December 25, 2000
Apologise for the Concentration
CULT OF SORROW
is saying sorry. President Clinton apologised for slavery; even
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard did not blame him for that. Tony
Blair apologised for the potato famine. Hey that's OK Tony, just
resign for it and we will forgive you. However, one group of people
will never get an apology, the
Afrikaans, the group that first heard the English term "concentration
camp." No matter what we did against them, no one will ever
apologise to them. It seems that racial hatred is still as strong
a force as it has ever been against this group of people.
DEATH OF DECENCY
compare the Boer
War to the holocaust would be wrong, as the British were not
aiming to wipe out the Boers, but it is barbaric
nonetheless. In 1899, the British in South Africa tried to impose
their authority on the Afrikaans republics that just happened to
have large reserves of gold. The Afrikaans republics were not easily
subdued, even when they were a guerrilla campaign continued. The
guerrillas got support, the British rightly suspected from the women
who stayed at home and looked after the farms. The way around this
one of the British high command, was to borrow an idea from the
Spanish in Cuba, and resettle all the Afrikaans women and children
camps. As an historical aside the concentration camp, or reconcentrado,
by the Spanish and not the British, although how much pride we British
should take in this is dubious.
they were developed more in the way of strategic hamlets, with the
aim of stopping guerrillas in by controlling the general population,
the rates of death from disease were at a concentration camp level.
This was due to British inefficiency, they had all these people
in this place, what were they going to do with them? The British
Army were bad enough at dealing with their own soldiers, they were
not going to be much
good with civilians. They were not. Atrocious medical facilities
and poor food killed many Boers, not through the gas chambers but
by malnutrition and disease. 27,927
Boers died, 10% of the Boer population. That is decimation.
These figures did not include the blacks
that were also kept in concentration camps. An English reformer,
Hobhouse, inspected the camps and started a campaign in England,
which succeeded in setting up a committee that ameliorated conditions,
but did not end the practice altogether.
reasons for Britain being so involved in this war can be oversimplified.
Some view it as a desire to free the blacks. Others saw it as an
attempt to reverse the Boer political suppression of the (mainly
British) white immigrants, the Uitlanders. One theory that is immensely
popular is that the mine owners, or Randlords, wanted the more business
friendly British rather than the staunchly agrarian Boers. In the
end I believe that it was a mixture of British desire to control
the gold reserves and a deluded belief in Britain's imperial "mission"
in Africa that led Britain to snuff out these two independent republics.
But at what a cost.
THAT AN APOLOGY MR. BLAIR?
Blair has apologised over the Irish potato famine, but will
not apologise over another atrocity closer to his time and more
directly attributable to the British. This may be because this uniquely
historically illiterate politician is just unaware of what happened.
On the other hand, it may be that he does not care. The Afrikaans
are after all the authors of apartheid, and to Mr. Blair the concentration
camps were well-deserved racial justice. With a mind like that,
one can almost understand Kosovo.
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