Position:Letter to the Editor

Rien n'a change

Now that the US/British "coalition troops" are frantically trying to find the "weapons of mass destruction", and the future of the UN, and not that of an expanding Israel, is at stake, perhaps we should remind ourselves of the following eye-opening remarks of none other than the Nazi Marshall Goering at the post-World War II Nuremberg Trials:

"Naturally the common people don't want war, but it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy and it is a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship.

"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.

Give or take a comma or two, warnnongers everywhere always use fear and lies to lead people into war. Rally in support of the UN, and pray to God for the Arab people.

Mrs Sisulu Moussa

Norkem Park, South Africa

Pelindaba: The talking is not over

I usually appreciate someone, like Baffour, that thinks outside of the box, but I'm afraid in his article "We must stop them" in the March issue, he went a bit too far outside the box.

He wrote: "Africa did a hideous thing in Cairo in April 1996 by signing the Pelindaba Treaty banning Africa from having its own nuclear deterrent. It is not too late yet to tear it up though, as President Bush has torn up the international treaties he doesn't like".

He goes on to quote from Sir Joseph Rotblat's speech to justify this position. The following concerns me:

  1. Sir Rotblat won the Nobel Peace Prize for his relendess work to let leaders and the public see the folly of nuclear weapons. I am sure he will be appalled if he knew Baffour quoted him to justify tearing up a treaty that guarantees Africa as a nuclear weapons free zone.

  2. Baffour emphasises that Africa should try to stop the Bush Administration in a PEACEFUL way -- I cannot agree with him more. Tearing up the Pelindaba Treaty is all but peaceful.

  3. The South African nuclear weapons programme is estimated to have consumed R5 billion over its life span (nobody knows for sure how much it was, since these programmes are always covered in secrecy and beyond democratic scrutiny). Think what South Africans could have done with that money and ask yourself whether Africa can afford nuclear weapons programmes?

  4. If he is arguing that Africa should tear up the Pelindaba Treaty to prove the point that it is not just the preserve of the current nuclear weapons states to have these weapons, I argue that no country has the right to have them -- not the US, not Iraq, not India or Pakistan and not any African country. The destruction potential in human, financial and environmental terms of these weapons is too grave.

  5. The Pelindaba Treaty guarantees that nuclear weapons will not be used by nuclear weapons states in the Nuclear Weapons Free Zone as soon as the Treaty enters into force. Baffour may argue with the Bush Administration's disregard for international treaties, but if every country in the world took that stance on every issue governed by international law, it would make for a far more chaotic and distrusting world system.


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