 22nd person to die in detention; and 45 years later the only official record of his death is the initial inquest which concluded that he committed suicide and absolved the police of any blame. But the reopening of the inquest into the circumstances surrounding his death is more than just an effort in providing closure to his family. It is testimony to a countrys unresolved past which is haunted by the ghosts of the dead, the cries of the missing, the tortured and the wounded. For them the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) provided no answers and little sense of justice.

But as the testimony of his compatriot who was also detained and tortured and the review of the blunt and blatantly distorted apartheid era judicial proceedings unfolded in court, the inquest also raised two hard questions that South Africa still confronts today.

Timol was not the only activist who died or went missing during apartheid. But his is one of the first cases which is being revisited in a judicial proceeding in the post TRC-era. To convince the National Prosecuting Authority, the NPA, to reopen the docket, the Timol family had to rely on a private investigation and assistance from a leading human rights organisation.

Both are privileges that the majority of other families of victims of apartheid era crimes have no access to. For them, the questions surrounding the disappearance or death of loves ones, the justice for rights violated remains out of reach. Although Timol and many others died for the fight against inequality, in a democratic South Africa, race and class remain significant shapers of position and power. This is especially true in the criminal justice system where the poor are left at the mercy of police and prosecutors.

Ongoing research on the informal mining sector, reveals that the zama zama- often poor and foreign – are subject to severe forms of police brutality and extortion, including being detained without charge for weeks, denied a bail hearing within 24 hours as dockets go missing, and state appointed defence attorneys are unable or unwilling to verify addresses and names.

One man, a 32 year old from Zimbabwe who works as an informal miner in the West Rand, was held in detention for 93. His family went from legal aid office to legal aid office, paid for a private attorney who failed to appear in court, resorted to a bribe to see hi in prison and take him medication and eventually secured his release on a warning for trespassing

Second, the inquest heard at length of the brutality of the then security police as they violated the rights and spirits of activists, their families and communities. As the investigation painfully reconstructs the interrogating team and tries to track down any survivors, outside court on the streets in Johannesburg the new democratic police force continues to operate with impunity and discrimination.

For foreigners the police are a threat to the many who hustle to make a living selling on the kerbside- many glance nervously as around as they fear raids fro by law infringements, knowing that a small bribe will get their goods released, and their charges dropped yet again. Alongside them poor South Africans face the on-going threat of illegal and violent evictions. All of this is neither new nor surprising.

Just a week before the Timol inquest began the IPID released a report showing that deaths in police detention have risen dramatically – from April to September 2016, 159 people died in policy custody across the country. The IPID 2015/6 annual report shows that 69% of the 333 deaths reported in police custody in that period were finalised. 333 deaths in police custody. This is addition to the 713 cases of death reported as a direct result of police action. In one year, more than 1000 people died at the hands of the police. Not a security police working for an illegitimate government, a police force that is meant to serve and protect the country and its residents.

Yet as the behaviour of the police from Marikana to #FeesMustFall to the everyday policing of service delivery protests shows, the leadership, capacity and tactics of the police force is left wanting.

Yet there remains little leadership and direction from government on improving the accountability and services of the police, to ensure that justice is saved and that the weak and the poor have equitable access to the criminal justice system. It should not fall to families to rely NGOs and privately funded investigations to seek answers from the state. As the nation is sucked into national crisis after national crisis, the small everyday suffering of ordinary people in their pursuit of justice and equality remain forgotten.

Zaheera Jinnah is a researcher at Wits University, she writes in her personal capacity.

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Present crisis, past ghosts – Mail & Guardian

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Israel approves budget for controversial ‘Apartheid road’ in West Bank – Middle East Monitor

Israel has reportedly approved a budget for the construction of the so-called Eastern Ring Road in the occupied West Bank, known by activists and rights groups as the Apartheid road.

The road, part of Israels plans of developing the controversial E1 corridor, has been denounced as an attempt to further expand illegal Israeli settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territory, while deepening the separation between Palestinian communities on opposite sides of Israels separation wall.

According to a statement released by Israeli rights group Ir Amim on Monday, the development of the road is one of several developments necessary for preparing the ground for E1.

The reports emerged from Israeli media outlet Israel Hayom, which stated that the road is expected to be opened to Israeli traffic in the next 10 months.

According to rights groups, settlement construction in E1 would effectively divide the West Bank and make the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state as envisaged by the internationally backed two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict almost impossible.

Israeli activity in E1 has attracted widespread international condemnation, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has in the past said that E1 is a red line that cannot be crossed.

However, the Eastern Ring Road was proposed by former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a plan to apparently solve the issue of bifurcating the West Bank, by facilitating navigation from Ramallah to Bethlehem for Palestinians but without any access to Jerusalem.

A map showing the boundaries, settlements, barriers and roads in the Israeli occupied Jerusalem and West Bank [Ir Amim]

Following the second Palestinian intifada and Israels construction of the separation wall that has disjointed Palestinian territory, Palestinians from the West Bank side of the separation barrier have been forced to obtain Israeli-issued permits in order to access occupied East Jerusalem, which some Palestinians and the international community still consider to be the future capital of an independent Palestinian state.

A map released by Ir Amim shows the expected route of the road. According to the group, the road would ease access for Israeli settlers residing around Ramallah in contravention of international law, as settlers have long exerted pressure to open the road, complaining about traffic jams and delays.

Read:Knesset passes draft bill to annex illegal West Bank settlements

Ir Amim pointed out that the Israels plan would enable further expansions of Israels illegal settlements around Ramallah.

The road is also planned to connect with Road 1 that connects the mega settlement Maale Adumim with Jerusalem, and would also link to the Mount Scopus Tunnel Road through the Zeitim interchange, another controversial E1 related project that Israeli authorities had begun construction on several months ago, according to Ir Amim.

Israels plans in E1 have long been denounced by rights groups and the international community since its approval in 1999, in the wake of the Oslo Accords which expected the area of E1 to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) within an interim period of five years.

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Israel approves budget for controversial ‘Apartheid road’ in West Bank – Middle East Monitor

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Coligny’s sad seeds were sown in apartheid and are still growing – Business Day (registration)


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Coligny's sad seeds were sown in apartheid and are still growing
Business Day (registration)
Black residents say the boy died because apartheid is still alive and well in Coligny. Poverty is entrenched in the small town, which has an annual household income of R29,400 according to Wazimap, an open platform source that uses census figures and

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Coligny’s sad seeds were sown in apartheid and are still growing – Business Day (registration)

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The Truth About Israeli ‘Apartheid’ – Algemeiner

Israels parliament, the Knesset. Photo: Itzik Edri via Wikimedia Commons.

Hamas recently accused USPresident Donald Trump of encouraging apartheid during his speech last month at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The speech was racist, the terror group claimed, and establishesa new Israeli apartheid regime and encourages hatred towards the Palestinian people.

To brand Israel as an apartheid state, isas South Africans other than Desmond Tutu testifya corruption of the word apartheid, and a distortion of Israeli society and minority rights. The word apartheid was first used in 1947 in South Africa tolegislate segregation of whites and blacks. And today, it is not unusual to hear the claim that Jewsin their ancient homelandare like South African Boer colonialists.

Yet unlike in South Africa, Israels Declaration of Independence assured non-Jewish residents of Israel (20% of the population) equal civil and religious rights. The anti-humanitariancrime of apartheidis foreign to the ethos of the racially diverse Jewish nation. In fact, Israels diverse population includes more than100,000 Ethiopian Jews and more than 1.5 millionArab citizens.

June 27, 2017 3:39 pm

Non-Jews in Israel enjoy genuine freedom in stark contrastto the status of Jews, Christians and Hindus in much of the Muslim world. And the equal treatment of all of Israels citizens can be seen by visiting and traveling the length and breadth of the Jewish state. A visit toany Israeli hospital proves how Arabs and Jews mix freely and equally as patients, attending physicians and administrators.

For those who do not like hospitals, a visit to the nearest mall will also demonstrate how Jews and Arabs mix freely and easily in full equality. In fact, it is often impossible to distinguish between Jews and Muslims.

Furthermore, Israels Muslims are represented in all walks of life from MKs and government ministers to judges, professors, physicians, entertainers, and senior business and community leaders. Furthermore, the Arab minority in Israel is educated in Arab-speaking public schools administered by Arabs in their own cultural and religious traditions. Israeli Arabselect Arab MKs some of whom refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Jewish nation,and advocate for the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state. Such rights would surely not be available in an apartheid nation.

And what about the status of Arabs living in the West Bank?

The West Bank of the Jordan River was originally part of the Jewish national homeland,per the Mandate for Palestine (1922). Pursuant to the armistice agreements ending Israels War of Independence, part of the WestBank was illegally occupied by Jordan. In 1967, Israel defended itselfagainst an Arab war of aggression to destroy the Jewish state, and retook control of the West Bank. In the hope of creating a permanent regional peace immediately after the 1967 war, Israel offered to negotiate modified borders with its neighbors in exchange for permanent peace. The proposal was rejected with the infamous Khartoum pronouncement:no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.

The rejection of Israeli efforts to seek peace left Israel with little choice but to take the measures necessary to ensure its internal security. In order to prevent further terrorist intifadas, and to protect itself from jihadists, suicide bombers, Molotov cocktails, guns, knives and rocks, Israel has implemented security measures that have sometimes made life harder for West Bank Palestinians. But the fact that Israel employs measures to suppress terrorism and violence has nothing to do with apartheid, racial prejudiceor any effort to extinguish or oppress a minority population. The PLO Charter (1964) and the Hamas Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (1988) on the other hand call for the annihilation of the Jewish state (and all Jews in it).

In1993,Israel hoped to end its involvementin the West Bank, and entered into the Oslo Accords. Oslo created the Palestinian Authority, and led to the WestBank beingdivided into three areas. Area A, with more than97% of the Arab population is semi-autonomous, and governed by the Palestinian Authority; Area B is jointly administered; and Area C is under Israeli control. After the failure of the Camp David peace talks in 2000 and the subsequent outbreak of an intifada, Israel implemented security measures including checkpoints and barriers that restricted access to Israel from the West Bank. As a result, suicide bombings and violence were severely curtailed. And still,life for Arabs in the West Bank is safer and more prosperous thanin most neighboring Muslim countries.

If you want to find apartheid, however, just travel to the Palestinian territories.The Palestinian Authoritys quest to create a Judenrein state in the West Bank can be properly branded as apartheid. No Jews allowed is the sign blocking Israeli Jews from entering Area A, and even parts of Jerusalem. But when it comes to Arabs in Israel, there is no apartheid.

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The Truth About Israeli ‘Apartheid’ – Algemeiner

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Life was better under apartheid: When freedom is no longer enough – News24

2017-06-27 08:35

Eleanor du Plooy

Life was better under apartheid, Phiwe* said to me.

Five simple words repeated, more or less word for word, as I facilitated intergenerational focus group discussions with youth in rural and urban spaces in three provinces, in the past two months.

As I listened to these words in various rooms in Warrenton, Vryheid and Cape Town the life experiences of the Phiwes, Chantels and Boitumelos* kept flashing in my mind.

Taken on its own it is alarming. Taken as a response to a question about their experiences in post-apartheid South Africa, it tells us that as a nation we are failing our youth. These are young, black African, Coloured South Africans, the very children of those who suffered under the yoke of a system of oppression, the supposedly Born Frees. They are not the words of the far right, nor those who benefited directly by virtue of being white.

Reflecting on this in June is particularly hard. This month as a nation we celebrate the role played by youth. We give it themes this years theme is The Year of OR Tambo: Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment. We think back and memorialise the sacrifices of Soweto, Hector Peterson, Ashley Kriel and so many more.

For Phiwe, Chantel and Boitumelo, this symbolism and dedication is mostly meaningless. Their lived reality doesnt match the espoused ideals of youth policies, our vaunted Constitution and radical economic transformation. It is so jarring a disconnect it is almost Orwellian.

The lived experiences for the large majority of youth in this country remain marked by economic exclusion, limited access to quality education and pervasive and continued inequality. The struggle of youth for economic empowerment and ultimately freedom is hampered by many factors chief among which is the high level of unemployment. Young people are the hardest hit by this and remain the most vulnerable.

According to the latest social profile of youth, published by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) the proportion of people between the ages of 15 and 34 not in employment, education or training, has remained at around 30% since 2012. This combined with the high levels of crime and violence in communities across the country makes youth susceptible to getting involved in illicit activities in efforts to change their situation.

When asked why they thought apartheid life was better, it became evident that it wasnt a longing for the return of apartheid or white rule. Rather, it was an expression of a desire for certain securities they perceive apartheid offered which includes a guarantee of some type of employment however menial, and safer communities.

The youth I speak with somehow imagine that the struggles that they face today were either absent or less pervasive during our apartheid past. This understanding of the past might be informed by a host of factors including a limited understanding of the extent of the brutality of apartheid policies and how it informed and shaped the lives of South Africans. It could also be a mere echoing of the views expressed by their parent generation. It does however signal something far more serious that people are willing to forfeit fundamental freedoms if it means that basic material needs are met. It reminds me how, in certain areas in the rest of the world these last few decades, voters have been willing to give up certain freedoms for greater security.

What does it then mean when a section of South African youth soon to be the largest cohort in our nation express the unimaginable? What implications does this have for youth political participation? For our nation-state? For our body politic?

If young people continue to experience little change in their material conditions and political parties continue to leave a trail of broken promises in their wake then feelings of deep mistrust in the government and democratic processes will take root.

We need justice of equality, yes. But equality beyond identity. We need justice in income, wealth and livelihoods. We need socio-economic justice. For every South African and, perhaps, especially for this countrys youth.

There is work that needs to be done if we are to attempt to address poverty, unemployment and inequality. If we are committed to creating a South Africa that reflects the changes that we want to see we need to boldly face these challenges with urgency and consistency.

*Names have been changed.

– Eleanor du Plooy runs the Ashley Kriel Youth Desk at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

** Only comments that contribute to a constructive debate will be approved by moderators.

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Life was better under apartheid: When freedom is no longer enough – News24

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Apartheid death gets fresh investigation after 45 years – The Globe and Mail

The story by the apartheid police was an unlikely one. They claimed that the young anti-apartheid activist had deliberately leaped to his death from the 10th floor of a notorious police station and that his leap was provoked by Communist Party doctrine and a mysterious comrade called Mr. X.

As implausible as it sounded, the police version of Ahmed Timols death was swiftly accepted by a South African judge and the case was slammed shut. But now, 45 years later, a new inquest is hearing fresh evidence that points the finger at the police themselves.

The alleged suicide of Mr. Timol, a 29-year-old underground operative for banned anti-apartheid organizations, was just one of the dozens of suspicious deaths of activists in police detention in the apartheid era. The most infamous was the brutal death of Steve Biko, killed by police interrogators, but many other police-custody deaths were among the hundreds of apartheid atrocities that have never led to prosecutions.

After decades of tireless effort by Mr. Timols family, South African prosecutors ruled last year that there was sufficient evidence to reopen the inquest into his death.

We, as South Africans, are about to enter a door that will rekindle painful memories, Judge Billy Mothle told the opening day of the inquest on Monday.

That door will lead to a journey which will cause all of us to confront the sordid part of our history, the judge said. That door will only close once the truth is revealed.

The inquest is being held in Johannesburgs High Court, less than two kilometres from the police station where Mr. Timol plunged to his death. In the apartheid era, it was known as John Vorster Square, the most feared of all South African police stations.

Just three days after Mr. Timols arrest in 1971, a fellow detainee named Salim Essop caught a glimpse of him on the 10th floor of John Vorster Square. His face was covered in a hood and he was too weak to walk, Mr. Essop told the inquest on Monday. Two policemen were holding Mr. Timol and dragging him along, Mr. Essop said.

His testimony on Monday was in sharp contrast to the version presented at the 1972 inquest, where police witnesses claimed Mr. Timol had been healthy enough to dash across a room, open a closed window, hoist himself up to the window and dive out.

Mr. Essop was a close friend of Mr. Timol in the anti-apartheid underground, where they distributed leaflets for the banned African National Congress and South African Communist Party. They were arrested together on Oct. 22, 1971, and taken separately to John Vorster Square for interrogation.

Mr. Essop testified that he was savagely tortured for several days at the police station. The police have admitted that they had extensively interrogated Mr. Timol in the same building at the same time, and injuries found on his body suggested that he, too, had been beaten before his death.

If the police treatment of the two men was similar, Mr. Timol would have suffered horrifically. Mr. Essop told the inquest that he endured excruciating pain from a series of torture methods, including electric shocks. He was punched and kicked repeatedly, and then was nearly suffocated with a plastic bag tied tightly around his head. I think the idea was to break me completely, he said.

At one point, he was sent to a bathroom to wash away his own blood from his wounds. He caught sight of himself in a mirror. Im looking at a ghost-like character, and its me, he said.

Most of the two dozen police officers involved in the Timol case have died in the past 45 years, but three are still alive, according to an investigator who testified to the inquest on Monday.

Crucially, one of police witnesses who is still alive and could be subpoenaed to testify was among the last to see Mr. Timol before his death. The witness, former police sergeant Joao Rodrigues, was thought to have died, but the investigator found him and interviewed him this month.

Howard Varney, a lawyer for the Timol family, said the police version of the death was a clumsy web of lies to cover up the truth. The judge in the 1972 inquest had acted disgracefully by averting his eyes from the truth, Mr. Varney told the inquest on Monday.

He criticized the current South African government for its failure to bring justice and reparations to apartheid victims. South Africa has largely abandoned the Timol family and so many families of victims of apartheid atrocities, he told the inquest. Why did the Timol family have to move heaven and Earth to get this inquest off the ground?

Mr. Timols nephew, Imtiaz Cajee, said he is completely overwhelmed that the inquest is under way at last. Im struggling to absorb that its finally happening, 45 years after the original inquest, he told The Globe and Mail on Monday.

He said the authorities had wasted earlier opportunities to pursue the case when most of the police witnesses were still alive. The potential new evidence from the former police sergeant, Mr. Rodrigues, could now be crucial to the case, he said.

Follow Geoffrey York on Twitter: @geoffreyyork

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John Mitchell: US apartheid system will never be dismantled – The Philadelphia Tribune

We can all agree that there are certain things that well never see in this lifetime. But there are things that happen, events over time that defy our beliefs, thing that give us hope, happenings that those before us believed would never come to pass.

I thought I might live to see the election of an African-American president I can assure you my mother, now 80, did not so in 2008 I was more than mildly surprised. That said, Im not now, nor have I ever been, under the impression that Barak Obamas presidency ushered in an era of American colorblindness, a ruse too often offered up as if it were not the fiction that it is.

While voting remains unchallenged, the single-most valuable authenticator of a democracy if 75,000 more African Americans in Detroit, Milwaukee and Philadelphia acted on this last November, which professional athlete is or is not going to the White House would never be discussed election results do not take the accurate temperature of American race relations.

The last few months have hammered home my belief that racism is an intractable problem in American policing that we are stuck with, and the court system, while willing to be hyper-punitive in the prosecution of Black offenders, is nothing more than a modern day Underground Railroad to freedom for white cops accused of taking a Black life.

This apartheid system will never be dismantled.

In two separate encounters with police that turned violent and resulted in the fatal shooting of Black motorists by a police officer each one captured in high-definition video the cases ended last week without convictions in Cincinnati (Samuel DuBose) and St. Paul, Minn., (Philando Castile).

The retrial of the horrific 2015 shooting of DuBose, stopped by former University of Cincinnati police officer Raymond M. Tensing, ended in a mistrial. Youve seen the the horrific shooting and there is no need to rehash it. Worse, history tells us well be discussing another incident featuring the exact same demographic with regard to the person being shot and killed very soon. What you maybe less familiar with is the long history of racial exclusion in hiring police officers that almost guarantees that tragic interactions like these continue to occur.

In 2015, University of Cincinnati saw nothing wrong with having just four African Americans among its 73 police officers. Where was it taking its instruction from? Why, the city, or course. Cincinnati looks nothing like the multi-ethnic cities of the East Coast. It is split down the middle with 48 percent of its citizens white, 45 percent of them Black, and 3 percent listed as other. However, the 1,012-member police force identified 676 (67 percent) as white, 308 (30 percent) as African American and 28 (3 percent) as other.

If damn near half the city is Black, neither the city nor the university can attribute these absurdly high discrepancies to simple oversight. It is unquestionably the systematic refusal to hire African Americans, which would benefit the city on two fronts.

John N. Mitchell has worked as a journalist for more than a quarter century. He can be reached at jmitchell@phillytrib.com and tweet at @freejohnmitchel.

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South African apartheid died in the ’90s but the Left today are resurrecting it – The Rebel

South Africas a beautiful country but back in 1976 it was an ugly place politically since the country was still clinging to the odious system of apartheid.

Apartheid finally met its demise in the early 90s, so why does the Left seem to be championing apartheid-lite on this side of the pond?

Look whats happening in 2017 as the political Left, which is supposedly all about inclusion, is now all about promoting exclusion based on skin colour.

Watch as I look at some trends on university campuses, like blacks-only graduation ceremonies and the recent debacle at Evergreen State College, where social justice warriors demanded that whites remove themselves from campus.

With this mandate for dividing people based on race, the Left has seemingly forgotten what it once fought against and have devolved into what they once hated.

Actually, I think many of these folks might have really enjoyed living in South Africa, circa 1976.

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South African apartheid died in the ’90s but the Left today are resurrecting it – The Rebel

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Letter from Trumpland: America’s answer to the Apartheid Museum – Daily Maverick

Heres an inductive logic question youll likely never see on a US standardised educational test:

If Berlins largest public memorial is to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Johannesburgs major museum commemorates apartheid, and the former Stalinist capitals of Prague and Warsaw catalogue the gulag, then until 2016, which well-known memorial on Washington DCs National Mall reminded 41 million visitors of grave crimes against humanity?

(A) The US Slavery and Racism Museum

(B) The National Museum of Native American Genocide

(C) The Memorial to the Victims of US-Supported Dictatorships

(D) The National Holocaust Memorial.

Until the last year, the answer was, of course, D. Like Brussels, Tokyo, or Ankara and unlike, say, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, or Berlin DC was a capital dedicated to memorialising its own accomplishments, noting others crimes, and conspicuously ignoring its own flaws.

For some reason, South Africans often overlook Washington. Nevertheless, the cultural and historical treasures of the US capital are exceptional. The collection in the Smithsonian alone spanning Rodin sculptures, to Dorothys red shoes, to the space shuttle Discovery out in a converted aircraft hangar near Dulles airport is as striking as any on Earth, with free admission to boot.

Yet jingoism mars the splendor. In many ways, the Museum of the American Indian provides the most surreal embodiment, with floors of Native cultural artifacts lovingly preserved, but barely a word about what threatened these nations and cultures in the first place.

Enter, last September, the new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), in pride of place, right between the Museum of American History and the Washington Monument.

Nominally, this facility represents decades of effort and lobbying for an institution to highlight the contributions of African Americans in other words, one more institution celebrating American progress. However, this isnt how the museum has been received by ordinary Americans.

One recent Wednesday, I finally landed my free-but-rare-as-chickens-teeth timed entrance pass. If the crowds were anything to go by, it isnt the upper floors of the museum, with Chuck Berrys red 73 Eldorado Cadillac or Oprah Winfreys golden dress, that have drawn a million visitors in the past four months and made Associated Press call the museum the capitals hottest ticket. Rather, its the three historical exhibits located in the basement.

Here, vast crowds of visitors descend three floors in an elevator to, first, Slavery and Freedom, 1400-1877; then, The Era of Segregation 1876-1968; and finally, A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond.

The lift ride is, of course, a metaphorical descent into a claustrophobic slave ship hold. It is also and here is the crowd-drawing novelty nothing less than a lowering into a hidden underbelly of American history itself, where truths long-known, yet widely denied, are finally spoken out loud.

Thus, I read almost immediately, on a taxpayer-funded caption: Profits from the sale of enslaved humans and their labor laid the economic foundation for Western Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. The words are worth rereading. This is at the National Museum of America. The John Bull steam locomotive; the Apollo space program; all the glories of the National Gallery of Art all of this is owed not purely to capitalist innovation, the exhibit argued, but also to the immense physical and psychological toll on the enslaved, who lived an average of seven years in their new homes.

This slavery exhibit was encyclopedic, overwhelming. Shackles, ballast, and slave ship diagrams. Facts and statistics. Through it, I couldnt shake the economics lesson. That whip, I thought ancestor of my iPad. That neatly-printed charter of sale: I thought of my friend Carolyn Forch helping Georgetown University atone for selling slaves to keep itself financially afloat.

Then I turned a corner into the museums rhetorical heart. A vast display hall, with a monumental Declaration of Independence embossed on a grey stone wall. Below it stood Jefferson, author, with, behind him, a wall of 609 bricks marked with the names of all the enslaved people he owned.

The paradox of the American revolution the fight for liberty in an era of widespread slavery is embedded in the foundation of the United States, the display caption stated. Next door was a sculpture of King Cotton and a rebuilt slave cabin from North Carolina.

It is hard to explain to South Africans exactly how revolutionary these words seem in a US context. Forget Rhodes toppling. If President-Commander Julius Malema ever orders the Mandela statue removed from the Union Buildings because the 1994 Constitution is considered apartheid-lite, then perhaps South Africa will experience a comparable loss of foundational myths.

It is not just the notion that the promise of American freedom is incomplete. This is, in fact, freely admitted by almost any American hence the need to keep striving for a more perfect union.

Rather, it is the clear implication that the worlds first democracy could only come into being because of slavery. The bricks with the enslaved peoples names built the Declaration of Independence. Only one of the most extreme mass deprivations of liberty the world has ever witnessed permitted a group of wealthy landowners the luxury of dreaming up universal rights.

It has been fascinating to watch America try to process the essential radicalism of this, its latest national landmark.

On the one hand, there have been the eternal optimists. Thus George W. Bush, at the opening, proclaimed that a great nation does not hide its mistakes. We will learn and do better, he seemed to be saying, but how? After all, the problems with memorialisation conceived as a magical way to shed the past without doing the hard work of reconciliation are well-documented.

Then there were the cynics, with Steven Thrasher in the Guardian notably calling the creation of the museum a monument to respectability politics. Yet as far as I could tell, most of the largely African-American crowd at the museum were more in agreement with Vann Newkirk III that the museum undermines the interracial narrative of progress that undergirds the American nationalist project and they seemed relieved, if not overjoyed, at this fact.

How much will it all mean, with a white backlash candidate now elected president, and Jeff Sessions restoring the conditions for what Michelle Alexander has called the New Jim Crow of mass incarceration?

Hard to say. Yet like the fact of Obamas election itself, the NMAAHC now exists. It is almost impossible to conceive of it being dismantled. On the contrary, it will evoke more memorials: a planned monument for four thousand victims of lynching; a new museum in Montgomery connecting the dots between slavery and imprisonment.

Ta-Nehisi Coates was the author of last years most talked-about book, Between the World and Me, a call for Americans to turn away from the brightly rendered version of your country as it has always declared itself. Trump or no Trump, the great turning has begun. Whether Americans are ready for Mr. Coates other big idea, The Case for Reparations, is, of course, another matter entirely. DM

Glen Retiefs The Jack Bank: A Memoir of a South African Childhood, won a Lamda Literary Award. He teaches creative nonfiction at Susquehanna University.

Photo: President Trump Visits African American Museum in Washington photo information, Photographer Kevin Dietsch / POOL

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Letter from Trumpland: America’s answer to the Apartheid Museum – Daily Maverick

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Present crisis, past ghosts – Mail & Guardian

As the nation is sucked into national crisis after national crisis, the small everyday suffering of ordinary people in their pursuit of justice and equality remain forgotten. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G) The inquest into the death of Ahmed Timol, an anti apartheid activist, which began at the South Gauteng High Court reveals old wounds. Timol was the 22nd person to die in detention; and 45 years later the only official record of his death is the initial inquest which concluded that he committed suicide and absolved the police of any blame. But the reopening of the inquest into the circumstances surrounding his death is more than just an effort in providing closure to his family. It is testimony to a countrys unresolved past which is haunted by the ghosts of the dead, the cries of the missing, the tortured and the wounded. For them the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) provided no answers and little sense of justice. But as the testimony of his compatriot who was also detained and tortured and the review of the blunt and blatantly distorted apartheid era judicial proceedings unfolded in court, the inquest also raised two hard questions that South Africa still confronts today. Timol was not the only activist who died or went missing during apartheid. But his is one of the first cases which is being revisited in a judicial proceeding in the post TRC-era. To convince the National Prosecuting Authority, the NPA, to reopen the docket, the Timol family had to rely on a private investigation and assistance from a leading human rights organisation. Both are privileges that the majority of other families of victims of apartheid era crimes have no access to. For them, the questions surrounding the disappearance or death of loves ones, the justice for rights violated remains out of reach. Although Timol and many others died for the fight against inequality, in a democratic South Africa, race and class remain significant shapers of position and power. This is especially true in the criminal justice system where the poor are left at the mercy of police and prosecutors. Ongoing research on the informal mining sector, reveals that the zama zama- often poor and foreign – are subject to severe forms of police brutality and extortion, including being detained without charge for weeks, denied a bail hearing within 24 hours as dockets go missing, and state appointed defence attorneys are unable or unwilling to verify addresses and names. One man, a 32 year old from Zimbabwe who works as an informal miner in the West Rand, was held in detention for 93. His family went from legal aid office to legal aid office, paid for a private attorney who failed to appear in court, resorted to a bribe to see hi in prison and take him medication and eventually secured his release on a warning for trespassing Second, the inquest heard at length of the brutality of the then security police as they violated the rights and spirits of activists, their families and communities. As the investigation painfully reconstructs the interrogating team and tries to track down any survivors, outside court on the streets in Johannesburg the new democratic police force continues to operate with impunity and discrimination. For foreigners the police are a threat to the many who hustle to make a living selling on the kerbside- many glance nervously as around as they fear raids fro by law infringements, knowing that a small bribe will get their goods released, and their charges dropped yet again. Alongside them poor South Africans face the on-going threat of illegal and violent evictions. All of this is neither new nor surprising. Just a week before the Timol inquest began the IPID released a report showing that deaths in police detention have risen dramatically – from April to September 2016, 159 people died in policy custody across the country. The IPID 2015/6 annual report shows that 69% of the 333 deaths reported in police custody in that period were finalised. 333 deaths in police custody. This is addition to the 713 cases of death reported as a direct result of police action. In one year, more than 1000 people died at the hands of the police. Not a security police working for an illegitimate government, a police force that is meant to serve and protect the country and its residents. Yet as the behaviour of the police from Marikana to #FeesMustFall to the everyday policing of service delivery protests shows, the leadership, capacity and tactics of the police force is left wanting. Yet there remains little leadership and direction from government on improving the accountability and services of the police, to ensure that justice is saved and that the weak and the poor have equitable access to the criminal justice system. It should not fall to families to rely NGOs and privately funded investigations to seek answers from the state. As the nation is sucked into national crisis after national crisis, the small everyday suffering of ordinary people in their pursuit of justice and equality remain forgotten. Zaheera Jinnah is a researcher at Wits University, she writes in her personal capacity.

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Israel approves budget for controversial ‘Apartheid road’ in West Bank – Middle East Monitor

Israel has reportedly approved a budget for the construction of the so-called Eastern Ring Road in the occupied West Bank, known by activists and rights groups as the Apartheid road. The road, part of Israels plans of developing the controversial E1 corridor, has been denounced as an attempt to further expand illegal Israeli settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territory, while deepening the separation between Palestinian communities on opposite sides of Israels separation wall. According to a statement released by Israeli rights group Ir Amim on Monday, the development of the road is one of several developments necessary for preparing the ground for E1. The reports emerged from Israeli media outlet Israel Hayom, which stated that the road is expected to be opened to Israeli traffic in the next 10 months. According to rights groups, settlement construction in E1 would effectively divide the West Bank and make the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state as envisaged by the internationally backed two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict almost impossible. Israeli activity in E1 has attracted widespread international condemnation, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has in the past said that E1 is a red line that cannot be crossed. However, the Eastern Ring Road was proposed by former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a plan to apparently solve the issue of bifurcating the West Bank, by facilitating navigation from Ramallah to Bethlehem for Palestinians but without any access to Jerusalem. A map showing the boundaries, settlements, barriers and roads in the Israeli occupied Jerusalem and West Bank [Ir Amim] Following the second Palestinian intifada and Israels construction of the separation wall that has disjointed Palestinian territory, Palestinians from the West Bank side of the separation barrier have been forced to obtain Israeli-issued permits in order to access occupied East Jerusalem, which some Palestinians and the international community still consider to be the future capital of an independent Palestinian state. A map released by Ir Amim shows the expected route of the road. According to the group, the road would ease access for Israeli settlers residing around Ramallah in contravention of international law, as settlers have long exerted pressure to open the road, complaining about traffic jams and delays. Read:Knesset passes draft bill to annex illegal West Bank settlements Ir Amim pointed out that the Israels plan would enable further expansions of Israels illegal settlements around Ramallah. The road is also planned to connect with Road 1 that connects the mega settlement Maale Adumim with Jerusalem, and would also link to the Mount Scopus Tunnel Road through the Zeitim interchange, another controversial E1 related project that Israeli authorities had begun construction on several months ago, according to Ir Amim. Israels plans in E1 have long been denounced by rights groups and the international community since its approval in 1999, in the wake of the Oslo Accords which expected the area of E1 to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) within an interim period of five years.

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Coligny’s sad seeds were sown in apartheid and are still growing – Business Day (registration)

Business Day (registration) Coligny's sad seeds were sown in apartheid and are still growing Business Day (registration) Black residents say the boy died because apartheid is still alive and well in Coligny. Poverty is entrenched in the small town, which has an annual household income of R29,400 according to Wazimap, an open platform source that uses census figures and …

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The Truth About Israeli ‘Apartheid’ – Algemeiner

Israels parliament, the Knesset. Photo: Itzik Edri via Wikimedia Commons. Hamas recently accused USPresident Donald Trump of encouraging apartheid during his speech last month at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The speech was racist, the terror group claimed, and establishesa new Israeli apartheid regime and encourages hatred towards the Palestinian people. To brand Israel as an apartheid state, isas South Africans other than Desmond Tutu testifya corruption of the word apartheid, and a distortion of Israeli society and minority rights. The word apartheid was first used in 1947 in South Africa tolegislate segregation of whites and blacks. And today, it is not unusual to hear the claim that Jewsin their ancient homelandare like South African Boer colonialists. Yet unlike in South Africa, Israels Declaration of Independence assured non-Jewish residents of Israel (20% of the population) equal civil and religious rights. The anti-humanitariancrime of apartheidis foreign to the ethos of the racially diverse Jewish nation. In fact, Israels diverse population includes more than100,000 Ethiopian Jews and more than 1.5 millionArab citizens. June 27, 2017 3:39 pm Non-Jews in Israel enjoy genuine freedom in stark contrastto the status of Jews, Christians and Hindus in much of the Muslim world. And the equal treatment of all of Israels citizens can be seen by visiting and traveling the length and breadth of the Jewish state. A visit toany Israeli hospital proves how Arabs and Jews mix freely and equally as patients, attending physicians and administrators. For those who do not like hospitals, a visit to the nearest mall will also demonstrate how Jews and Arabs mix freely and easily in full equality. In fact, it is often impossible to distinguish between Jews and Muslims. Furthermore, Israels Muslims are represented in all walks of life from MKs and government ministers to judges, professors, physicians, entertainers, and senior business and community leaders. Furthermore, the Arab minority in Israel is educated in Arab-speaking public schools administered by Arabs in their own cultural and religious traditions. Israeli Arabselect Arab MKs some of whom refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Jewish nation,and advocate for the elimination of Israel as a Jewish state. Such rights would surely not be available in an apartheid nation. And what about the status of Arabs living in the West Bank? The West Bank of the Jordan River was originally part of the Jewish national homeland,per the Mandate for Palestine (1922). Pursuant to the armistice agreements ending Israels War of Independence, part of the WestBank was illegally occupied by Jordan. In 1967, Israel defended itselfagainst an Arab war of aggression to destroy the Jewish state, and retook control of the West Bank. In the hope of creating a permanent regional peace immediately after the 1967 war, Israel offered to negotiate modified borders with its neighbors in exchange for permanent peace. The proposal was rejected with the infamous Khartoum pronouncement:no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it. The rejection of Israeli efforts to seek peace left Israel with little choice but to take the measures necessary to ensure its internal security. In order to prevent further terrorist intifadas, and to protect itself from jihadists, suicide bombers, Molotov cocktails, guns, knives and rocks, Israel has implemented security measures that have sometimes made life harder for West Bank Palestinians. But the fact that Israel employs measures to suppress terrorism and violence has nothing to do with apartheid, racial prejudiceor any effort to extinguish or oppress a minority population. The PLO Charter (1964) and the Hamas Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (1988) on the other hand call for the annihilation of the Jewish state (and all Jews in it). In1993,Israel hoped to end its involvementin the West Bank, and entered into the Oslo Accords. Oslo created the Palestinian Authority, and led to the WestBank beingdivided into three areas. Area A, with more than97% of the Arab population is semi-autonomous, and governed by the Palestinian Authority; Area B is jointly administered; and Area C is under Israeli control. After the failure of the Camp David peace talks in 2000 and the subsequent outbreak of an intifada, Israel implemented security measures including checkpoints and barriers that restricted access to Israel from the West Bank. As a result, suicide bombings and violence were severely curtailed. And still,life for Arabs in the West Bank is safer and more prosperous thanin most neighboring Muslim countries. If you want to find apartheid, however, just travel to the Palestinian territories.The Palestinian Authoritys quest to create a Judenrein state in the West Bank can be properly branded as apartheid. No Jews allowed is the sign blocking Israeli Jews from entering Area A, and even parts of Jerusalem. But when it comes to Arabs in Israel, there is no apartheid.

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Life was better under apartheid: When freedom is no longer enough – News24

2017-06-27 08:35 Eleanor du Plooy Life was better under apartheid, Phiwe* said to me. Five simple words repeated, more or less word for word, as I facilitated intergenerational focus group discussions with youth in rural and urban spaces in three provinces, in the past two months. As I listened to these words in various rooms in Warrenton, Vryheid and Cape Town the life experiences of the Phiwes, Chantels and Boitumelos* kept flashing in my mind. Taken on its own it is alarming. Taken as a response to a question about their experiences in post-apartheid South Africa, it tells us that as a nation we are failing our youth. These are young, black African, Coloured South Africans, the very children of those who suffered under the yoke of a system of oppression, the supposedly Born Frees. They are not the words of the far right, nor those who benefited directly by virtue of being white. Reflecting on this in June is particularly hard. This month as a nation we celebrate the role played by youth. We give it themes this years theme is The Year of OR Tambo: Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment. We think back and memorialise the sacrifices of Soweto, Hector Peterson, Ashley Kriel and so many more. For Phiwe, Chantel and Boitumelo, this symbolism and dedication is mostly meaningless. Their lived reality doesnt match the espoused ideals of youth policies, our vaunted Constitution and radical economic transformation. It is so jarring a disconnect it is almost Orwellian. The lived experiences for the large majority of youth in this country remain marked by economic exclusion, limited access to quality education and pervasive and continued inequality. The struggle of youth for economic empowerment and ultimately freedom is hampered by many factors chief among which is the high level of unemployment. Young people are the hardest hit by this and remain the most vulnerable. According to the latest social profile of youth, published by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) the proportion of people between the ages of 15 and 34 not in employment, education or training, has remained at around 30% since 2012. This combined with the high levels of crime and violence in communities across the country makes youth susceptible to getting involved in illicit activities in efforts to change their situation. When asked why they thought apartheid life was better, it became evident that it wasnt a longing for the return of apartheid or white rule. Rather, it was an expression of a desire for certain securities they perceive apartheid offered which includes a guarantee of some type of employment however menial, and safer communities. The youth I speak with somehow imagine that the struggles that they face today were either absent or less pervasive during our apartheid past. This understanding of the past might be informed by a host of factors including a limited understanding of the extent of the brutality of apartheid policies and how it informed and shaped the lives of South Africans. It could also be a mere echoing of the views expressed by their parent generation. It does however signal something far more serious that people are willing to forfeit fundamental freedoms if it means that basic material needs are met. It reminds me how, in certain areas in the rest of the world these last few decades, voters have been willing to give up certain freedoms for greater security. What does it then mean when a section of South African youth soon to be the largest cohort in our nation express the unimaginable? What implications does this have for youth political participation? For our nation-state? For our body politic? If young people continue to experience little change in their material conditions and political parties continue to leave a trail of broken promises in their wake then feelings of deep mistrust in the government and democratic processes will take root. We need justice of equality, yes. But equality beyond identity. We need justice in income, wealth and livelihoods. We need socio-economic justice. For every South African and, perhaps, especially for this countrys youth. There is work that needs to be done if we are to attempt to address poverty, unemployment and inequality. If we are committed to creating a South Africa that reflects the changes that we want to see we need to boldly face these challenges with urgency and consistency. *Names have been changed. – Eleanor du Plooy runs the Ashley Kriel Youth Desk at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation. Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. ** Only comments that contribute to a constructive debate will be approved by moderators.

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Apartheid death gets fresh investigation after 45 years – The Globe and Mail

The story by the apartheid police was an unlikely one. They claimed that the young anti-apartheid activist had deliberately leaped to his death from the 10th floor of a notorious police station and that his leap was provoked by Communist Party doctrine and a mysterious comrade called Mr. X. As implausible as it sounded, the police version of Ahmed Timols death was swiftly accepted by a South African judge and the case was slammed shut. But now, 45 years later, a new inquest is hearing fresh evidence that points the finger at the police themselves. The alleged suicide of Mr. Timol, a 29-year-old underground operative for banned anti-apartheid organizations, was just one of the dozens of suspicious deaths of activists in police detention in the apartheid era. The most infamous was the brutal death of Steve Biko, killed by police interrogators, but many other police-custody deaths were among the hundreds of apartheid atrocities that have never led to prosecutions. After decades of tireless effort by Mr. Timols family, South African prosecutors ruled last year that there was sufficient evidence to reopen the inquest into his death. We, as South Africans, are about to enter a door that will rekindle painful memories, Judge Billy Mothle told the opening day of the inquest on Monday. That door will lead to a journey which will cause all of us to confront the sordid part of our history, the judge said. That door will only close once the truth is revealed. The inquest is being held in Johannesburgs High Court, less than two kilometres from the police station where Mr. Timol plunged to his death. In the apartheid era, it was known as John Vorster Square, the most feared of all South African police stations. Just three days after Mr. Timols arrest in 1971, a fellow detainee named Salim Essop caught a glimpse of him on the 10th floor of John Vorster Square. His face was covered in a hood and he was too weak to walk, Mr. Essop told the inquest on Monday. Two policemen were holding Mr. Timol and dragging him along, Mr. Essop said. His testimony on Monday was in sharp contrast to the version presented at the 1972 inquest, where police witnesses claimed Mr. Timol had been healthy enough to dash across a room, open a closed window, hoist himself up to the window and dive out. Mr. Essop was a close friend of Mr. Timol in the anti-apartheid underground, where they distributed leaflets for the banned African National Congress and South African Communist Party. They were arrested together on Oct. 22, 1971, and taken separately to John Vorster Square for interrogation. Mr. Essop testified that he was savagely tortured for several days at the police station. The police have admitted that they had extensively interrogated Mr. Timol in the same building at the same time, and injuries found on his body suggested that he, too, had been beaten before his death. If the police treatment of the two men was similar, Mr. Timol would have suffered horrifically. Mr. Essop told the inquest that he endured excruciating pain from a series of torture methods, including electric shocks. He was punched and kicked repeatedly, and then was nearly suffocated with a plastic bag tied tightly around his head. I think the idea was to break me completely, he said. At one point, he was sent to a bathroom to wash away his own blood from his wounds. He caught sight of himself in a mirror. Im looking at a ghost-like character, and its me, he said. Most of the two dozen police officers involved in the Timol case have died in the past 45 years, but three are still alive, according to an investigator who testified to the inquest on Monday. Crucially, one of police witnesses who is still alive and could be subpoenaed to testify was among the last to see Mr. Timol before his death. The witness, former police sergeant Joao Rodrigues, was thought to have died, but the investigator found him and interviewed him this month. Howard Varney, a lawyer for the Timol family, said the police version of the death was a clumsy web of lies to cover up the truth. The judge in the 1972 inquest had acted disgracefully by averting his eyes from the truth, Mr. Varney told the inquest on Monday. He criticized the current South African government for its failure to bring justice and reparations to apartheid victims. South Africa has largely abandoned the Timol family and so many families of victims of apartheid atrocities, he told the inquest. Why did the Timol family have to move heaven and Earth to get this inquest off the ground? Mr. Timols nephew, Imtiaz Cajee, said he is completely overwhelmed that the inquest is under way at last. Im struggling to absorb that its finally happening, 45 years after the original inquest, he told The Globe and Mail on Monday. He said the authorities had wasted earlier opportunities to pursue the case when most of the police witnesses were still alive. The potential new evidence from the former police sergeant, Mr. Rodrigues, could now be crucial to the case, he said. Follow Geoffrey York on Twitter: @geoffreyyork

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John Mitchell: US apartheid system will never be dismantled – The Philadelphia Tribune

We can all agree that there are certain things that well never see in this lifetime. But there are things that happen, events over time that defy our beliefs, thing that give us hope, happenings that those before us believed would never come to pass. I thought I might live to see the election of an African-American president I can assure you my mother, now 80, did not so in 2008 I was more than mildly surprised. That said, Im not now, nor have I ever been, under the impression that Barak Obamas presidency ushered in an era of American colorblindness, a ruse too often offered up as if it were not the fiction that it is. While voting remains unchallenged, the single-most valuable authenticator of a democracy if 75,000 more African Americans in Detroit, Milwaukee and Philadelphia acted on this last November, which professional athlete is or is not going to the White House would never be discussed election results do not take the accurate temperature of American race relations. The last few months have hammered home my belief that racism is an intractable problem in American policing that we are stuck with, and the court system, while willing to be hyper-punitive in the prosecution of Black offenders, is nothing more than a modern day Underground Railroad to freedom for white cops accused of taking a Black life. This apartheid system will never be dismantled. In two separate encounters with police that turned violent and resulted in the fatal shooting of Black motorists by a police officer each one captured in high-definition video the cases ended last week without convictions in Cincinnati (Samuel DuBose) and St. Paul, Minn., (Philando Castile). The retrial of the horrific 2015 shooting of DuBose, stopped by former University of Cincinnati police officer Raymond M. Tensing, ended in a mistrial. Youve seen the the horrific shooting and there is no need to rehash it. Worse, history tells us well be discussing another incident featuring the exact same demographic with regard to the person being shot and killed very soon. What you maybe less familiar with is the long history of racial exclusion in hiring police officers that almost guarantees that tragic interactions like these continue to occur. In 2015, University of Cincinnati saw nothing wrong with having just four African Americans among its 73 police officers. Where was it taking its instruction from? Why, the city, or course. Cincinnati looks nothing like the multi-ethnic cities of the East Coast. It is split down the middle with 48 percent of its citizens white, 45 percent of them Black, and 3 percent listed as other. However, the 1,012-member police force identified 676 (67 percent) as white, 308 (30 percent) as African American and 28 (3 percent) as other. If damn near half the city is Black, neither the city nor the university can attribute these absurdly high discrepancies to simple oversight. It is unquestionably the systematic refusal to hire African Americans, which would benefit the city on two fronts. John N. Mitchell has worked as a journalist for more than a quarter century. He can be reached at jmitchell@phillytrib.com and tweet at @freejohnmitchel.

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South African apartheid died in the ’90s but the Left today are resurrecting it – The Rebel

South Africas a beautiful country but back in 1976 it was an ugly place politically since the country was still clinging to the odious system of apartheid. Apartheid finally met its demise in the early 90s, so why does the Left seem to be championing apartheid-lite on this side of the pond? Look whats happening in 2017 as the political Left, which is supposedly all about inclusion, is now all about promoting exclusion based on skin colour. Watch as I look at some trends on university campuses, like blacks-only graduation ceremonies and the recent debacle at Evergreen State College, where social justice warriors demanded that whites remove themselves from campus. With this mandate for dividing people based on race, the Left has seemingly forgotten what it once fought against and have devolved into what they once hated. Actually, I think many of these folks might have really enjoyed living in South Africa, circa 1976.

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Letter from Trumpland: America’s answer to the Apartheid Museum – Daily Maverick

Heres an inductive logic question youll likely never see on a US standardised educational test: If Berlins largest public memorial is to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Johannesburgs major museum commemorates apartheid, and the former Stalinist capitals of Prague and Warsaw catalogue the gulag, then until 2016, which well-known memorial on Washington DCs National Mall reminded 41 million visitors of grave crimes against humanity? (A) The US Slavery and Racism Museum (B) The National Museum of Native American Genocide (C) The Memorial to the Victims of US-Supported Dictatorships (D) The National Holocaust Memorial. Until the last year, the answer was, of course, D. Like Brussels, Tokyo, or Ankara and unlike, say, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, or Berlin DC was a capital dedicated to memorialising its own accomplishments, noting others crimes, and conspicuously ignoring its own flaws. For some reason, South Africans often overlook Washington. Nevertheless, the cultural and historical treasures of the US capital are exceptional. The collection in the Smithsonian alone spanning Rodin sculptures, to Dorothys red shoes, to the space shuttle Discovery out in a converted aircraft hangar near Dulles airport is as striking as any on Earth, with free admission to boot. Yet jingoism mars the splendor. In many ways, the Museum of the American Indian provides the most surreal embodiment, with floors of Native cultural artifacts lovingly preserved, but barely a word about what threatened these nations and cultures in the first place. Enter, last September, the new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), in pride of place, right between the Museum of American History and the Washington Monument. Nominally, this facility represents decades of effort and lobbying for an institution to highlight the contributions of African Americans in other words, one more institution celebrating American progress. However, this isnt how the museum has been received by ordinary Americans. One recent Wednesday, I finally landed my free-but-rare-as-chickens-teeth timed entrance pass. If the crowds were anything to go by, it isnt the upper floors of the museum, with Chuck Berrys red 73 Eldorado Cadillac or Oprah Winfreys golden dress, that have drawn a million visitors in the past four months and made Associated Press call the museum the capitals hottest ticket. Rather, its the three historical exhibits located in the basement. Here, vast crowds of visitors descend three floors in an elevator to, first, Slavery and Freedom, 1400-1877; then, The Era of Segregation 1876-1968; and finally, A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond. The lift ride is, of course, a metaphorical descent into a claustrophobic slave ship hold. It is also and here is the crowd-drawing novelty nothing less than a lowering into a hidden underbelly of American history itself, where truths long-known, yet widely denied, are finally spoken out loud. Thus, I read almost immediately, on a taxpayer-funded caption: Profits from the sale of enslaved humans and their labor laid the economic foundation for Western Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. The words are worth rereading. This is at the National Museum of America. The John Bull steam locomotive; the Apollo space program; all the glories of the National Gallery of Art all of this is owed not purely to capitalist innovation, the exhibit argued, but also to the immense physical and psychological toll on the enslaved, who lived an average of seven years in their new homes. This slavery exhibit was encyclopedic, overwhelming. Shackles, ballast, and slave ship diagrams. Facts and statistics. Through it, I couldnt shake the economics lesson. That whip, I thought ancestor of my iPad. That neatly-printed charter of sale: I thought of my friend Carolyn Forch helping Georgetown University atone for selling slaves to keep itself financially afloat. Then I turned a corner into the museums rhetorical heart. A vast display hall, with a monumental Declaration of Independence embossed on a grey stone wall. Below it stood Jefferson, author, with, behind him, a wall of 609 bricks marked with the names of all the enslaved people he owned. The paradox of the American revolution the fight for liberty in an era of widespread slavery is embedded in the foundation of the United States, the display caption stated. Next door was a sculpture of King Cotton and a rebuilt slave cabin from North Carolina. It is hard to explain to South Africans exactly how revolutionary these words seem in a US context. Forget Rhodes toppling. If President-Commander Julius Malema ever orders the Mandela statue removed from the Union Buildings because the 1994 Constitution is considered apartheid-lite, then perhaps South Africa will experience a comparable loss of foundational myths. It is not just the notion that the promise of American freedom is incomplete. This is, in fact, freely admitted by almost any American hence the need to keep striving for a more perfect union. Rather, it is the clear implication that the worlds first democracy could only come into being because of slavery. The bricks with the enslaved peoples names built the Declaration of Independence. Only one of the most extreme mass deprivations of liberty the world has ever witnessed permitted a group of wealthy landowners the luxury of dreaming up universal rights. It has been fascinating to watch America try to process the essential radicalism of this, its latest national landmark. On the one hand, there have been the eternal optimists. Thus George W. Bush, at the opening, proclaimed that a great nation does not hide its mistakes. We will learn and do better, he seemed to be saying, but how? After all, the problems with memorialisation conceived as a magical way to shed the past without doing the hard work of reconciliation are well-documented. Then there were the cynics, with Steven Thrasher in the Guardian notably calling the creation of the museum a monument to respectability politics. Yet as far as I could tell, most of the largely African-American crowd at the museum were more in agreement with Vann Newkirk III that the museum undermines the interracial narrative of progress that undergirds the American nationalist project and they seemed relieved, if not overjoyed, at this fact. How much will it all mean, with a white backlash candidate now elected president, and Jeff Sessions restoring the conditions for what Michelle Alexander has called the New Jim Crow of mass incarceration? Hard to say. Yet like the fact of Obamas election itself, the NMAAHC now exists. It is almost impossible to conceive of it being dismantled. On the contrary, it will evoke more memorials: a planned monument for four thousand victims of lynching; a new museum in Montgomery connecting the dots between slavery and imprisonment. Ta-Nehisi Coates was the author of last years most talked-about book, Between the World and Me, a call for Americans to turn away from the brightly rendered version of your country as it has always declared itself. Trump or no Trump, the great turning has begun. Whether Americans are ready for Mr. Coates other big idea, The Case for Reparations, is, of course, another matter entirely. DM Glen Retiefs The Jack Bank: A Memoir of a South African Childhood, won a Lamda Literary Award. He teaches creative nonfiction at Susquehanna University. Photo: President Trump Visits African American Museum in Washington photo information, Photographer Kevin Dietsch / POOL

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